Clyde Edwards-Helaire – Louisiana State University – 5’7″ 207 lbs. – April 11, 1999 (21 years old)

  • Short area agility is the standout feature for Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
  • Ability to fake or jump laterally helps him avoid tacklers and in route running.
  • Neither acceleration nor top speed is overly impressive, but can use his tools to set guys up and make them miss. 
  • Uses blocks downfield and sees the cut back lanes open up.
  • Times where he will put his head down when running the interior and run into the back of his lineman.

CEH gets the hand off out of shotgun. He jumps into the hole and see the oncoming defender he has to beat. Clyde jukes him and then accelerates around him, pulling out of the diving arm tackle for the score. 

  • He runs with a physicality that you don’t always see from guys his size. 
  • Not afraid to drop his head or run through the inside. 
  • However, he is better when he can bounce it outside. He gets swallowed up running inside at times.
  • While defenders that wrap him up typically take him down, he will pull through an arm tackle.
  • His balance is good enough to absorb a hit or stand up a pile, but his size can limit his ability to break free from those situations. 

A good example of his physical running style. He takes the run out wide, using a stiff arm to avoid the initial tackler. The outside corner tries to stand him up and strip the ball. Instead, CEH drops his shoulder and powers through him before he dashes in for the touchdown.

  • While system and usage are going to matter for CEH, he should get the receiving work for whatever team drafts him. 
  • Hands are good, not great. Too many body catches and struggles with contested receptions.
  • Has to turn or square up to the ball to receive it. Over the shoulder isn’t a typical RB catch, but it’s a separation and I don’t see it on tape from CEH.
  • Runs nice routes for a RB with nice breaks.
  • Gets out ahead of the QB and then works laterally on the field for outbreak routes. 
  • Lined up split out at WR on a fairly regular basis (for a RB).
  • On occasion, CEH will get a bit lackadaisical in his route if he is not going to be one of the primary targets. 

Here’s a nice route from CEH. He comes around the corner aggressively and jukes the defender before breaking inside. The defender is fooled and Clyde is open to run for another 16 or 17 yards. Finishing it off with a little shoulder drop for the last defender.

  • Open field or running routes, he’s better if he can set up the defender rather than making spontaneous adjustments.
  • Has a plus juke and spin move that he can use to make defenders miss. 
  • Spin move is his best weapon one on one and uses it effectively.
  • Had some big plays in college, but not sure if I’d expect them with regularity in the pros.

CEH slips out of the backfield on this play action. He makes a nice grab on the off target toss and then uses his spin move to fake the defender out. He gets up field and then jukes the next defender before being brought down from behind. 

  • While he is a physical runner for his size, his size may limit him moving forward, missing out on some goal line and short yardage opportunities.
  • There are times where a bigger back would likely finish off the run or be able to push a pile. 
  • Despite being smaller, he’s not overly elusive, especially when he has to be more spontaneous. 
  • He only received the bulk of the work his junior year (last season). 
  • Can struggle to pull away from even weak tackles if wrapped up. 

Here’s an example of a case where the other top rookie RBs from this class likely punch this one in for a TD. CEH does a nice job of playing the cut back when it opens up on the back side. He has a blocker out in front with a defender outside and straight ahead. He gets up speed and drops his shoulder, but is stopped short of the line. There are a few times in 3rd quarter of the Auburn vs LSU game that he failed to punch it in on a short yardage and goal to go. 

There’s a chance that the right landing spot moves Clyde Edwards-Helaire into my top 4 RBs, but with system and usage being more important for him than Swift, Dobbins, JT, or Akers, he remains on the outside looking in for now. Still, a nice upside play at RB if you missed out on the big 4 and the top 2 or 3 WRs in your rookie supp draft.