Name: Elijah Hood
School: North Carolina
Position fit: Running back
Stats to know: Averaged 4.1 yards after contact in 2015, tied for the highest average among all running backs with at least 100 carries that season.
What he does best:
- Strong runner that can be difficult to tackle.
- Gains a lot of yards after initial contact. Over the past two seasons, he’s gained 1,400 yards after contact and averaged just shy of 4 yards after contact per carry.
- Takes advantage of bad tacklers and/or defensive backs that try to tackle him without wrapping up.
- Good vision in both zone and man schemes. Would fit best in power- or inside zone-heavy schemes where he can run downhill more often.
- Makes subtle cuts to avoid direct contact.
- Showed the ability to find cutback lanes and opportunities in the open field, more so in 2015 than in 2016.
- Was utilized quite a bit on flare-screens in the passing game, but not overly impressive in the open field as a receiver.
- Adequate burst, takes a few more steps to get up to full speed than others.
- Lacks great speed and quickness, particularly when running parallel to the line of scrimmage.
- Not someone you want to be using on wide runs often and unlikely he’s able consistently get the edge in the NFL when forced to bounce runs.
- Not the most fluid when trying to make sharp cuts at higher speeds. Can require him to either throttle down and lose speed, or prevent his cuts from being as sharp as they could be.
Player comparison: Stevan Ridley
Like Ridley, Hood is a better downhill runner who is capable of being a productive back while taking what is given by his run-blocking.
Bottom line: Hood’s evaluation comes down to if he’s closer to the player to the player we saw in 2015 with a top-five rushing grade at the position out of this draft class, or if the step back in 2016 is more accurate. Hood reportedly dealt with nagging injuries during the first half of the 2016 season, but no specifics on what exactly was the issue. Some of the above concerns with his speed and agility are far less prevalent on his 2015 tape, where he looks to have a better burst and ability to change directions quickly. Overall, there’s nothing that he’s exceptional at. He shows good balance to stay up through contact, but isn’t a bruiser and others are still better at breaking tackles. Hood’s vision is one of his best assets and his experience running in multiple schemes will help him be a contributor at the next level, but ultimately does not look like a lead back in the NFL.