A coveted 4-star JUCO recruit, Chris Carson committed to Oklahoma State after previously verbally committing to play in Athens at the University of Georgia. After two years at Butler Community College in Kansas, Carson took the step up into the Big 12.
While his production didn’t quite take off the way he probably imagined, Carson played a pivotal, complimentary role to Oklahoma State’s running game behind Justice Hill this past season; although he finished 2015 as the team’s leading rusher with 517 rushing yards. Something to keep in mind, Oklahoma State passes the ball more than most teams in the nation.
After evaluating the tape, I came away a bit surprised as to why Chris Carson isn’t garnering more hype. While it is a deep draft class at the running back position, he certainly deserves some Day 3 talk. Carson also turned in a solid performance at the NFL Scouting Combine in early March. He ranked top 3 among running backs in drills such as the: bench press (23), vertical jump (37”) and broad jump (130”). Despite that, he still is without any hype buildup.
Name: Chris Carson
Size: 6’0”/218/33 1/4” Arm Length/9 5/8” Hands
School: Oklahoma State
Comparison: Glen Coffee (Retired/San Francisco 49ers)
Draft Grade: 5th Round
Combine Results: 40-Yard Dash: 4.58 – Bench Press: 23 Reps – Vertical Jump: 37” – Broad Jump: 130”
— Jonathan Valencia (@JonValencia_WiB) March 27, 2017
Positives: Built like a running back. Upright running style but transitions with excellent pad level upon contact to truck over defenders at the sweet spot. Pad level allows him to rumble over defenders. Physical slasher with adequate vision. Ekes out the tough yards. Finishes runs. Violent body control off his plant foot. Displays patience and balance. Angles body well to shield away from defenders and advance through the hole. Shows decent suddenness and ability to cut to the outside if nothing opens up the gut. Breaks tackles well. High steps to separate from leg tackles. Quick spin out of arm tackles. Arm length longer than your average edge defender. Solid overall combine performance – stood out in bench press, vertical jump and broad jump. Above average hand size which he uses to secure the ball – only 3 fumbles in two seasons at Oklahoma State. Legs are fresher than most backs in the draft class.
Negatives: Lacks breakaway speed in the open field. Won’t win with speed to the outside. Slow accelerator. Stiff change of direction skills. Lacks necessary explosiveness to be a premier back. Not elusive and fails to shake his man off in open field. A bit “too cutty” at times – antsy to find the hole. Unenthusiastic route runner. Doesn’t show promise in the passing game. Pumps his hands too much when setting blocks. Lack of production in the Big 12 may strike teams as a concern – longest run of 26 yards. Missed 4 games this past season with a thumb injury.
Outlook: Chris Carson was a guy not really on my radar – I evaluated him as a request. I was pleasantly surprised by his film. Carson is built like your typical running back, but provides a punch with his physical, slashing run style. He runs with excellent pad level which gives him leverage when trucking over defenders. Carson isn’t a big-play threat by any means, but he possesses the necessary power and play strength to keep runs moving. His lack of overall speed and agility decreases his value as a feature back at the next level. However, he definitely possesses the skillset to be that imposing, power back off the bench who can chip away at defenses and move the chains. Carson’s draft train hasn’t even left the station, but he surely deserves to be in the convo among the top running backs on Day 3. The 5th round seems ideal for me, although he may fall to the 6th or 7th. At the end of the day, Carson could prove to be one of the best value picks at the running back position out of this class.