NFL Draft: Best and worsts elusive RBs for Chicago Bears

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 29: Bryce Love #20 of the Stanford Cardinal runs for a touchdown during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 29, 2018 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 29: Bryce Love #20 of the Stanford Cardinal runs for a touchdown during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 29, 2018 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

After breaking down pass catchers yesterday. who are the backs with the most elusiveness

The Chicago Bears are on a search for a running back, and so are we. After identifying that pass catching, lateral agility, third level runs and three-down ability is what the Chicago Bears are looking for in this draft we have decided to try to pin down the best for each situation.

Yesterday, we looked at pass catchers and came to these conclusions:

Best Pass Catching Options: James Williams, Alexander Mattison, Mike Weber, Darrell Henderson, Trayveon Williams, Bruce Anderson 

Red Flags: Miles Sanders, Devin Singletary, Bryce Love, Dexter Williams, Myles Gaskin, RyQuell Armstead, Josh Jacobs

Today, we look into who is most elusive of this group of runners.

Elusive rating

Pro Football Focus has come up with a stat called elusive rating. Here is their description:

"We combine the number of missed tackles that player forced against both the run and the pass to get a total missed tackles forced figure, which is then divided by the ball-handling opportunities.  This figure then gets multiplied by a player’s yards after contact per carry average (*100) to get the final Elusive Rating."

It is at least a piece of the puzzle worth including, right?

Good Outliers: Darrell Henderson, Devin Singletary 

Bad Outliers: Dexter Williams, Myles Gaskin, RyQuell Armstead

After struggling as pass catchers, Dexter Williams and RyQuell Armstead also show that they will not create much on their own either. These are two zone-based runners who are good at finding a hole, and hitting it hard. Myles Gaskin continues to disappoint as a small back who does not catch passer, nor is he elusive.

Darrell Henderson is starting to check every box with the highest elusive rating of the bunch. Devin Singletary, who is known for being able to break tackles obviously excelled well over the others in this area. Without a high elusive rating, there would not be much to Singletary.

Bryce Love, James Williams, Devine Ozigbo and Josh Jacobs had above average elusive ratings. This is key for Love, who did shot well as a pass cacther and is undersized. Williams checks yet another box as he already is the top pass catching option of the bunch.

Ozigbo and Jacobs brought up questions in their pass catching ability, but are the highest rated backs to weight over 220 pounds. This is a great position for both to be in.

Benny Snell, Mike Weber, Alexander Mattison, Bruce Anderson, Trayveon Williams, and Miles Sanders graded below average.

This may not be a big shock for Snell, Weber, and Mattison who are power backs who use burst, but still Ozigbo gains ground on the three who fared better as pass catchers. Anderson was also a much better pass catcher, but to see a below average elusive rating at a lower level is concerning.

Lastly is Miles Sanders and Trayveon, who are the biggest surprises. Sanders is touted as a back with upside in the passing game, and in his ability to make defenders miss. That did not show on video as much as others, albeit it may have shown in flashes.

This helps dispel some myths about Williams. Williams is a pass catcher, and he is a breakaway speed player, but he is not one to make defenders miss in space. His number was not as surprising as some may think.

Agility Score

An agility score is the combination of a players 3-cone and short shuttle. These drills test balance, agility, and flexibility needed to play in the NFL. In this area, the lower your score means the lower your time, which is better.

Good Outliers: Miles Sanders, Bruce Anderson, Dexter Williams

Bad Outliers: Devin Singletary, Trayveon Williams, Mike Weber

*Josh Jacobs and Bryce Love did not qualify due to injury

Finally, the hype around Miles Sanders is revealed. He posted an 11.08 score, which is similar to backs such as David Johnson and LeSean McCoy. He is raw from sitting behind Saquon Barkley but something is there athletically.

Bruce Anderson and Dexter Williams also sat below 11.16, a huge plus for Williams who has not shown as a pass catcher, and also struggled to make defenders missed. As mentioned, he does have short area explosion, though.

Everything Trayveon Williams built up as a passer is being limited by the fact that he is such a straight line player. Still, it does show him more of a compliment to Cohen than a Cohen duplicate, if that makes anyone feel better.

Singletary posting a poor agility score is almost disqualifying for him. It is one things to make defenders miss at Florida Atlantic. To show that he may not have the quick burst or flexibility match up with NFL players is hard to dismiss. Many compare his small nature to Devonta Freeman, but even Freeman posted an 11.35, while Singletary was 11.72.

Sanders struggling to make defenders miss as a one year starter at Penn State is easier to excuse than that.

This also has to be concerning for Mike Weber, who did a good job as a pass catcher, but has shown why he is a late round pick because he is not elusive on the field or as an overall athlete.

Benny Snell, Alexander Mattison, Darrell Henderson, and Myles Gaskin had above average elusive ratings. Status quo for Henderson, but big news for Mattison and Snell who are bigger backs with wiggle. Mattison has good hands as a pass catcher, but Snell was better after the catch of the two.

Gaskin needed this as he did not make people miss on the field and has questions as a pass catcher.

Ozigbo, James Williams, and Armstead posted below average in this scores. Armstead is more straight-line than Dexter Williams and is equally as poor of a pass catcher. This is slightly concerning for Williams, who has checked every other box to date, and expected of Ozigbo, but still disappointing in comparison to Snell and Mattison.

% of runs going down on first contact

To be an overall elusive back you have to make the first guy miss. This, more than anything can help overcome poor offensive line play. Who went down the least on first contact?

Good Outliers:  Darrell Henderson, Bryce Love, Josh Jacobs, Devin Singletary, James Williams

Bad Outliers:  Dexter Williams, Benny Snell 

The players that are expected are in the good outlier range, but still Josh Jacobs, and Love, have not qualified for many other categories, and Singletary has red flags in many others.

Darrell Henderson is quietly showing that he is the best running back in this class, and James Williams does not have great tested agility and is not a strong pass blocker but has stood out as the most elusive and best pass catcher of the group.

Still, the bad outliers stand out more in Snell and Williams. They are much more limited, and Williams fails to meet a lot of thresholds, despite athleticism.

Trayveon Williams, Miles Sanders and Mike Weber showed above average in this area, much needed wins for all three. Sanders is slowly showing why the projection is there, while Williams was free falling with poor agility and elusiveness. Weber may not make multiple moves, but has one strong cut in him, followed by burst.

Bruce Anderson, Myles Gaskin, Alexander Mattison, RyQuell Armstead, Devine Ozigbo fall below average in making the first guy miss. Another disappointing result for the small school kid, who did not blow away his lower competition, Gaskin also continues to show why round seven is where he will fall and the others are power backs did as expected, although Armstead is almost a surefire, no.

Most Elusive Options: James Williams, Darrell Henderson, Bryce Love

Darrell Henderson is above average in everything and is outlier in a lot of great categories. James Williams did not have the best tested speed, but it is good enough when he has checked every other box. This was also a huge win for Bryce Love, who is injured, but has upside to make defenders miss.

Trust the stats or the athleticism?: Miles Sanders, Devin Singletary, Dexter Williams

Dexter Williams tested well but has poor tape. Sanders made the first guy miss, and had great athleticism but had a poor elusive rating. Singletary had the best on-field production in this area but by far the worth athletic ability, which raises small-school questions.

Red Flags: Trayveon Williams, RyQuell Armstead, Myles Gaskin

At this point RyQuell Armstead, and Myles Gaskin are borderline undraftable by the Bears standards. This also was a huge hit to the Trayveon Williams stock, who is fast and a strong pass catcher, but is not elusive.

Stay tuned for third level runs tomorrow.