This is part of a series of scouting reports on the undrafted free agents the Steelers signed following the 2023 NFL Draft or rookie minicamp. We continue to look at the UDFAs with Morgan State running back Alfonzo Graham.
#2 Alfonzo Graham (Senior) — 5081, 182 Lbs.
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Alfonzo Graham||5081, 182||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
-Displays good vision and sees entire field well, consistently finding cutback lanes
-Durable workhorse running back despite smaller stature
-Good contact balance overall, surprisingly powerful at times for his frame
-Has a good feel for when to bounce runs while searching for home run and for when to slam it between tackles and just take what’s there
-Knack for hitting the home run; often came through with big play when team needed it most
-Soft, consistent hands out of the backfield; can be moved around as an offensive weapon
-Small, thin frame for the running back position at the next level
-Despite ability to hit the home run at FCS level, long speed doesn’t stand out on tape
-Limited as a receiver out of the backfield due to route tree; very basic
-Does not display the want-to or the overall strength to handle third-down pass protection duties
-Only one year of true next-level production after bouncing around among multiple JUCOs
-Played in 20 career games at Morgan State, starting 11 after transferring from junior college level to FCS Morgan State
-Finished two-year career at Morgan State with 1,652 rushing yard and 13 touchdowns on 249 carries; added 31 receptions for 233 yard and one touchdown
-Led the MEAC with 1,146 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 195 carries in 2022
-Named first-team All-MEAC for 2022 season
-Received an invitation to participate in the HBCU Legacy Bowl All-Star Game after the season
-Rushed for a career-high 203 yards and the game-winning touchdown on 23 carries against Norfolk State in 2022
-A Baltimore native who returned home to play for the Bears under head coach Damon Wilson
-College stops prior to walking on at Morgan State included Arizona Western College, Independence Community College, and Fullerton College
Every year, the Pittsburgh Steelers bring in NFL hopefuls as tryouts at rookie minicamp. Most don’t catch on and have just a fleeting moment wearing professional gear and practicing in an NFL setting.
Sometimes though, there are great stories that come out of those opportunities, and that looks like it might be the case for former Morgan State running back Alfonzo Graham.
Graham, an invitee to camp just one day before the three-day session kicked off, did enough to catch the attention of the Steelers’ front office. He said via Twitter that he signed a contract with the Steelers after rookie minicamp, adding depth and speed to the running back room behind the likes of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren.
So, what exactly are the Steelers getting in Graham? Glad you asked.
Graham had quite the winding road to the NFL. He started out at Arizona Western College, Independence College and Fullerton College before then walking on at Morgan State in his hometown of Baltimore and eventually working his way into a starting role. As a full-time starter in 2022, Graham took off, leading the MEAC in rushing, putting himself on the radar of the pro level.
While he has a smaller frame, I was really impressed by Graham’s vision and the tempo that he ran with during his time at Morgan State. He sees the field well and knows where the cutbacks are going to be.
He is a patient runner and lets things set up, allowing his offensive linemen to create space, which he’s then able to exploit.
Graham also showed the ability to make defenders miss and has great contact balance overall, which will help him at the next level as a smaller player.
Again, the vision is rather strong for Graham.
He does a great job of bouncing this run into space and then has the vision to bounce back inside after the safety overcommits. It’s a strong rep overall, but it ends in disaster as he fumbles the ball at the goal line. Still, it shows his vision and ability in space to find green grass and make plays.
Graham’s contact balance and overall strength are intriguing.
Here against Norfolk State, Graham shows that upper body strength to shed the tackle attempt in space, staying upright in the process. That allows him to pick up additional yardage after the point of contact.
Graham can hit the home run, and showed it a few times at Morgan State, including this one against Norfolk State to win the game for the Bears.
When he’s at his best, he’s a one-cut runner who can put his foot in the ground and get vertical in a hurry, much like he does here against Norfolk State.
In this matchup, Graham got stronger and stronger as the game went on, ripping off a career-high 203 yards in the win, most of which came in the fourth quarter as he wore down the Spartans.
Morgan State used him as a receiver at times the last two seasons and he finished his career with 31 receptions. He showed good hands and a great feel in space, like he shows on this catch against North Carolina Central.
He has a relatively limited route tree, but he has the hands to take on a larger role at the next level should he be asked to.
Graham is an intriguing package of speed, vision and contact balance for the running back position. His one year of production at Morgan State was impressive as he led the MEAC in rushing in 2022 while sharing some time with another running back early in the season.
He is on the smaller side and is coming from just one year of production. But that blend of speed, vision, contact balance and the versatility of being able to serve as a pass catcher and kick returner gives him a shot of earning a role at the next level, either on special teams or on the practice squad as developmental depth.
Depot Draft Grade: 5.2 (Camp Invite)
Games Watched: Norfolk State (2022), Georgia Southern (2022), Howard (2022), North Carolina Central (2022), Sacred Heart (2022)