I've been waiting to write a draft profile on Temple FB Evan Rodriguez for a while, and later this morning you can see my full report on SB Nation- Atlanta. However, I wanted to take a look at what a player like Rodriguez could mean to the Panthers because I think he's the picture of a player both Ron Rivera and Rob Chudzinski could want.
Granted, if Carolina ends up signing Mike Tolbert today much of the value Rodriguez brings to the table will be spoken for, but he's a player I really, really like- whether he winds up in a Panthers' uniform, or not.
Since Mike Alstott retired we haven't really seen offensive, multi-faceted FBs being utilized in the NFL. Sure, we'll see a handful of plays a year, but nobody has been the focal point for any team the way Allstott was. In 2011 for the Temple Owls it was Evan Rodriguez who became a vital part to the team's offense, and in many ways he became the model for where we could see the position in the NFL moving forward.
More after the jump
Despite being 6'1", 239 lbs he isn't really a bruising, North-South runner. Rather, Rodriguez is spry, athletic and quick. In Indianapolis he posted a 4.58 in the 40 yard dash, and was in the upper echelon of all running backs in his shuttle and cone times. What's remarkable about him is not only that he's a deadly receiver out of the backfield (479 yards on 35 catches), but the fact he's a devestating lead blocker in the running game. While he isn't one to carry the ball himself, he is a player who can get in space and dole out huge hits on linebackers and safeties. One of the best examples of his ability was in a game against Miami (OH) last year.
At times you can see Rodriguez standing up a defensive end in a single block situation. His form isn't always perfect, but he has a real spark to him and a knack to get himself involved.
Evan Rodriguez will likely be a 4th or 5th round pick, but I think he's a player the Panthers should keep on their radar. Not only as a multi-faceted offensive tool, but I believe he could be a standout special teams player very quickly.