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 Texas A&M RB Devon Achane.
#6 Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M (Junior) – 5084, 188lb
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Devon Achane||5’8 1/2”, 188lb||8 1/2||29”||N/A|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Possesses impressive track speed and burst in the open field
— Can turn on the jets and find a second gear to pull away from defenders
— Will burn pursuit angles if he can get up to speed
— Excels on runs to the outside, following his blocks and gettingto the sideline
— Thicker frame for his size gives him a low center of gravity
— Willing to run between the tackles, fighting for extra yardage on contact
— Can be evasive in open space and when cutting up the hole, making defenders miss
— Will cut back when he sees an open lane, takes advantage of over pursuit
— Uses his vision to find a gap and squirt through defenders for first downs
— Will improvise as a runner to create outside of what’s blocked for him
— Lined up in the slot and out wide as a receiver
— Capable pass catcher that can be a check down target as well as a threat up the seam/on wheel routes
— Makes difficult catches with defenders bearing down on him
— Proven pass protector that will stand in and take on blitzers
— Dangerous as a kick returner given his speed and elusiveness in the open field
— Has a well-proportioned frame but lacks ideal feature back size
— Small stature leads to him getting stuffed by bigger, stronger tacklers
— Contact balance can be suspect as he tends to get tripped up by defenders
— Often hesitates, waiting for a hole to open instead of hitting the gas and taking what’s given to him
— Can get caught trying to do too much in the backfield, resulting in big losses behind the LOS
— Can do a better job of playing to his timed speed consistently
— Not best suited for a three-down role at the next level given his frame
— Smaller target that will struggle to make catches away from his body
— Will be overwhelmed by sheer size and mass when asked to pass protect
— Junior Prospect from Missouri City, Texas
— Born October 13, 2001 (age 21)
— Named the 2019 Touchdown Club of Houston Offensive Player of the Year in high school
— Averaged 11.3 YPC in his high school career, finding pay dirt 48 total times
— Played in eight games as a reserve his first year at Texas A&M, amassing 43 carries for 364 (8.5 YPC) and four TDs along with 5 receptions for 97 yards and one TD
— Started one of 12 games played in 2021 and led the FBS with 7.0 YPC, toting the rock 130 times for 910 yards and nine TDs, catching 24 passes for 261 yards and one TD, and nine kick returns for 301 yards (33.4 YPR) and a return TD
— Missed two games with a foot injury in 2022
— Played in 10 games as a junior and posted 196 carries for 1,102 yards (5.6 YPC) and eight TDs along with 36 receptions for 196 yards and three TDs, also returned 11 kicks for 312 yards (28.4 YPR) and one TD
— Also ran indoor and outdoor track for Texas A&M
— Part of an All-American 4×100-meter relay team in 2021 and won the 60-meter dash at the 2022 Don Kirby Open (6.63 seconds
— First-team All-SEC (2022), AP All-SEC second Team (2021)
Devon Achane of Texas A&M is the latest speed demon at running back looking to translate his splash play ability from College Station to the NFL. Achane is a world-class sprinter, having won the 60m dash and competed on the All-American 4x100m relay team for the Aggies in track and field while posting an official 4.32 40 and 1.51 10-yard split at the NFL Combine this spring. Whether on the field or on the track, Achane uses his burst and acceleration to get to top speed quickly, giving him the chance to outrun defenses any time he touches the football.
The Aggies capitalized on Achane’s speed not only as a runner but in the return game too. His pure speed, vision, and elusiveness in the open field make him a threat every time the opposing team kicks to him, having averaged nearly 30 YPR during his college career. He housed two kickoffs the last two seasons including this one against Alabama in 2021, helping the Aggies upset the Crimson Tide at home.
When I talked with Achane at the NFL Combine, he said that his favorite play call is when he gets the ball on a counter/outside run where he can use his speed to challenge defenses to the corner and shoot up field. Here is a two-play sequence against the Crimson Tide where Achane gets to the outside. He weaves through defenders, finishing the runs falling forward near the line to gain.
Despite his diminutive size, Achane fills out his frame well, carrying a low center of gravity, which can make him tough to tackle when he’s got a full head of steam. He powers through arm tackles when running in between the tackles, fighting for extra yardage on contact. On this play against Arkansas, he breaks through a couple of arm tackles to add additional yardage to the run.
While bringing some physicality to the table as a runner, Achane can make defenses look silly in open space if they aren’t careful. He runs with a fair amount of shake and wiggle but can be dangerous on cutback lanes. On this TD run against the Razorbacks, he plants his foot into the ground and cuts back to green grass to his right, hugging the backside of his blocker to plunge into the end zone for six.
What makes Achane a well-rounded weapon is his work as a receiver in the passing game. He is capable of running routes from the backfield as well as lining up out wide and in the slot like a traditional WR. He can be a sure-handed target over the middle of the field like you see in the field clip below, making the contested catch. Achane also excels getting the ball in space like in the second clip where the QB checks it down to Achane in the flat. Making magic happen after the catch, he evades multiple defenders and sneaks into the end zone for the score.
Achane is undersized for RB standards, especially when it comes to a feature back. He runs hard between the tackles but lacks the size profile to consistently pound it through the middle without getting stuffed by bigger, stronger defenders. He also has a tendency of getting tripped up as he works through the pile, bringing into question his contact balance to create after first contact by defenders.
Devon Achane is an explosive, dynamic runner with the ball in his hands and brings a three-phase threat as a runner, receiver, and returner to the table. While he has shown he can play inside as a rusher, his best role at the next level to maximize his effectiveness while keeping in mind his durability would be a complementary slasher that can be a mismatch in coverage out of the backfield or from the slot against opposing linebackers or safeties.
When watching Achane, Nyheim Hines immediately came to mind as a similar player that excelled in a similar role at N.C. State, having near-identical size (5’8 3/8”, 198lb), speed (4.38 40), and skill set. Hines starred as a runner/receiver/returner for the Wolfpack and has done the same in the NFL as a complementary back that brings juice as a rusher, is a mismatch as a receiver out of the backfield as well as split out, and as a returner. Hines has housed four kickoffs in his five-year NFL career.
I see Achane having a similar role in the league, possibly being used more as a runner between the tackles than Hines but not as an every-down back. The Steelers would greatly benefit from a back of Achane’s skill set, adding much-needed juice to the backfield as well as a capable receiver and kick returner. They already have Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, thus, they may wait to address the need until late in the draft or after it with a UDFA. Still, Achane could help Pittsburgh’s offense in several ways, giving the Steelers a big-play threat that defenses would have to game plan for on a weekly basis.
Projection: Day Two
Depot Draft Grade: 7.8 – Potential Starter/Good Backup (3rd Round)
Games Watched: at Alabama (2022), vs Arkansas (2022), vs Miami (2022), vs Alabama (2021)