The 74th Senior Bowl kicks off on Saturday at 2:30PM on the NFL Network. The Detroit Lions have plenty of draft capital to use and have an opportunity to add depth to not only their defense but to their offense. More than likely, they will go defense first as Mike O’Hara of DetroitLions.com in his latest mock draft had Detroit going with their two first-round picks. At number 6, he had DB Christian Gonzalez out of Oregon and at number 18,DT Bryan Bresee,
The hope is that Detroit will resign Jamaal Williams. The combo of Williams and De’Andre Swift was a potent 1-2 combo as they combined for 22 touchdowns and over 1,500 yards. However, with injuries, as in baseball, you can never have enough depth. Let’s take a look at two running backs who stood out this week in workouts.
Appalachian State running back Camerun Peoples
Jan 31, 2023; Mobile, AL, USA; National running back Camerun Peoples of Appalachian State (6) practices during the first day of Senior Bowl week at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
According to NFLDraftBuzz,com, Peoples is ranked #27 among the running backs in the 2023 NFL Draft class. His stock rose a bit after his good week at the Senior Bowl practice.
Standing at 6-2, 215 lbs, he is considered a north/south runner. Here’s the scouting report on Peoples per NFLDraftBuzz.com on his strengths:
- Peoples keeps his pads low and consistently falls forward. Unlike most backs his size, Peoples has the lateral movement and stop-start ability to make defenders whiff. He has breakaway speed in the open field.
- He consistently falls forward, and he will also bounce off of or shake loose from a couple of tackles to turn minimal gains into big runs.
- Solid receiver in the flat, capable of running through tackles on the edge to move the chains. Flexible enough to catch passes thrown behind him.
- He would likely fit in any scheme, but he’s an interesting one-cut prospect considering the power and violence he brings once heading downfield.
- Peoples has the straight-line speed to outrun angles, and his flexibility allows him to turn the corner on the perimeter and stay near top speed as he does; he’s especially effective on fly sweeps.
- North-South runner with good leg drive and physicality.
- Peoples could stand to get smaller when squeezing through traffic.
- He isn’t particularly elusive. He runs a bit upright when picking through traffic, presenting a big target for tacklers.
- Peoples tends to get too upright at times, sacrificing power.
With his ability to catch, Peoples would be another target that Jared Goff could throw to and show the ability to break off a long run.
Tulane University running back Tyjae Spears
Spears is more known for his ability to be a good catching back. Here’s the write up on Spears, per NFLDraftBuzz.com on strengths:
- Spears is elite as a receiver. He runs routes as well as most receivers and has natural hands, snatching the ball away from his body.
- He’s a quality receiver with soft hands, and Spears shows a good feel for catching and transitioning upfield in the screen game.
- Possesses agile feet with the patience, balance and vision to sidestep and elude defenders – nice job following his blocks and working well in tight areas. Physical at the point of attack and keeps his feet moving
- He aggressively finishes runs and consistently falls forward in a crowd. His low pad level and a bit of wiggle keep him from absorbing big hits.
- His best asset is his ability in the passing game. He’s a coordinated hands catcher who transitions quickly and smoothly to a runner, good enough to make an impact as a slot receiver. He even tracks the ball well when asked to run deeper routes.
- He brings a nice blend of power and passing game skills. Spears has a compact build and a naturally low center of gravity, and he runs with excellent balance through traffic, allowing him to squeeze through for yardage.
Spears seems like a better option for the Lions should they decided to draft a back that can be used for a receiver out of the backfield. While is considered a “power back”, like Peoples, Detroit uses a gap style run scheme, which could play into his speed as a north/south runner.