From now until the 2022 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling a running back prospect that took his talents from the SEC to Chapel Hill in his final collegiate season and enjoyed a breakout campaign for the Tar Heels.
#19 Ty Chandler, RB, North Carolina (R-Sr.) – 5112, 204 lbs.
Shrine Bowl/Combine Invite
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Ty Chandler||5112/204||9″||32 1/8″||75 5/8”|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Has decent size for the position and runs hard behind his pads
— Displays decent contact balance and will continue to fight after initial contact to fall forward and pick up additional yardage
— Showcases good burst when he sees daylight, having the speed to accelerate through the hole and pull away from defenders in pursuit (4.38 40)
— Does a good job following his blocks on inside and outside runs, having the patience to attack the hole when the opportunity presents itself
— Naturally builds up speed as he gets rolling
— Long strider with a lean build who eats ground when in the open field
— Possesses good vision paired with the shiftiness to weave through the trash at the LOS and sidestep defenders
— Can make a quick jump cut to the side to get into space or evade tacklers in attempt to get to the second and third levels
— Skilled pass catcher that can serve as a check down option as well as win down the field up the seam and on wheel routes
— Possesses sure hands as a pass catcher, seeing the ball in and braces for contact
— Has the background as a kick returner to be tried on the special teams units at the next level
— Willing pass blocker that will stick his face in the fan or lead up the hole on QB designed runs
— Will be a 24-year-old rookie
— Lacks ideal size and power to consistently churn out the tough yardage in-between the tackles
— Took five seasons to win the feature back role and crack the 1,000-yard mark
— Takes a little time to get up to speed rather than having that instant juice as a runner
— Slender build limits his ability to win the leverage battle up the middle and stay low to the ground when changing directions
— Will attempt to power through defenders, but normally is going down with the defender has him squared up
— Have to worry about ball security when taking big shots due to size and frame
— Likely a compliment/change of pace runner rather than a bell cow back at the next level
— Has the pass catching chops in the receiving game, but never was featured in said role in college
— Redshirt Senior prospect from Nashville, TN
— Born May 12, 1998 (age 23)
— Father, Chico, played running back at Ole Miss
— Rated as a consensus four-star prospect and one of the nation’s top 100 recruits, 2017 U.S. Army All-American Bowl
— Committed to home-state Tennessee out of high school where he played in 45 games and made 25 starts
— Played in 12 games as a true freshman in 2017 where he totaled 71 carries for 305 yards (4.3YPC) and two TDs while chipping in ten catches for 108 yards, also returned 17 kicks for 416 yards (24.5AVG) and one for a TD
— Played in 11 games as a sophomore, carrying the ball 115 times for 630 yards (5.5YPC) and four scores along with 19 receptions for 183 yards and three TDs, also returned seven kicks for 113 yards (16.1AVG)
— Played in 12 games as a junior and rushed 135 times for 655 yards (4.9YPC) and three TDs wile catching 13 passes for 63 yards, also returned 11 kickoff for 251 yards (22.8AVG)
— Saw action in ten games as a senior in Knoxville where he carried the ball 100 times for 456 yards (4.6YPC) and four TDs along with 16 receptions for 111 yards, didn’t return any kicks in 2020
— Graduate transferred to North Carolina for his final year of eligibility where he finally landed the feature back role, carrying the rock 182 times for 1,092 yards (6.0YPC) and 13 TDs while chipping in 15 receptions for 216 yards and a score, also returned 3 kickoffs for 70 yards
— Named the Vols Offensive Player of the Year after the ’18 season
— Second team All-ACC (2021)
— Earned undergraduate degree in recreation and sport management in Dec. 2020
Ty Chandler had to wait his turn before he received the spotlight on the college stage. Being a part of a loaded 2017 recruiting class that also featured Najee Harris, Cam Akers, D’Andre Swift, and J.K. Dobbins, Chandler was expected to hit the ground running when he got to Knoxville. However, the constant flux inside the Tennessee Football Program along with the fact that he always seemed to split the load with other backs on the roster capped Chandler’s impact during his four seasons in the SEC.
He ended up grad transferring to UNC for his final year of eligibility and didn’t disappoint, amassing over 1,300 yards of total offense and 14 scores to put a shot into the arm when it comes to his draft stock. Chandler is an instinctive, sound running back that has a patient, yet aggressive running style. He can follow his blockers and allow them to spring him to the second and third levels of the defense like we see on this clip against Wake Forest.
Chandler does a good job getting to the corner on outside runs, showcasing his speed and burst once he gets going in the open field. Here on these next few clips, we see Chandler get to the edge and accelerate when he sees green grass with the second clip showing a physical running style where he keeps his legs going on contact to get in for the score.
Chandler has the skill set to make subtle cuts laterally to bounce into gaps that are forming at the LOS and builds up speed once he gets room to run. Check out this long run against Virginia where Chandler sees the hole open to the left and breaks through, weaving through the defense and makes several defenders miss as he finally gets caught from behind inside the ten-yard line.
This next clip against the Cavaliers also shows Chandler’s ability to make a quick cut to the side as he darts up the hole in the middle accelerating through and braces for contact, not slowing down as he runs through one shoulder tackle before being taken the ground by the other defender flying in to finish the run for the first down.
While not the most elusive running back prospect, Chandler does have the vision and feel to exploit even the smallest of gaps at the LOS and make defenders miss in space like we see on this long TD run to ice the game against Wake Forest. He pushes off his left foot to shoot through the gap and sets up the safety by starting right, but works back to the left, running through an arm tackle as he gallops to the end zone for six.
This run against Miami shows off some nifty footwork by Chandler, cutting up the hole and then proceeds to make multiple defenders miss as he gets into green gras and bursts forward for the long run he takes all the way for the score.
Here is another run against Virginia where Chandler is immediately met in the backfield by a penetrating defender but manages to sidestep him whilst simultaneously stiff arming another as he gets to the sideline and runs up the alley before getting dragged out of bounds.
While he wasn’t used often in the passing game at Tennessee and North Carolina, Chandler has the skill set to be a reliable passing game option at the next level. He has sure hands to reel the ball in on contact and can run the wheel or stretch the seam like we see on this catch against the Demon Deacons, catching the pass in-stride before getting knocked by the safety flying in to try and separate the ball from man. Chandler manages to hang on and set up the offense inside the red zone.
While he doesn’t have the greatest size and will occasionally get knocked back as a personal protector, Ty Chandler takes a lot of pride in pass protection. He actively looks for work and keeps his head on a swivel, willing to throw his body into defenders in attempt to keep the passer clean. Watch this block Chandler makes as he steps right up into the gap to take on the blitzing linebacker, chopping him down to the ground as #7 Sam Howell takes off for a nice run.
While Chandler shouldered most of the load for the Tar Heels this past season, he doesn’t possess that feature back size or elite movement skills the second he touches the ball to be a bell cow back at the next level. He can struggle winning up the middle of the LOS and finishing with power as well as can have concerns with ball security like we see here on this fumble against Wake Forest where the defender manages to force the ball out on the strip.
Overall, I came away impresses with Ty Chandler’s well-rounded skill set. He has the speed and burst to rip off big runs when he gets into open space, but also has the feel and lateral agility to make quick transitions to evade defenders and make them miss. He runs hard for a back of his size and has shown the capability to be a trusted third down/scat back thanks to his receiving prowess as well as his demeanor as a pass protector. He does lack ideal size and power to be a three-down back at the next level and would be best suited as either a compliment to more of a bruising back or as the change-of-ace option to a featured runner.
While watching Ty Chandler, Ty Johnson of the New York Jets came to mind as a good pro comparison. Both backs are near identical in size as well as athleticism with Johnson reportedly running in-between 4.3-4.4 at his Pro Day at Maryland. Johnson too runs with decent power as a smaller back and has showcased a viable receiving skill set when he has been given the opportunity with the Jets and Lions to start his NFL career. Johnson ended up going undrafted in 2019, but has carved out a nice role for himself in the league as a productive player when he gets his chances, similar to what I expect of Chandler as a pro.
Chandler had an informal meeting with the Steelers at the NFL Combine, and figuratively would be the perfect complement to former high school recruiting classmate Najee Harris as a speed/change-of-pace back. Harris could operate as the bruising back and bell cow, and Chandler would be brought in to give Harris a breather and excel more on outside runs as well as in the receiving game. Given Chandler’s usage to this point in his college career, being compliment in a committee will likely be his best fit at the next level, and Pittsburgh could be an option for him depending on where he draft stock falls come April.
Projection: Day Three
Depot Draft Grade: 7.6 – Potential Starter/Good Backup (3rd Round)
Games Watched: vs Wake Forest (2021), vs Virginia (2021), vs Miami (2021)