By: Mark Leipold
- Stretch Runs
- Field Awareness
Elusiveness – This is where Wadley needs to excel to earn a role at the NFL level since he profiles as a satellite back, and he delivers. He’s quick and elusive, which is necessary since he won’t win with power. Watch him embarrass two defenders after he catches the dump-off in the first clip. In the second clip, see how he breaks out multiple moves from his arsenal to escape tackles. Wadley shows another nice “shake and bake” in the third clip.
Balance – Wadley is not going to power through defenders, but he’s able to bounce off tackles at times because he has great balance. Even though this play is a bust, he’s able to stay on his feet in a situation where lots of players would go down.
Stretch Runs – Despite running a 4.54 40-yard dash, which is very poor for his size, Wadley’s tape shows that he has the game speed to stretch runs to the outside. He doesn’t look like he’s blazingly fast here, but he certainly separates from the defensive backs.
Field Awareness – Wadley shows great awareness when running through the second level. Watch how he stretches this play for a score, even though the defense should most likely have tracked him down. He didn’t win with pure speed, but with technique and awareness.
- Pass Blocking
- Ball Security
- Offensive Line Play
Pass Blocking – Wadley is undersized, and it should come as no surprise that he does not excel in pass blocking. He’s certainly not the worst in the class, but he profiles as a satellite back at the NFL level, so it’s still a concern that an aspect of running back usage in the passing game is a downside of Wadley. Watch here as he first decides not to engage, and then whiffs on the chop block.
Ball Security – Wadley wasn’t plagued by fumbles, but the ball security on this play is concerning. Running backs who fumble in the NFL don’t play in the NFL for long, so he’ll have to play smarter and a little less carelessly to earn NFL snaps.
Offensive Line Play – This has nothing to do with Wadley’s talent or his NFL outlook, but I wouldn’t be doing him justice not to mention how poor the offensive line play at Iowa was. It’s important to understand the context of his low YPC numbers. His production is much more impressive considering he didn’t receive much help.
Wadley rose up my board after reviewing his profile. He’s everything I wanted Ito Smith to be, and he’s a solid runner between the tackles. He’ll be able to earn a role in the NFL both running the ball and catching passes, but he will never be a 3-down workhorse at the NFL level. Wadley is versatile and can be a great weapon for the right NFL offense, as long as he is paired with a creative offensive coordinator.
I couldn’t resist, but just watch Wadley make Nebraska’s defense look silly over and over.
Wadley will never be a 3-down workhorse at the NFL level, so being a fantasy RB1 is off the table. He’s versatile enough to run the ball and also to be involved in the passing game. He reminds me of Duke Johnson, who had a prolific rushing career at the University of Miami, and then became more of a passing specialist in the NFL. Wadley’s upside looks to me like mid-range RB2 for fantasy, but he’s far from a sure thing. I’d consider him around the third round of rookie drafts without knowing his landing spot.