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 senior running back Matthew Dayes NC State Wolfpack.
RB-Matthew Dayes NC State, 5’9” 203 lbs.
The senior runner has plenty of tread on his tires with only a starter’s share of the carries this past season (249). He played well against powerhouse teams like Clemson and Florida State, but can he be successful at the next level? Because I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, let’s break down what I saw in the six games I reviewed of the senior playmaker: 2016 contests versus Vanderbilt, Clemson, Wake Forest, Notre Dame, and North Carolina as well as the 2017 Senior Bowl. Most of these game videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. These are my thoughts:
Cons: After reviewing those six games, I saw questionable leg drive, inconsistent ball security, and didn’t notice an extra gear in the open field. For a smaller back, this might limit his upside at the next level. Dayes averaged 4.7 yards per carry his senior season, which is great in the NFL, but not so much in the ACC. The former Wolfpack runner goes down too easily often because of arm tackles and rarely runs behind his pads using leverage against the defense. I watched him turning his back to the defense too often and dancing when he should have taken one step and took what was blocked.
Pros: The back has quick feet that he uses to stop/start and force the defenders to run past him. He looks like a downfield skier moving side to side with his loose hips making linebackers and defensive linemen miss in tight quarters. His balance and vision help him find a crease to use his blockers in front. Once in the open field, he uses jump cuts, stiff-arms, and stutter steps to maneuver himself to create a cutback lane. Dayes is a decent pass blocker, anchoring and showing effort, but is more effective as a receiver. The former Wolfpack runner has soft hands, can adjust to poorly thrown passes, and snares the pigskin in stride. He gets out into space in a hurry on screens or other passing situations and also runs a nice wheel route.
Overall impressions: Dayes reminds me of a lesser Gio Bernard, the Bengals change of pace and third down back. In a rookie class this deep, he should be a bargain later in the draft. His fantasy value will be very role dependent based on the team that drafts him. Don’t write him off or overdraft him just yet.
Here are 12 minutes of Matthew Dayes against Clemson this past season.
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.