By: Willie Lovato
- Lateral quickness
- Can start and stop on a dime
- Receiving upside
- Creative between the tackles
- Speed to get to the outside
Patience - One of Wilkins' best traits is undoubtedly his patience. He does a great job of waiting for blockers to get into position and lanes to open up before putting a foot in the ground and running through them.
Lateral quickness/Shifty - This box is routinely checked when watching his film. Wilkins has tremendous side-to-side movement and change of direction speed.
Can start and stop on a dime - Lateral quickness is one thing but Wilkins' ability to come to a complete stop and seamlessly change direction is special.
Burst - A great complement trait to patience is burst. Wilkins not only can wait for a running lane to open up, but has the burst to turn on the gas and get through the hole before it closes in on him.
Elusive - He may not run you over, but good luck getting a clean shot at bringing him down. His tape is littered with defenders tackling air as Wilkins runs by them. His vision, combined with his lateral quickness, allows him to set up defenders with body movement, sink his hips, and change direction. Wilkins received the 7th highest elusive rating among the 2018 NFL Draft running backs according to PFF.
Receiving upside - According to Pro Football Focus, Wilkins forced 11 missed tackles on just 27 receptions. That stat speaks once agian to his elusiveness in the open field. He also averaged 13.4 yards after the catch per reception according to PFF, which ranked 3rd among all 2018 NFL Draft running backs with at least 30 targets.
Vision - This trait truly sets up the running style Wilkins possesses. His patience is only a plus due to the fact that he is able see plays develop and take advantage. Not only does he do a great job of knowing where the defense is coming from and how to counter that, but he also has a great feel for where his blockers are and what position they need to be in before punching the gas and making his move.
Creative between the tackles - Wilkins' has a glide to his game when it comes to getting through traffic between the tackles. His shifty hips, consistent footwork, and body lean help him flow through traffic between the tackles.
Speed to get to the outside - He is not going to wow you with his speed but it is good enough to bounce runs to the outside and pick up chunk yardage plays when the opportunity presents itself.
Wiggle/Shake - We have touched on his ability to get past defenders. The GIF below is just a friendly reminder.
- Pass blocking
- Patient to a fault at times
- Runs a little high
- Sample size
Pass blocking - My biggest concern about his game. Being unreliable in pass protection makes it a lot harder to contribute on third downs. I will mention that according to PFF's Pass-Blocking Efficiency Ratings, Wilkins was the 19th best graded running back from this 2018 NFL Draft class. Rarely do I say this when talking about PFF, but I disagree. Not only does Wilkins struggle with technique in the pass blocking department, but he also seems to struggle to show effort at times, which is the bigger concern. He will need to step up in both categories on the next level or his ceiling could be capped.
Speed - The NFL Combine didn't tell use much about Wilkins' speed. He reportedly was not at full strength at the combine after suffering an injured hamstring so decided not to run. He did however manage to post a 4.51 time at his pro day. Although unofficial, that time still helps Wilkins who was being projected to run closer to 4.7. He also improved his combine results by six inches in the broad jump and by one inch in the vertical.
Age - The soon to be 24 year-old Jordan Wilkins will enter the league older than your average rookie. He is older than Todd Gurley (entering 4th NFL season), Ezekiel Elliott (entering 3rd NFL season), and Jordan Howard (entering 3rd NFL season) just to name a few. A broken fibula suffered just 6 games into his senior season in high school lead to him being redshirted in his first season at Ole Miss. Being ruled academically ineligible for his redshirt junior season in 2016 all but forced a 5th year at Ole Miss inorder for Wilkins to improve his chances of even being considered as an NFL hopeful. Running backs tend to have a shorter shelf-life than other positions as is, so this will definitely impact how some teams feel about investing a pick in Wilkins.
Sample size - Jordan Wilkins made the most of his 311offensive touches, racking up 2,073 total yards, 15 touchdowns, and averaged a respectable 6.6 yards per touch. His ability to handle a heavy workload, however, was not put to the test. 2017 would be the only year he cracked the 100 carry mark with 155 carries. Even as the featured runner in the Ole Miss backfield, Wilkins logged just three games with 15 or more carries.
Wilkins has NFL size with some very impressive traits. His combination of patience, lateral quickness, burst, and receiving upside are enough to warrant more attention than he is currently receiving. I believe Wilkins is best fit for a zone-scheme. He is able to allow running lanes to develop and plant his foot in the ground and eat up space quickly. He is also able to create oppurtunities when things breakdown. His speed is not elite but good enough to get to the outside and create long runs and make defenders pay as a pass-catcher. His age and pass blocking are his biggest red flags. Although he is older than most running backs entering the league, he also has less mileage on his body due to his unique circumstances. Wilkins logged just 279 carries during his five-year attendance at Ole Miss. Just for comparison, Nick Chubb logged 758 carries over four seasons at Georgia. The bigger concern for me is his pass blocking. He will need to be determined to learn and give a consistent effort as a pass-blocker in order to maximize potential opportunities.
Jordan Wilkins is a great upside dart-throw in rookie Dynasty leagues. The size, skill-set, and potential to handle a starter's workload aren't a common find when you get into the later rounds of rookie drafts. Wilkins provides just that. As of today (3-26-18), you can't find Jordan Wilkins' name on the top-66 list or rookie rankings according to FantasyPros. Look for that to change if Wilkins can land in a good spot to showcase his abilities.