2019 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: RB Bryce Love

Player Description:

Name: Bryce Love

Position: Running back

College: Stanford

Class: Senior

Height: 5’10

Weight: 202 lbs

 

Overview:

Bryce love is fast. Yes, he is definitely fast. Perhaps it is not enough to make such a statement before adding some context to it. When Love was 12 years of age, he was the USA Track & Field Youth Athlete of the Year. He set three national records that year; 23.37s in the 200m, 11.64s in the 100m, and 50.75s in the 400m. By the time he was 14, he ran the 100m in 10.73s and the 200m in 21.83s. When you put it into perspective, Love was essentially an Olympic-level sprinter before he was in his mid-teens. In many ways, the word ‘fast’ is an appropriate way to describe the type of collegiate career he has had up to this point.

In his freshman year, Love played in 12 games and was already making contributions to the Cardinals offense. He finished that year with 226 rushing yards and added 250 receiving yards. His sophomore year saw him and current Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey form one of the best running back tandems in the nation. He improved his totals with 783 rushing yards and three touchdowns. His efforts that season earned him All-Pac-12 honorable mention. Then McCaffrey left for the NFL and Love went on to have one of the most productive seasons for a running back in college football history. He finished that year with an incredible 2118 rushing yards, 19 touchdowns, and 33 receiving yards. He set numerous school and Pac-12 records. His most notable game, week five against Arizona State, saw him account for 301 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He was easily given Unanimous All-American status and numerous other honors that season.

Running Style

Love is what I call a ‘sideline runner’. When he starts, his first direction is towards the sidelines before cutting upfield. To me, this is the type of running style that is easy for linebackers to track, especially if the running back in question does not have the type of speed Love possesses. Love is constantly looking for space to use his speed and that place is generally outside. Love can be a downhill runner at times, but since the space through the middle is more restricted, his tendency is to try and bounce outside.

As you can see in this clip, once Love had the room outside, he was gone. Love has incredible breakaway speed and though this clip does not quite display it, you get an idea what type of speed he has.

Blocking:

To me what counts is if the running back is a willing blocker. The second aspect is such if he effective enough to get the job done. To my surprise, Love checked the boxes in both these aspects. From what I have seen, Love is not the physical type, as his style is finesse-based. Yet I believe that players like this only need to engage physically when it is necessary. Take the sequence seen here against the Oregon Ducks;

This is an example of effective pass-pro blocking from a running back. It is not a physical one, but Love beautiful picked up the edge rusher blitzing from the outside, giving his quarterback enough time to complete the pass. In today’s NFL where running backs are required to play a multitude of roles, this type of blocking fits the bill.

Catching In Open Field

I believe this is an area of Love’s game that has yet to be exploited correctly. Make no mistake about it, Love is more effective as a runner than receiver, yet he possesses the type of hands that would make him useful on screen-type plays. Love will occasionally run delay routes and catch; his yards after the catch is a weakness.

Not much happening on this play. The screen was well set but since most of the San Diego State defenders on his side stayed home, Love was not able to gain much. Yet you can see the hands and his ability to turn upfield immediately after the catch; in the right offense, this can be useful. Since his freshman year, this aspect of his game has greatly regressed and it needs to come back.

In a way, Love made the right choice staying for his Senior year, as it gives him the opportunity to improve his areas of weakness before entering the NFL. With all that is said, Love is one of the best running back prospects coming into the 2019 NFL Draft and can produce right away.

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