Tuesday, 30 March 2010

POTD: Jahvid Best, RB, Cal

By Kip Earlywine

Height: 5'10"
Weight: 199
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
My thoughts:

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


Vince Mulcahy said...

Best scares the daylights out of me with his concussions... No question he has the talent to match or exceed Spiller (running) but who knows what regulations this new head/neck injury committee is going to implement in the next couple of seasons.

A concussion is a concussion no matter where it happens and every occurrence leaves you that more vulnerable to another incidence. It would be a major gamble taking him early second but if he can stay healthy he is one of the biggest weapons in the draft. If I were a team like San Diego picking at 40 I would take him but the Hawks need durable starters and have too many holes to take a risk like that IMO.

Patrick said...

Oh Jahvid Best... my favorite prospect in the entire draft. As much as I would LOVE to see him as a Seahawks, I just don't see it. I don't believe he'll make it to 60 and even so it seems to me like we might be looking more for a larger back to compliment Forsett. Seriously though, how cool would it be to see former CAL running back Forsett paired with his replacement Jahvid Best? Also, Carroll has got to be familiar with Best since he had to face him every season. I would wholeheartedly be happy with moving up to select him in the 2nd.

Austin said...

I've been saying for a while now that Best is every bit as good as Spiller and probably has a better chance of being a lead back for someone. I think he would be ideal for Seattle and I hope they trade down from 14 and select best with a late first round pick. I think Seattle has to come away with at least one of the following Spiller/Bryant/Best because we need a playmaker. I understand people wanting a bigger back to compliment Forsett but I think a guy like Best offers a better compliment because of his speed. Great article!

Anonymous said...

Alot of talk today about Deji Karim of Southern Illinois and his insane pro day. Unbeleivable numbers. 4.37 40, 43 inch vertical, 10'3" broad jump. And last years production of 1700 yds(7.1 ypc) 18tds. You gotta be kidding- 7.1 ypc on 240 attempts?
Anyway I was reading some Denver stuff to see if a certain WR was being run out of town yet and stumbled on this. http://www.milehighreport.com/2010/3/31/1396155/a-stop-watch-a-scale-and-a-prayer#storyjump
Very good read and does seem to confirm that drafting this kid could make some team very happy without paying #6 money. Any opinion on him?

Jon said...

Remember when Mike would run those formations with a RB(Alexander or Morris sometimes Mack) split out wide?
With Best it wouldn't be a complete embarrassment.

Kip Earlywine said...

I read that article. They also posted the Broncos' RB scores the last 10 years or so, including Davis, Anderson, Gary, Droughs, Bell, and Portis. Except for Portis, they were some of the lowest ranked players on the list.

So while its an interesting concept that size + speed = success, that tends to be more true for Man scheme than zone, especially a pure zone like Gibbs.

That said, Clinton Portis' score was 107. Jahvid Best's was 111. Pretty close.

Anonymous said...

The conclusion of that article IMO was that although it isn't an exact science, I also thought that the reason T Davis did so well was A Gibbs ZBS. The right runner in the right system can be a wounderfull thing to watch.