2013 NFL Draft: Johnathan Franklin Scouting Report

Jeff Gross

Could the UCLA star RB help the Rams replace Steven Jackson's production?

The Rams, after Steven Jackson and the team decided it would be mutually beneficial to part ways this off season, find themselves in the market for a running back (RB) in the 2013 NFL Draft. Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson were both drafted last year, but it's unlikely they will be able to carry the full load for the Rams running game this season.

Johnathan Franklin has been getting a lot of attention, after his great senior season at UCLA. The Rams recently brought him in for a visit. He's not the big, bruising type of RB many think the Rams will be after, but he could bring some very good qualities to the Rams offense.

Strengths

  • Good speed. Not elite, but he is fast.
  • Gets up to top speed quickly. Great acceleration out of cuts.
  • Runs north and south. Doesn't has much wasted motion.
  • Displays good patience on draw plays. Waits for his blocks to develop.
  • One cut runner with good vision. He sees the whole quickly, makes his cut and starts heading up the field.
  • Great balance.
  • Showed dramatic improvement in pass protection as a Senior.
  • His quickness combined with his solid hands will make him a threat in the passing game.

Weaknesses

  • 5' 10" 205 lbs. He is on the light side. He had to add weight to his frame for his senior season to get above the 200 lbs mark, but I'm not sure if he could add any more weight without sacrificing his speed and quickness.
  • Doesn't break many tackles. He is easy to take down once the defender gets his arms on him.
  • He has good speed, but he doesn't have elite top end speed. He lacks that final gear.
  • Not very elusive. Great on his first cut at the line of scrimmage, but in the open field, he doesn't have the moves to make many players miss.
  • Has had fumble problems at UCLA. Showed improvement with ball security his senior season, but I am still concerned.

Overall, I think Jonathan Franklin best fits in the NFL as a complementary back in a zone blocking scheme. A zone scheme will allow him to continue with his tremendous one cut running style, and his lack of physicality will not matter as much. I don't see him as a 250-300 carry a year RB in the NFL. He definitely fits best as a part of a RB by committee approach, but he could be the top option in a committee if put in the right situation.

I have him graded as a third round pick in the draft. If I'm the Rams, I wouldn't consider drafting Franklin, unless the team is fully convinced that Isaiah Pead simply will never develop.

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