Fresno State Running Back Ryan Mathews
Ryan Mathews: Fresno State: No. 21, RB, 5-11, 220
A tall running back with a well-built upper body, Mathews isn't compact in his lower half and looks thin through his calves. He allows himself to get too upright when attacking the line of scrimmage, and although he will drop his pad level on contact, he exposes himself to some big hits inside. He showcases a good first step and gets up to speed quickly when attacking the line of scrimmage. Mathews displays good vision and feel inside and has the cutback ability to quickly find a crease and get north to south. He does a nice job sidestepping defenders in space, isn't overly elusive inside and lacks great lateral quickness, but he's more of a slasher inside who can make the initial man miss. He showcases the ability to accelerate out of his breaks and has a bit of a second gear to his game.
He isn't an all-out burner but has the speed to create plays at the second level. Mathews is a workhorse who has shown the ability to carry the load and be productive against eight- and nine-man fronts. He runs hard and displays natural balance and toughness in his game, but because of his upright running style, I can't see him generating many yards after contact or breaking many tackles in the NFL. Overall, he displays some natural running instincts and the lateral quickness to make defenders miss in tight areas and find creases at the line of scrimmage. However, his thin lower half and upright running style scare me too much to think he can carry the load at the next level. He looks more like of a solid No. 2 runner.
Click HERE to check out more scouting reports from the NFP!