Draft Daily: Can Texas RB D’Onta Foreman pass protect?

Senior Analyst Steve Palazzolo and PFF's analysis team tackle the biggest draft topics of the day.

| 3 months ago
D'Onta Foreman

(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Draft Daily: Can Texas RB D’Onta Foreman pass protect?

Pro Football Focus’ Draft Daily will hit on a number of NFL Draft-related topics including recent news, scouting reports, PFF draft takes, and much more on a frequent basis.

Monday: How early is too early to draft a QB?

Tuesday: What did we miss on Dak Prescott?

Can Texas running back D’Onta Foreman pass protect?

While one scout’s opinion is like a star amongst the galaxy, it’s always notable to hear various viewpoints during draft season. A recent comment raised a few eyebrows around the PFF offices, as one league source apparently referred to Texas running back D’Onta Foreman’s blocking skills as “awful.” Rotoworld has that comment and other player notes on Foreman, but we checked in with our top running back analyst, Matt Claassen, to get his more level-headed view on the matter. Here’s what Claassen had to say about Foreman:

“Foreman did not give up a sack, and rarely allowed any pressure in 2016, but Texas does run an offense that limits how often running backs have to pick up defenders in pass protection. Foreman carried out a lot of play-action fakes and run-pass option plays, and stayed in on quick passes that led to him not having to engage with a defender on the vast majority of his snaps in pass protection.

When he did have the opportunity to pick up a defender one-on-one, he seemed to go low for a cut block more often than other backs, despite his bigger frame. I’m not sure whether that is due to coaching or preference, but he generally did well with those. When he took on defenders up high, there were times where he tried to just throw a shoulder into the pass-rusher and duck his head, instead of properly engaging and keeping the rusher in front of him. That will be an area where he will need to improve. Based on his tape, however, categorizing him as untested may be more accurate.

That said, there are not many colleges that utilize running backs in pass protection the same way the NFL does anymore, and even fewer that are actually successful at it. Pass protection is typically the biggest adjustment for running backs transitioning from college to the NFL, and Foreman, along with the majority of the backs in the draft class, won’t be an exception.”

PFF analyst draft takes

Our analysts are hard at work analyzing the 2017 draft class and adding their spin on what they’re seeing. The beauty here is that we’re not always in lockstep with each take, and it shows the unique interpretation each of our analysts can have when watching film and analyzing PFF grades and stats. Here are a few of the more interesting takes of the week:

My podcast partner, Senior Analyst Mike Renner, is known for his lukewarm takes, but this is a strong one that we will discuss on this week’s show. Fournette has the power and speed that a mid-90s NFL would love, but Renner’s reservations also center on Fournette’s ability to excel in a zone-heavy scheme that involves quick decision-making and even quicker cutting ability. Some of those concerns are found in Fournette’s scouting report.

Zoltán is working hard on many of our wide receiver reports, and he obviously saw something in Cal’s Chad Hansen. Buday brings up an excellent point in his recent report on Hansen that will be hitting the site soon.

Hansen report

A good deep threat is not always the fastest receiver, like Houston’s Will Fuller, but often the one who is best capable of creating separation by winning the hand fight, adjusting to off-target throws, and winning contested catches. Fuller does not have great hands and he struggles in contested situations, while Hansen has fared better in both areas. However, while stats don’t always tell the entire story, Hansen caught 45.7 percent of his deep targets last season; Fuller caught 58.6 percent of his deep targets for Notre Dame in 2015, while ranking third in the draft class with 708 deep receiving yards. The jury is still out on this one.

Scouting report for wide receiver Corey Davis

Best route-runner in the draft? That just may be Davis, who has a knack for getting open at the short and intermediate level while showing the ability to make the spectacular catch. He’s averaged 8.1 yards after the catch per reception over the last three years, making him one of the most dangerous receivers in the draft.

From the ‘My guys’ list

We have a running document where PFF analysts list their favorite players to watch and analyze during draft season. They’re not necessarily the best players in the draft, but players an analyst believes in more than the hype surround the prospect, or perhaps his expected draft position.

Here’s Jordan Plocher‘s take on San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey:

“NFL teams have certain height/weight/length parameters that they like their prospects to fit within, or they will likely not be selected during the draft. Some teams are adamant about not drafting exceptions to their size limits, while others will view players more on a case-by-case basis.

San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey is one of these players, as he is a running back with elite college production that only weighs 169 pounds. It would be easy to write off a player of such limited stature and say, categorically that they will not be able to perform in the NFL. However, the film tells a different story, as Pumphrey has shown the ability to run between the tackles and do it well on a consistent basis. While he isn’t going to power through defenders, he is able to use his vision, burst and lack of size to his advantage, as he can fit through small creases in a defense and pick up yardage that other running backs might not be able to find. Pumphrey is a player that I would make an exception for if I was in an NFL front office.”

PFF Draft Podcast

The latest PFF Draft Podcast is now available, as I team up with Senior Analyst Mike Renner for our usual ramblings, including a pick-by-pick breakdown of Mock Draft 4.0. Mike brings it with his usual “hot take” of the week, and this one was burning so strong that he had to kick off the show with it. We also discuss players moving up and down the draft board, review old scouting reports (including some insight on Dak Prescott). We are also blessed with Nathan Jahnke’s mind-blowing stat of the week, quickly becoming the most-talked about segment in football podcasting.

Be sure to download and subscribe to the PFF Podcast from your favorite provider.

PFF Draft Pass

Stay tuned for a very exciting venture, as the PFF Draft Pass will be your way to access the most unique NFL Draft insights available. Release information coming soon!

| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Mike J.

    One scout had Pumphrey 9th among RB’s. ”Comment: ‘He’s small, but man is he explosive. Darren Sproles? Yeah, there you go.’ ”

    • Frank Yi

      My thoughts exactly. Sproles isn’t built to be a bell-cow back, but he’s such a dangerous complement to an offense. What round do you think he should go in?