NFL Draft Spotlight: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

by Cory J. Bonini on April 19, 2010 @ 00:00:00 PDT

 


Clemson senior running back C.J. Spiller enters the 2010 NFL Draft widely rated by draft experts as the No. 1 player at his position. Some people may view him as the best offensive player in general, and he's essentially a lock to hear his name called on the draft's first day. Spiller is the first back in NCAA history with more than 3,000 rushing, 2,000 receiving, 1,000 kick return and 500 punt return yards. He set an all-time record for all-purpose yards per game (191.4) in 2009. 

Strengths

  • Elite speed: ran 4.37-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine
  • Elusive runner: amazing open-field ability - lightning quick
  • Hands: Spiller possesses wide receiver-grade mitts.
  • Ball skills: catches well in traffic and is capable of tracking down over-the-shoulder throws
  • Vision: very good at finding cut-back lanes and bouncing out of a pile
  • Quick feet: has a nasty start-stop move and can juke the best defenders
  • Has made efforts to become a more complete back
  • Of strong character
    C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson Tigers
    A big-time weapon
  • World-class return specialist: holds NCAA career record with seven return touchdowns (four in 2009)
  • Durability: never missed a game at Clemson

Weaknesses

  • Size: 5-foot-10 1/2, 196 pounds - could stand to add a few pounds but will probably sacrifice speed in the process
  • Blocking: Despite being willing to get in the way, Spiller is far from being a strong blocker.
  • Tends to bounce outside too much
  • Doesn't profile as a three-down back

Expected draft placement

Even though Spiller's frame suggests he is a situational player, we question that after seeing what elite speed has done for Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson's career. The knocks on the Clemson product are picky. He is a dangerous weapon, and NFL defenses will be forced to account for him regardless of how he is used.

Spiller is a first-round pick, and it will be surprising to see him fall past the Houston Texans at No. 20. The Seattle Seahawks could use one of their first-round picks (No. 6, No. 14) on him, but they currently have more pressing needs to tend to. Other teams that may consider Spiller: Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles. In the worst-case scenario, Spiller falls to the San Diego Chargers at No. 28.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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