2022 NFL Draft First Look: Isaiah Spiller

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Today we are analyzing Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M’s 6’1″ 225 lb. running back who was named First-Team All-SEC in 2020 and is considered to be in the hunt to be the first running back off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft. Let’s check out the tape!

Strengths: The best area of Spiller’s game is likely his vision and intelligence as a runner. He excels at surveying the line of scrimmage to choose the best running lane, and is able to bounce laterally to get there. Spiller is patient to allow blocks to develop yet decisive to catch a hole when it opens. He is a very natural runner with great instincts in this regard. Spiller boasts a compact, nicely sized build with a good amount of power. He is a physical runner who shows tackle-breaking ability at times and always fights for extra yards. Spiller has a solid burst, which is especially evident in the open field, including after the catch. He also has fluid hips that allow him to string together cuts and to occasionally make defenders miss in space. Spiller is a quality receiver, capable of running effective short routes out of the backfield, lining up in the slot, or even out wide. He has good hands and adjusts well to the throw. When his quarterback does not have any primary targets open, Spiller does well to make himself readily available as a checkdown option. 

Weaknesses: While Spiller shows the power and physicality to gain yards after contact on occasion, there are a lot of instances where he gets stuffed at the line of scrimmage without having the sheer power to push through the defender and instances where he can be tripped up at his legs when a runner of his size and strength should not be. Considering this and his patient running style that relies on identifying the correct running lane, Spiller could struggle at the next level if placed into a situation with a poor offensive line that does not open holes for him. The game against Alabama could be evidence of this. In pass protection, Spiller is willing but needs a lot of work on his technique, since he simply attempts to shoulder chip his opponent at this stage in his career. Given his little usage in pass protection in 2020, I don’t expect to see drastic improvement in this area before his college career ends. 

Bottom Line: Spiller is a well-rounded running back who excels between the tackles, in space, and as a receiver. He will continue to shine as the feature back for Texas A&M in 2021 and be one of the first running backs selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. However, Spiller does not possess any of the elite physical and athletic traits that we have seen from first round running backs in recent years who go on to be among the best in the NFL, as most of his physical attributes such as strength, quickness, and speed would be classified as “good not great.” If he lands somewhere with a good offensive line, Spiller will likely be a good, productive starting NFL running back. 

Sources:

  1. Cover Image- https://gigemgazette.com/2021/05/28/texas-am-football-isaiah-spiller-has-heisman-potential/

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