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Isaiah Spiller - 2022 NFL Draft Rookie Profile

Isaiah Spiller fantasy football rankings NFL draft rookies draft sleepers

The 2022 NFL Draft Prospect Profile series features prominent 2022 NFL Draft prospects with film analysis and scouting insights. I have experience working in college football and have been studying the NFL Draft for over 15 years. My analysis is based on film study and analytics. So far this season, I have written up profiles on Iowa State RB Breece Hall,  Alabama WR Jameson WilliamsMississippi QB Matt CorralCincinnati QB Desmond RidderOhio State WR Chris OlaveArkansas WR Treylon BurksUSC WR Drake LondonOhio State WR Garrett WilsonPittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett, Liberty QB Malik Willis, and North Carolina QB Sam Howell.

A common misconception about the NFL Draft is that the college and pro games are very similar. They are not. Besides the obvious difference in speed and skill level, a college field has different hash mark distances and different rules. There are specific schemes and plays that NFL teams copy from college and vice versa. But the differences between the two are understated in NFL Draft coverage. There's a reason many highly-productive college players are not considered legitimate professionals.

To that end, scouting prospects is not just about evaluating college performance, it’s about projecting traits that translate to the next level. This is not limited to just physical traits. There are certain football traits that are evident in college film and will translate to the pro game. We will continue our 2022 Prospect Profile series with Texas A&M RB Isaiah Spiller.

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Isaiah Spiller - NFL Rookie Profile

Isaiah Spiller is an intriguing RB prospect who produced at a high level in the SEC for three years. A 20-year-old early declaree, Spiller rushed for over 900 yards in all three seasons at Texas A&M, including two 1000-yard seasons the past two years. Spiller's 5.5 yards-per-carry average, 26 touchdowns, and 585 receiving yards complete his impressive production profile in the SEC. Spiller has ideal size at 6-0, 217, but did split carries for the Aggies. He has high-level coordination and balance, but might not be as explosive or athletic as some of the other backs in this class. Spiller is a polarizing prospect in the draft community as he shows some very appealing traits and some very average film. Let's dive in.

 

Coordination and Balance

Balance is extremely underrated when evaluating any prospect for the NFL draft. It's important to look at traits that translate rather than the results of college plays, so when watching film, I like to see guys who can stay on their feet, even if it doesn't materially affect the play.

Spiller might not be my favorite back in this class, and I think it's fair to question his upside. But there's no doubt he can be useful in the NFL. The clip below shows great hands, and more importantly, great balance, as he's able to secure the catch on the move and stay upright even as he's ridden out of bounds.

The clip below is more impressive work in the passing game. Spiller catches the throwback screen and makes the first man miss, as he did frequently in the game versus Alabama. His shiftiness looks pretty special here, as does his ability to drive the pile to finish the play.

The clip below is a wide shot of Spiller working a wheel route on a pick play. He definitely has receiving skills that translate.

Spiller is a capable receiver, but some of his blitz-pick-up reps featured an effective shoulder block. I'm not confident in his pass protection translating with limited technique and a relatively slender frame.

Spiller had a tendency to look to cut back too many inside zone runs when he had a crease on the front side. The clip below shows him correctly reading the run concept, getting skinny through the hole, and exploding for a huge gain.

He opted not to run a 40 at the combine and then ran a 4.63 at his pro day. That number didn't surprise me, as he did not show breakaway speed on film. 40 times aren't the end-all-be-all, but you like to see your RBs have home run speed, especially for a fantasy player. Spiller is more like Josh Jacobs or Sony Michel in that volume will be his path to fantasy greatness. The good news is that he's a better receiver than both of them.

The clip below is another example of great coordination and balance. Here he is correct to cut back the run. He again gets skinny through the hole and adds a nifty stiff-arm. His play strength isn't overwhelming but he's willing to be physical. Obviously, we don't like the fumble, and Spiller had eight fumbles in three years at A&M. I would describe some of his movement habits as uppity, which raises questions about his translation.

 

Enough Juice?

Spiller is obviously very talented and he produced as an 18-year-old in the SEC. But the film simply does not show as much creativity and athleticism as the other top backs in this class. The NFL is a completely different beast than college, and it requires special traits to be more than just a guy, especially at RB.

The clip below is poorly blocked upfront, but Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker III were simply much better at making defenders miss in the backfield than Spiller. He's also completely cut down and fails to gain any positive yards after contact.

Spiller was far less efficient than his backfield teammate Devon Achane, who scored more touchdowns on fewer touches and averaged a full 1.4 more yards per carry.

The clip below shows an attempt to bounce a run outside. He doesn't display the athletic juice to simply get what he can by sprinting at an angle to the boundary. And he finishes the play with a weak fumble.

The clip below is an illustration of the difference between Spiller and the other top backs in this class. Both Hall and Walker have special ankle flexion and the ability to cut back with a single pressure step. At first glance, this looks pretty good, right?

It is good work by Spiller, however, when you look closely, you can see his feet need two steps to change direction. It's not as natural. I like how he gets skinny and north after the cutback, but two-stepping with that footwork isn't going to go well at the next level.

 

NFL Outlook

Isaiah Spiller showed exciting flashes throughout his three years in the SEC. His production profile speaks for itself, and he projects as a capable receiver. I actually think his floor is fairly high and he's a relatively "safe" prospect in comparison to a lot of the other projected day-two picks. However, I don't think he has the juice to do much more than what's blocked for him, and I worry that he's just a guy.

Obviously, opportunity is king in fantasy football, and with such a low probability of flat-out busting, Spiller has a chance to carve out a nice role for himself as early as his rookie year. I expect his fantasy value to hinge on his situation more than Hall or Walker, who I think are simply superior talents.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more draft content in the coming days.

Other Prospect Profiles:

Malik Willis - QB, Liberty

Kenny Pickett - QB, Pittsburgh

Sam Howell - QB, North Carolina

Garrett Wilson - WR, Ohio State

Drake London - WR, USC

Treylon Burks - WR, Arkansas

Chris Olave - WR, Ohio State

Desmond Ridder - QB, Cincinnati

Breece Hall - RB, Iowa State



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