DALLAS- The depth at running back continues to amaze experts, scouts and fans alike. It is becoming increasingly difficult to accurately rank the running backs in terms of their draft projections. Although big names like Saquon Barkley and Bryce Love seem easy to rank as the top two without any difficulty, the separation of overall talent level among most of the running backs seems minimal. This is no simple year of rankings that provides a comforting, easy to analyze group that the media can simply say, “Barkley and Love are my top two, no problem.” We now look at Arizona State running back Kalen Ballage as he looks to be the pure power back that old school football fans will enjoy watching regardless of which team drafts him. Ballage is one of the underestimated running backs like Iowa’s Akrum Wadley.
After assessing the game film, a few things stand out about Ballage’s running style. Even though he is a power back, Ballage shows great speed when running outside. However, he needs to show off his power by running up the middle more. He can easily break tackles much like Trent Richardson did while playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He is another hammer much like Jaguars running back Fournette and Steelers running back Le’veon Bell.
Ballage can at times drag multiple defenders several yards downfield which is also intriguing as it provides more proof of his strength. He is 6-2, 227 pounds.
On September 11, 2016 Ballage accomplished a stunning feat that no one saw coming. With nine minutes and 11 seconds left on the clock, Ballage scored his eighth touchdown of the game against Texas Tech. The touchdown tied the previous NCAA record held by Howard Griffith in 1990.
Ballage is currently a seventh round projection. He rushed for 669 yards and six touchdowns. These stats are likely a major contributing factor to his plummeting draft stock. Ballage will need a mentor to help him work on football instincts. He can potentially become an elite running back once he becomes more polished runner.