Elijah McGuire has been a popular name in Devy circles for several years now. His early career production (4,300 scrimmage yards and 43 TDs) looked extremely promising heading into his senior year and had many in the scouting community excited for what was to come. However, that buzz quickly turned into question marks, as McGuire’s production dipped in nearly every offensive category in 2016. The best explanation for this is that he played through a foot injury that limited him most of the year. Nevertheless, the notable production drop has caused draft scouts to dive deeper into this prospect’s evaluation, and some of his shine has begun to wear off. We’ll break down and identify where McGuire wins and where he struggles as the NFL draft is just around the corner.
A quick analysis of Elijah McGuire’s combine reveals above average NFL RB athleticism in terms of speed (40-yd dash) and burst (vertical and broad). His 3-cone and shuttle scores, on the other hand, put him in the lower tier of NFL RB’s reflecting underwhelming agility.
While breaking down the tape on McGuire, I found that his two greatest strengths are his hands/pass-catching ability and his pass protection. McGuire has outstanding hands for a running back and uses them well by catching the football outside of his frame, rather than letting the ball into his body. He pairs this with solid route running that could use a little bit of refinement on the next level.
McGuire more than holds his own in pass protection. The most important and notable element of this is his willingness and determination in pass pro. He was used on many occasions as a lead blocker for his QB and seems genuinely focused and interested in protecting his QB. This mindset will translate well to the next level, as NFL coaches seek that type of attitude and will work on his technique.
Elijah has good burst to his game when he sees an open hole and accelerates well through it. His solid scores on his jumps at the combine also help to verify that burst and its potential to translate. He shows this off most successfully when he’s able to plant his foot in the ground and make that one-cut upfield.
McGuire shows definite stiffness and tightness in his hips on tape. He lacks a quality jump cut and displays limited lateral agility. He has enough wiggle to make the first man miss at times, but the defender is often able to get his hands on him, and there aren’t very many ankle breaking type of jukes to his game. This is fine if you have a power element to your game, but McGuire simply does not have that. Despite showing good willingness as an inside runner, he doesn’t have the requisite power to break multiple tackles in a row or drag tacklers for extra yardage. The lack of overall agility is exemplified metrically through his bottom 10 percentile agility score and represents one of the major weaknesses to his game.
The Final Word
This Louisiana product had an extremely productive college career by the numbers and carries a skillset that could make him relevant on the fantasy radar. McGuire looks the most natural and wins best when he’s able to flare out of the backfield, catch the ball in space and burst upfield. This ability shows in the numbers, as he was extremely productive in the passing game, accumulating 130 receptions for 1,394 yards and 10 receiving scores in his career.
The former Rajun Cajun is most effective running the football on draw plays, facing light defensive fronts where he can find wide running lanes and use that good burst. Add this up along with his solid pass protection and Elijah McGuire has all the makings of an above average 3rd down back in the NFL. Playerprofiler.com has his best comparable player as Charles Sims, and I can get on board with that comparison. Expect McGuire to be drafted on day 3 of the NFL draft and attempt to earn a roster spot out of camp.
He’s worth a shot as a late 3rd or 4th round pick in your dynasty rookie drafts, especially if he lands on an NFL roster lacking that complimentary receiving back option.