All Around Stud

The Arizona Cardinals are on the clock and as we inch closer to April 25th, the media begins to separate perceived superstars from the pack. This separation allows for the generic football fan to label a player either a “franchise-altering superstar” or a “bust.” You’re not going to find those buzzwords on Student Union Sports in line with any agenda.

Continuing with my theme of players who are just flying under the radar, we have Bruce Anderson, a running back out of North Dakota State. Looking at his film it was really tough to find anything to criticize on. While all the players I have looked at so far are good I’d say Anderson is the most polished with a deadly combination of size, speed, and agility.

Measurables:

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 208 lbs

*appears he did not participate at the combine*

Games Reviewed:

vs Cal Poly: 11 carries, 185 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 catch, 7 receiving yards

vs North Alabama: 11 carries, 56 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 catch, 4 receiving yards

at Northern Illinois: 23 carries, 170 yards, 1 catch, 75 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

Pros

  • He has very nimble feet, makes quick cuts, and while it’s not like Tyreek Hill flashing-across-the-screen speed it is still a respectable speed that you can run outside with. He keeps his feet under him and maintains balance after contact and can regain the speed he lost.
  • Runs with power and does not hesitate to hit the hole. When he’s not turning corners on stretch plays he’s bruising people between the tackles. Never gives up on a run and will keep churning those legs til the whistle blows. He also has a nasty stiff arm.
  • Good fundamentals. Keeps the ball in the hand closest to sidelines–unless he reverses field–and carries the ball high and tight. When it’s a call between the tackles he’s following the hole and allowing blocks to develop. Doesn’t get happy feet in the open field and doesn’t go east-west too much
  • Is a willing pass blocker. While he can stand to improve as far stepping up in the pocket to pass protect, he still sticks his nose in the dirt and with the correct coaching he can be an even better pass blocker.
  • He is a reliable pass option. Not necessarily a pass-catching running back per se, but he’s a good safety valve and you can have him in their on obvious passing situations.

Cons

  • While this is pretty nit-picky he does take a false step on most plays. A lot don’t really notice it, and doesn’t really affect the play, but it is still kind of sloppy and at any time that .01 seconds can ruin the timing of the play.
  • When a play is designed outside he will always go outside no matter what. Most times it’ll result in a positive gain just because he is so good. However–especially on zone blocking schemes–there’s usually a cutback hole so if there’s nothing on the outside you can cut back in side where there’s a gaping hole. While he does have good cut back abilities he can stand to use it more frequently when the outside seems to be cut off.

Overview

He’s tough to gauge just because the running back position is so unpredictable when it comes to the draft, free agency, etc. He possesses a lot of good skills and I am not even trying to be a brown-nose, but in a league that doesn’t really value running backs as high as before and the fact that there are so many good running backs and so few spots for them, it’s impossible to say where Anderson will end up.

However, given the opportunity, he can be a starter pretty early, or at the very least, split carries with someone. He will probably get picked on Day 3 but Bruce Anderson brings much more value than that.

Potential Suitors:
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Oakland Raiders

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