There are hundreds of stories being told during the planning and anticipation of the 2017 NFL Draft. Today we will be looking at a scouting report for redshirt junior running back Alvin Kamara from the Tennessee Volunteers.
RB – Alvin Kamara, Tennessee, 5’10” 215 lbs.
Kamara was a two-year contributor for the Volunteers. He was originally recruited by Alabama for the 2013 season, and due to a very competitive running back stable transferred to a junior college to play in 2014. This runner, unlike many of his draft classmates, has not taken a beating with less than 300 combined touches in his two years at Tennessee. I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, so I am going to break down what I saw in the five games I reviewed of the redshirt junior runner: 2016 contests versus Vanderbilt, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, and Georgia along with his 2015 game against my alma mater, Bowling Green. All of these videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. These are my thoughts:
Cons: Despite his size, the junior runner has skinny legs that do not have a lot of power behind them. The best way to bring the back down is by wrapping up his legs. Another issue is that he doesn’t always protect himself from big hits by lowering his pad level; the former Volunteer prefers to slide or bounce off contact. That may work half the time at the next level, but Kamara needs to lower his shoulders more and reduce his tackling target. The young playmaker missed two games with an LCL sprain this season, so this may be a situation to monitor. His tendency to bounce plays outside is concerning along with his very subtle workload increase when Jalen Hurd left the Tennessee program, instead of a major increase in usage. If their coaching staff didn’t want him getting over 150 touches a season, do they know something NFL teams need to know?
The back works well in space: gets tossed jet sweeps, goes to the flat in a hurry for quite a few screen passes, or just simply lines up in the slot. He uses combinations of spins, hurdles, jump cuts, juke moves, and quick feet to avoid defenders in the open field. His vision is one of the former Volunteer’s better attributes which helps him read his blockers and take better angles. Kamara is one of his running back class’ best passing options with his soft hands that can adjust to the ball in the air while catching it in stride without losing concentration. As a pass protector, he steps up, squares his shoulders meeting the rusher head on and anchors for impact rarely getting knocked back. The runner has a good center of gravity that he uses alongside a mean stiff-arm to keep defenders at bay. His play reminds me a lot of current Patriot back, Dion Lewis, only Kamara is a bigger prospect but has that same burst and slipperiness.
I like the young runner with his good vision, quickness, and burst. His limited touches could be considered a blessing (lots of mileage to go) or a curse (can’t handle a bigger role). Hopefully, he will get better at protecting himself at the next level. Although I have him in my top five rookie runners, location may be a bigger determination of his true dynasty fantasy value. Kamara could be a value pick towards the end of the first round in rookie drafts.
Thanks for reading. I will continue to discuss my scouting reports with you throughout the next several months, so keep checking the site for more content. Please check out my other content as well. You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley.