One of the deepest positions in the 2017 NFL draft is the running back position. In fact, it is so deep that many draft experts have claimed that this running back class has at least three who are most likely going in the first round. Needless to say, there is a lot of talent on the board at the position. With Carlos Hyde in the driver’s seat to start, and a plethora of other needs I believe it is unlikely the San Francisco 49ers will invest a high draft pick at the position. I do, however believe that they will add depth at the position via the draft. That will most likely not happen till early Day 3 (Rounds 4-5).
Today’s prospect profile will focus on running back Wayne Gallman. The junior out of Clemson was a positive impact player for the Tigers, especially these past two seasons that led to back-to-back college football playoff appearances and a national championship. Gallman was a true workhorse for the Tigers, as their primary lead back.
While Deshaun Watson and Mike Williams get the majority of the media attention, it was Gallman who was still a difference maker for Clemson in many crucial matchups. His most memorable game came against Florida State. After suffering a concussion against NC State, Gallman played a vital role, scoring two touchdowns on the road in Tallahassee to help Clemson defeat Florida State and keep their national title hopes alive.
Interestingly enough, Gallman had a far superior sophomore season than his junior campaign. Perhaps it was the almost one hundred fewer touches in 2016 that contributed to this. Still though, several key factors remained consistent with Gallman from his sophomore season to his junior season; his durability, relentless style of play, and workhorse mentality. Gallman only got stronger as the game progressed on, and watching the film, you can see how he is able to fend of exhausted defenders and continue to move the chains. A likely contributing factor to defender exhaustion was Clemson’s up-tempo offense and their ability to run a considerable amount of plays per game (ex. 99 plays against Alabama in CFP Title Game).
What scouts and draft analysis really like about Gallman is his consistent ability to run up the middle with a downhill mentality. In 2016, Gallman put together the following achievements:
Avg: 5.1 yards per carry
1,087 yards rushing yards
17 receptions, 113 yards.
All-ACC team: 2015 (1st), 2016 (2nd)
Clemson Co-Offensive MVP: 205 (Shared with Watson).
Gallman is a volume running back, who’s preference is to gash through the line of scrimmage. In addition, he has shown the ability to run east-to-west. He remains a work in progress as a blocker, but he has improved his abilities each of the last two seasons. Gallman plays with a chip on his shoulder, and runs violently, especially inside the red zone.
Jersey No.: 9
Weight: 215 lbs.
Arm Length: 32 5/8”
Hands: 9 1/8”
40 Yard Dash: 4.60 (Combine) 4.61 (Pro Day)
Bench Press: 21 Reps
Vertical Jump: 29.5”
Broad Jump: 120.0”
3 Cone: 7.17
20 yard Shuttle: 4.28
How the measurables translate for running backs:
For running backs, evaluators and scouts are looking at speed, agility, and the ability to hold onto the football. The 40 yard dash is always a popular drill to focus on with running backs. Below is a listing of the minimal target that prospects should be obtaining.
Information on measurables courtesy of Draft Breakdown.
Drill Target Explanation
40 yd dash 4.55 Speed over distance
10 yd split 1.60 Initial quickness
225 Bench 20 Upper body strength
Vertical Jump 36″ Explosiveness
Broad Jump 9’9″ Explosiveness
20 yd shuttle 4.20 Flexibility/burst/balance
60 yd shuttle 11.7 Endurance
3 cone drill 7.25 Agility/COD
Do Your Homework
Below is a selection of highlights and game film of Wayne Gallman in action. Opponents include: Wake Forrest, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Norte Dame, South Carolina, NC State, Alabama (CFP Title Game), Miami (FL), Syracuse, Louisville.
- Utilizes a high motor that creates a burst when running directly up the middle. Has great downhill running abilities.
- Has the ability to run through the first line of defense and maintain his energy when making contact with the defensive secondary.
- Uses his body, especially his shoulders to help him fight past defenders. Utilizes his shoulders and leads forward into oncoming defenders.
- Has the ability to run east-to-west and extend plays by running towards and around the edge.
- Has extensive and successful experience running the ball on fourth and short situations. Has the ability to raise his level of aggression to fight for extra yards after contact.
- Becomes more of a threat inside the red zone. Had almost 30 touchdowns these past two seasons
- Durability has rarely been an issue. Played a workhorse load as Clemson’s primary back these last two seasons. Has the ability to be a three-down starter at the next level.
- Has the potential to offer dual-threat abilities as a pass catcher, especially on short routes to help move the chains.
- A true leader who is dedicated to his craft. Well-liked in the locker-room with no off-the-field issues. Coachable and committed to putting his best foot forward.
- Needs to continue to improve his field vision and his ability to find the open holes around the line of scrimmage. While he was able to extend plays after contact at the college level he may have more trouble doing so at the professional level.
- His aggressive and violent running style leaves questions about if he will be able to maintain a long and healthy career at the next level.
- His blocking techniques and abilities have left a little to be desired, and will need to be fine-tuned and improved upon, especially in pass protection.
- While he runs with a downhill mentality, his overall speed and agility have been a question. He did himself no favors with his time at the NFL Combine (4.60).
Pro Comparison: DeMarco Murray
Draft Projection: 4th-5th Round
It is certainly possible that Gallman is off the board by the end of day 2. However, this just might be the deepest running back class ever … or at least in recent memory. Mix that with so-so results at the Combine and his Pro Day, and there’s a good chance Gallman drops a round or two later than most will probably expect. However, this only benefits the 49ers, assuming that running back isn't too high on their priority list, which I don’t believe it is.
When you watch the tape and film, Gallman is a Day 2 selection, who will ultimately be available for someone to claim on Day 3. For the 49ers, Gallman would be a nice fit, and would be able to take some of the load off of Carlos Hyde which may keep him healthy throughout the season. Gallman does have some similarities to Carlos Hyde regarding his style of play and running abilities, but can also add some new wrinkles to the ground attack as well. I believe Gallman can be especially beneficial inside the twenty yard line, and within striking distance of the end zone. Selecting a day 2 talent like Gallman on day 3, and adding him with Carlos Hyde and Kyle Juszczyk would give the 49ers a deep backfield that they can utilize and execute in multiple ways … all without investing high draft capital.