By Kip Earlywine
Weight: 195 lbs.
Unofficial 40: 4.34
- Very Fast
- Great moves, can start/stop and change directions especially well
- Above average running instincts
- 2009 was not a fluke, he produced in '08, '07, and '06
- Plays hurt... plays well hurt
- Dangerous kick returner
- Very good outside runner
- Solid Burst
- Seems like a leader and has no character issues
- Career 1 TD per ~20 carries, most of them big plays
- Reminds me of Reggie Bush as a receiver (that's a huge compliment)
- Not much untapped potential, size looks maxed out
- Size/durability probably means he'll continue to be a 150-200 carry RB
- Not a particularly good inside runner or goal line RB
- Not especially powerful
- Supposedly (I've read) is mediocre as a blocker
"Spiller is the most electrifying player in college football today."
As always, the POTD series is an incomplete analysis that serves more as a preview than a final word. Spiller is the first RB I've done in this exercise, and I have to say that RB might be the most difficult position to evaluate simply from highlights. Even good sites like prodraftparty show very little pass protection, and we don't see runs where the back missed a hole and settled for 1 yard and a cloud of dust. If it looks like the Seahawks get serious about Spiller, I'll have to get some real game tape of him in a couple months to give a much more accurate opinion.
Anyway, Spiller is an exciting player. Clemson is not a particularly good team, but they were at times a top 25 ranked one during this last season. I firmly believe that without Spiller, they never would have been. Its not very often you see a RB that is the team by himself (like Jake Locker is for UW), and for Spiller to have that kind of impact when averaging only 14.5 carries a game, is ridiculous. He might not carry the ball much, but he chipped in 2.3 catches a game and also returns kickoffs extremely well.
My big concern for Spiller is that like Reggie Bush, he's more of a "kick it outside" runner, and the zone scheme really emphasizes inside running (man does too, just a little less). As an inside runner, Spiller is (edit- reworded) not nearly as potent. And since Seattle's tackles suck and Carlson is a mediocre blocker, I don't see a lot of promise for designed outside rushes (that was an area Seattle really sucked at last year). Bush is a very common comparison to Spiller, and Bush averaged under 4 ypc every year until the Saints made a Superbowl run. Obviously, the Seahawks are very far away from having a Superbowl contending team. Spiller is awesome, and he gives the Seahawks something they badly need as a big play runner and KR, but if the Hawks draft him and he's a dud for us, it wouldn't completely shock me. I don't want to sound too negative though- Spiller is easily the best RB in the draft and I'd probably take him over any RB in last year's draft as well.
Assuming that the Seahawks manage to get the most out of Spiller and he's every bit as dominant in the pros as he was in college, he'd still be seeing less than 20 total touches a game, and how much do you pay for that? Is <20 touches a game worth $8-9 million per year? Probably not. However, at #14, his contract would be much more reasonable, somewhere around $3 million per.
Alex Gibbs turned Davis, Anderson, and Gary into huge stars, and the highest draft pick of the bunch was a 4th rounder. With what looks to be a decently deep RB class, will Seattle invest a big high pick for a RB? Or will they trust Gibbs track record and get a bargain RB later on while spending that pick to grab a WR, DT, or OL instead of Spiller?