DALLAS- The 2018 NFL draft class is deep at running back. The two most talked about runners are Saquon Barkley and Bryce Love. Scouts, experts and fans should keep their eyes on Iowa running back Akrum Wadley.
What are Wadley’s strengths? He is a runner that make defenses look foolish. He is super agile, makes great cuts, bounces to the outside to create additional yards, makes the proper reads, and attacks the defense aggressively without dancing around in the backfield. NFL scouts likely have similar notes.
Fans and experts should evaluate Wadley closely during the combine. He should probably add as much muscle as possible to negate the concern about his size. He isn’t a fast back but he has decent speed and acceleration. The fact this he is quick on his feet will be a tremendously helpful skill. He should finish in the top five in the three cone drill.
There are concerns that Wadley is undersized (5-11, 195 pounds) and might not be durable. He suffered an ankle injury during the 2017 season. This looks like a scary combination for scouts that may write unfavorable reports because of these two concerns. Wadley is a projected fifth or sixth round pick at this time. He surely needs a strong combine to help his case. If Wadley impresses the scouts in Indianapolis, he could become a projected third round steal. Iowa runs a pro-style offense which should help his case.
Wadley averaged 4.4 yards per carry this season. He is capable of gaining 10 to 20 yards consistently due to his ability to make defenders miss. If NFL teams work with him to improve his strength and conditioning, he has the potential to be an elite running back. Only time will tell but it is too early to write Wadley off as too high of a risk to be drafted in the first three rounds.