The 2016 college football season introduced us to a bulldozer of a running back out of Texas. D’onta Foreman literally burst between the tackles and into the record books, becoming the first 1,000 yard rusher in a season at Texas since Jamaal Charles. With his recent announcement to enter the 2017 NFL draft, the question now is how will Foreman’s blue-collar, aggressive running style will translate at the next level?
University of Texas
DOB: 4/24/1996 (21 years old on draft day)
Foreman’s running style resembles a bull running through a China shop. He runs like he has something to prove, like he has a chip on his shoulder and wants everyone to know it. Well, according to Foreman himself, this is the case. He was a three-star prospect according to Scout.com and held only seven FBS offers which included Missouri and Washington State.
His twin brother, Armanti Foreman, seemed to get all the attention, forcing D’onta to step up his game. Armanti, considered a four-star prospect by scout.com, held offers from Florida, Texas A&M and several others. D’Onta’s high school coach, at Texas City high school, explained that this humbled D’Onta and gave him a driving force. This would be the beginning of the powerhouse running back we have seen in 2016.
Foreman’s driving force has manifested itself in the 2016 season, as he led the FBS in regular-season play in both carries with 32 and rushing yards with 2,208. Foreman rushed for more than 100 yards in all 11 games he played in the 2016 season.
On Wednesday, November 30, 2016, Foreman announced he would enter the 2017 NFL Draft. He stated “I had a wonderful season, and I feel like it’s time for me to pursue my dream” per the Austin American-Statesman. This really is a no-brainer for a running back that ran for 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns in a season. Now begins the process of adjusting to the speed of the NFL.
Size: Foreman has elite size at 6’1″ and 249 lbs. (according to University of Texas Measurements). An 18-wheeler was used to describe Foreman during the Texas versus Cal game and this comparison proved accurate, as he plowed through the defensive line the entire game. He has thick tree trunk legs with a good weight ratio favoring the lower body. This allows for him to maintain good balance, in which his agility is rooted in his balance. Defenders are forced to body him up if they want to take him down. Foreman makes this difficult as he keeps his legs moving through contact.
Tenacity and Aggressiveness: Foreman is an elite finisher, something that is extremely important when evaluating running backs. His legs are always moving through contact, with his shoulder pads at chest level driving through defenders. He is able to maintain a low base, which is impressive for a running back his size and he plays with natural leverage.
The con to his aggressiveness and size is he will be a running back that will get a lot of contact leading to durability concerns. The positive is that Foreman has shown that contact does not bother him and he can take the load as a workhorse running back. He has a “you can’t stop me” mentality that resembles the play style and mentality of running backs like Marshawn Lynch and Brandon Jacobs.
Vision and Decisiveness: Foreman approaches the line of scrimmage with very good vision, meaning he identifies the holes that are presented and makes good decisions on the angles he takes. He has learned to use his angle of attack in the backfield to deceive defenders and set up his blockers.
A slight concern I have with Foreman is his average initial burst and acceleration. The more I watched him, the more I realized that his decisiveness and tenacity behind the line of scrimmage, will more then make up for his lack of burst. He also has enough speed to take it to the house which is impressive at 249 pounds.
Pass Protection: I consider Foreman a solid blocker with the upside to be even better at the next level. He has no fear of bodying up the defenders and delivering a blow or a punch. At times he can lose his anchor, but that is to be expected from someone with a raw blocking skill set.
Ball Security: Somehow Foreman was able to turn the play of the year in favor of himself, into the play of the year in favor of Texas Tech. Here Foreman showcases his powerful rushing style with extreme determination to get to the end zone. Unfortunately, his inability to hang onto the ball erases what would’ve been a Sportscenter top 10.
Foreman fumbled the ball twice versus West Virginia, including a costly turnover late in the fourth quarter. That ended a Longhorn drive which could have ended with a score to seal the game. Foreman will have to take better care of the ball and I’m sure NFL coaches will work with him to improve his ball security.
Lateral Quickness: At 6’1″ and 249 pounds, it would be a lot to ask Foreman to sink his hips and showcase good ankle flexion to elude defenders. His lack of lateral agility and average initial burst at the line of scrimmage could plague him at the next level.
When Foreman wants to change direction, he relies on what gets blocked to attack the line at full speed. He has trouble syncing his hips, rotating his torso and flexing his ankles to cut away from the defenders. With his ability to showcase a competitive running style, his lack of lateral quickness shouldn’t become as big of an issue as it would for others.
Foreman without a doubt passes the eye test. He is powerful, competitive, and relentless when running the ball. His size, speed combination is jaw dropping. When I initially evaluated Foreman, I was concerned about his lack of initial burst and lateral agility. As I broke down multiple games, I started to understand that his competitive run style made up for these issues. The lack of use in the pass game knocks his profile down a bit. He was never used in the pass game other than for a handful of quick screens. Foreman has the skill set to be an every-down back in the NFL and should be considered a second to third round pick in 2017 NFL Draft.