By Kip Earlywine
40 time: 4.35
- Alexander-esque vision
- Makes great decisions and has terrific instincts
- Good initial burst and reaches full speed very quickly
- Light on his feet and makes great cuts with minimal effort
- Makes defenders miss, often without slowing much
- Very fast top speed, definitely a home run hitter
- Scary good at improvisation
- Decent inside rusher
- Good hands, good routes... a well above average receiver
- Very athletic
- Great ball security (has never had a lost fumble)
- Might be the best pure rusher for ZBS in the draft
- Alexander-esque as a blocker (taken off the field on obvious passing downs)
- Small size
- Not a physical runner who breaks tackles
- Was injured a decent amount despite small workloads
- Two concussions
- Definitely a rotational RB, no workhorse potential
When I evaluate a RB to see how they fit for Gibbs, the first thing I look at is burst, then vision, then cut-making ability, roughly in that order. Jahvid Best is in my opinion, the best RB in the 2010 draft in all 3 of those areas.
Best doesn't reach 2nd gear as explosively as Joe McKnight and is pretty comparable to CJ Spiller, but its how quickly he reaches 3rd gear that sets him apart. CJ Spiller has a rare "4th gear" that Best does not possess, but Best's 3rd gear is still good enough to go the distance in the pros, and he reaches it faster than anyone. Sometimes, he accelerates so quickly that it feels like he skips going to 2nd gear altogether.
Best's footwork is exceptional. He can stop and go at full speed with 1 plant like few backs can. He combines this precision with great athleticism. Best does not break a lot of tackles, but he'd be a champion in flag football. Just laying a finger on him can be pretty challenging on some plays, especially when Best improvises. Normally I'm happy if a back is decisive and makes 1 good cut. Best does that, and he also uses his fast cut-making recovery to his advantage at the 2nd level.
Best gets where he wants to go very quickly, which makes his great vision and decision making just that much more amazing. Its when Best is allowed to improvise on busted plays that he becomes extremely dangerous. At 4:10 up above, you can see him turn a barren sweep left into a weaving 93 yard TD run. Later on, at the 5 minute mark, he turns an outright busted play into about a 60 yard gain.
Best is also a very good receiver. He has good concentration, soft hands, and isn't just a dump-off/screen RB, he can actually run routes down field like Reggie Bush does. Head to head with CJ, I'd probably give Spiller a slight edge here, but its surprisingly close.
Best is also a fearless runner who isn't afraid to start outside and go back inside. Despite his size, he's a decent inside rusher. This makes him a better fit for Gibbs than Spiller, who has an annoying habit of bouncing almost every run outside, even runs up the middle.
Best's biggest weakness is his poor pass blocking, which is made worse by his small stature. Typically you think of a rotational RB with Best's receiving skills as a "3rd down back," but his pass blocking will probably keep him off the field on 3rd and long. Although as long as our RBs stay healthy, this won't be too big an issue as Justin Forsett is already a very good 3rd down back.
Concussions are very serious and are starting to get the proper attention they deserve in both the college ranks and the NFL. Best has had not one but two concussions. Normally I take multiple concussions very seriously, but Best's case requires a little context. The worst of his two concussions was a freak accident on a TD leap which resulted in a horrible blow to the back of the head. RB's don't take very many hits to the back of the head, so its a very low risk of recurrence compared to a typical frontal concussion.
Is this still serious and will it effect his stock? Yes. This combined with his rotational back status and other injuries almost guarantees he'll be a 2nd round pick. That's a shame (for him), because Best has the talent of a high 1st rounder. He reminds me a little of Clinton Portis, who was also a great college talent that fell into the mid 2nd round.
If Seattle still owned the #40 pick, I wouldn't hesitate to select Best. I think he'll be an absolute steal for someone in the early to mid 2nd round. If he falls further into the 2nd than people expect, I wouldn't mind one bit if Seattle moved up to get him.
Expect him to be drafted in... Round 2