,From now until the 2023 NFL Draft, we will 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 Auburn RB Tank Bigsby.
#4 Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn (JR) – 5115, 210LBS
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Tank Bigsby||5’11 210lbs||9 1/2||32||N/A|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Runs with good center balance to shed arm tackles and bounce off of tacklers that don’t wrap up
— Shiftier than his nickname would have you believe, consistently makes defenders miss in the open field
— Runs with good power when he drops his pads, keeps his feet driving
— Consistently falls forward for maximum yardage
— Willing and capable pass blocker
— Shows more promise as a receiver out of the backfield than his production indicates
— Needs to bulk up his lower frame
— Lacks third gear to break open big runs
— Prone to bounce outside before blocking lanes open up
— Could stand to play a bit more patiently and get tighter to the line of scrimmage before cutting upfield
— Runs with his pad level a tad too high
— Not the most proficient at creating for himself if the play breaks down
— Birthday: August 30, 2001 (21 years old)
— Nicknamed “Tank” as a toddler for his rambunctious nature
— Birth name: Cartavious Bigsby
— Five-star recruit out of high school in Atlanta
— Long jumper and sprinter in high school
— 2020 SEC Freshman of the Year
— Majored in Liberal Arts
— Three-year starter at Auburn
— Career stats: 540 carries for 2,903 yards and 25 touchdowns with 62 receptions for 448 yards
Tank Bigsby’s name will have you believe he’s a bowling ball runner. However, that’s not entirely the case. Bigsby is a fairly balanced back who executes the fundamentals of his position at a high level to maximize his opportunities.
Bigsby was one of Auburn’s best players from the moment he set foot on campus and one of the lone bright spots during the program’s rather tumultuous seasons during his time as a Tiger. Even with all of the attention on him, Bigsby still managed to remain a consistent force by taking what was given and not overcomplicating his role.
See here on Bigsby’s longest touchdown of the 2022 season against Ole Miss. Bigsby bounces the run and sprints through a diving tackle attempt as he gets upfield and evades a couple of more Rebels on his way to the endzone.
Bigsby is scheme versatile as Auburn’ used a variety of ways to keep its rushing attack fresh with a weak passing attack. Still, Bigsby shows a proficiency as a one-cut runner, searching for the open hole and bursting through behind his pads as he does here against Texas A&M. Bigsby shows off his grit as a runner here, shedding a tackle from the edge backer without breaking his stride before lowering his shoulder and charging ahead for max yardage with three Aggies needed to bring him down.
Of course, Bigsby does play beyond his nickname as I mentioned. He attacks defenders naturally, reacting to the situation rather than purposefully engaging in a preferred method. As such, he shows great balance in his game with his elusiveness to avoid would-be tacklers in the open field. Even still, he’s always falling forward. See here against Ole Miss again as he cuts this run upfield, makes the safety miss in the hole and drags three Rebels across the line to gain.
Still, Bigsby didn’t always have the most daylight to run behind. While Auburn’s overall production has been solid for years, thanks in large part to Bigsby, the fact is that it came quite a bit on volume and having multiple backs and quarterbacks pitch in on the yardage numbers. As such, it’s easy to see why Bigsby didn’t always trust that the hole would develop and felt the need to bounce outside prematurely, as he does in this next clip.
Watch just after Bigsby commits to bounce the run as a gaping hole up the middle opens up. What could have been a significant gain up the middle instead gets stuffed near the line of scrimmage near the sideline. This isn’t a case of pursuit creating the lane, his left guard and tackle aren’t quick to the second level, but both do get to their mark creating the lane.
One thing teams will like about Bigsby is that he’s a willing and capable pass protector. While Bigsby wasn’t always the back called on to do so as the team’s primary runner, when given the opportunity he stuck his nose into the chest of defenders and consistently halted their progress.
Check out this play against Ole Miss where Bigsby does just that, reading his key, stepping up and stalemating this Rebel defender.
Elsewhere in the passing game, you probably noticed Bigsby had no receiving touchdowns in his career and pedestrian numbers. Watching Bigsby, I don’t think that’s indicative of his skillset in this regard. Auburn has played some real struggle buses at quarterback during his time there, many of whom opted to break clean pockets rather than dump the ball off to Bigsby.
Still, when Bigsby had his opportunities, he gives a bit of shine to what he can give to an NFL team when given the chance as he shows in both of these clips against Arkansas.
The Steelers met informally with Bigsby at the NFL Combine, and while I watched Bigsby’s entire career from afar when I covered Alabama, I did expect to see their interest in Bigsby to be rooted in the idea of his playstyle matching the “Benny Snell football” variety. I was actually pleased to see that’s not the full case with Bigsby.
His athleticism is about what I expected – he’s not going to blaze up and down the field. But he’s efficient and runs with a determination that can wear on a defense. While his athleticism isn’t off the charts, he’s still plenty capable to contribute on special teams efficiently if he lands in a deeper backfield.
The disappointing aspect for Bigsby in my estimation is that he isn’t particularly great at anything. He’s a solid prospect though. Surely he can be a suitable No. 1 option down the road on a team that’s more focused on its receivers being game-changers rather than its runners. But I do think he’s pretty close to his ceiling as a football player. Having high effort is a huge thing at the running back position, but without anything to separate him dynamically from the pack, he comes off rather bland as a prospect. Still, Bigsby should be drafted in the middle rounds and contribute comfortably in some fashion for the team that employs his services.
Projection: 4th Round
Depot Draft Grade: 7.4 – Rotational Player – (4th Round)
Games Watched: Ole Miss ‘22, Arkansas ‘22, Texas A&M ‘22