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Prospect Profiles: C.J. Spiller

Spiller Eludes Another Tackle

Spiller Eludes Another Tackle

The next prospect up in my prospect profiles is a C.J. Spiller

I’m profiling C.J. Spiller now for the same reason that I already profiled Taylor Mays the “book” on Spiller is pretty cut and dry.

Before last season if you had told me the Giants were going to consider drafting a running back in the first round I would have thought it was a luxury pick, but the way the Running backs played last season it might be a need pick.

I said I was only going to profile I believed had a realistic chance of falling to the Giants  and I am.

Despite Spiller’s big name I think he could realistically fall down to number 15 in the draft (Moreno fell to 12 last year-Adrian Peterson was perhaps the consesus number one talent and fell to 7th). The reason this is possible is becuase the teams that are drafting very high that need a running back (Detroit, Washington, Seahawks, Browns) have much bigger needs than at Running back and will probably go DL, OL, or Quarterbacks.

Anyway…onto Spiller.

Measurables (combine numbers will be posted here when they become available)

C.J. Spiller stands at 5-11 and 195 pounds, and he is chiseled.

C.J. Spiller is also very fast and should run a very good 40 (probably a sub 4.4).

C.J. Spiller also spent four years in college, even though he could have gone into the draft early so if that’s you’re sort of thing that’s one more bonus point.

Spiller was also a VERY highly touted player  coming out of high school, but chose to go to Clemson because he liked it more as opposed to going to a traditional power school. I like this as well.


C.J. Spiller was Very productive while he was at Clemson and was very productive this past year.

Spiller is a dynamic return man, and Spiller scored either on the ground, through the air, or in the return game EVERY game this season.

Spiller also did not take a ton of wear and tear from handoffs this season or in his career.

He amassed 1,212 yards on 212 carries (5.6 yards per carry), he caught 36 passes for 503 yards he combined 16 touchdowns in these categories and added 6 return touchdowns and one passing touchdown to boot.

Spiller had 26 carries for 112 yards and a  touchdown vs high-ranking T.C.U. defense. He had 20 carries for 233 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground vs a good Georgia Tech team. And he absued traditonal power F.S.U. as well.

He was prodcutive vs good teams.

N.F.L. Draft Scout Says:

Inside: Although Spiller is known as a speed back, he has strong muscle definition throughout his frame and runs a lot tougher than most give him credit for. Most dangerous when starting inside and using his quick feet and vision to bounce outside, but isn’t afraid to take it north-south if that’s what’s needed. Keeps his pads down and legs moving through trash inside, often falling forward for extra yardage. Will be challenged to hang onto the ball when facing strong NFL linebackers.

Outside: Excels outside the tackles. Excellent vision and agility, with elite breakaway speed. Few safeties will ever get an angle on him once he’s past the linebackers. Has the speed to turn the corner. Patient running on stretch and zone plays, able to cutback and blow through a hole. Can press the line, then evade penetrating defenders by bouncing outside with quick feet. Able to leap diving defenders and stay in balance after landing. Does not shy away from contact at the second level — willing to plow through a tackle for an extra yard. Ball security can be an issue, as he gets a little loose with the ball when running outside. A potential Pro Bowl punt and kick returner because of his pure speed, willingness to attack the lane, quick cuts through traffic and superior elusiveness with the ball in his hands.

Breaking tackles: Runs with some lean; elusive and strong enough to avoid defenders in space and run through arm tackles. Quick stop-start move to freeze would-be tacklers or let them fly by if they leave their feet. Head fakes or just out-quicks most any defender in space — usually at full speed. Isn’t big enough to consistently get through the grasp of defensive tackles at the line or the wrap of linebackers, but gives good effort.

Blocking: Does not act like a track star playing football. Willing to stand up to ends and linebackers in pass protection, although he lacks the bulk to sustain and may struggle to stay strong against top pro linebackers. Will throw a shoulder into much bigger defenders to chip on a lineman before heading to the flat for a check-down pass. Gives effort to help out teammates running downfield.

Receiving: Versatile offensive weapon who catches passes over the middle or in the flat, but will also line up in the slot and on the outside. He’s lightning-quick and ultra-elusive after the catch, often leaving defenders standing still as he jukes them outside or inside. Blows by safeties in coverage, especially on out-and-up routes. Inconsistent hands as a receiver, though. Will catch most easy passes with his hands and high-point the ball in traffic, but he also has lapses of concentration and short-arm passes when expecting a big hit over the middle. Needs to be crisper coming in and out of his routes to sell them better at the next level. Solid hands on punt returns, and actually catches kickoffs at helmet-height with his hands.

Intangibles: Improved his strength and running toughness over the past couple of seasons to become a more complete running back. Looks to be a leader on offense without James Davis, quarterback Cullen Harper and wide receiver Aaron Kelly no longer on the squad. No major character issues or off-field incidents. Named to the ACC All-Academic team in 2008.

NFL Comparison: Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys

One of my favorite web sites says


  • Solid bulk
  • Extremely fast with gamebreaking ability
  • Instinctive back
  • Patient and sets up blockers
  • Great vision to identify cutback lanes at line of scrimmage and in open field
  • Very elusive and evades tacklers
  • Great spin move
  • Runs routes well out of backfield
  • Lots of experience catching the ball
  • Soft hands
  • Nice second gear to go distance
  • Breaks a good amount of tackles for his weight
  • Can contribute as a returner
  • Projects as an excellent No. 2, change-of-pace running back
  • Good YPC average despite weak offensive line
  • Weaknesses:

  • Won’t get that much bigger without losing speed
  • Not very assertive between the tackles
  • Generally shys from contact
  • Not very powerful
  • Not going to get much done on the goal line
  • Weak inside runner
  • Mediocre in pass protection
  • Not an explosive or exceptional punt returner
  • Cuts outside far too oftenSummary: Spiller profiles as a very explosive back, but isn’t a No. 1 in the NFL, which isn’t an entirely bad thing. He needs to work on his pass protection the most so he can really help out virtually every team on third down. With James Davis gone, he has a chance to show teams he can handle a greater workload in 2009.Player Comparison: Reggie Bush. Both backs love to kick it outside and have the elite athleticism to make everyone miss in the open field as great home-run threats.
  • Draft Board Insider Says:

    Scouting Report:  Spiller has really burst on the scene this year, after sharing the spotlight with James Davis last season.  Spiller is the home run threat in this draft, capable to taking it to the house on any given play, whether it’s rushing, receiving or returning kicks.  Spiller is super quick, makes great cuts, has tremendous acceleration, and pulls away from defenders in the open field.  He is able to get to top speed in just a few steps, and can decelerate and accelerate  very quickly.  He’s got soft hands in the passing game, and is an explosive kicker returner.  All that being said, Spiller lacks the bulk needed to be an every down back, doesn’t break tackles well, and struggles running tackle to tackle.  Because of this, he has a tendency to want to pop everything to the outside, and that costs him yards.

    Draft Status:  Spiller is going to run very well in shorts and already has the media wrapped around his finger, so his first round status should be locked down.  And if you don’t have any glaring needs, and want to add a player to complement a feature back and bolster a return game then by all means draft him.  But if you are going to draft him thinking you are going to get Chris Johnson expect to be disappointed.

    Final Analysis:  I fully expect to get the email about how Spiller is built just like Chris Johnson and the comparisons will go on from there.  The difference is, Johnson runs hard inside, and does not shy away from contact.  He didn’t in college and he still doesn’t.  Spiller doesn’t want to get hit.  You don’t have to watch much Clemson football to get that.  If he can develop a tougher mentality and his body can take the punishment, he could be a much more complete player. But for now, I see Spiller as a role player for a team.  Bigtime kick returner, part time running back and wide out.  Spiller is a smart player with good instincts and vision, but struggles in pass protection, and makes him more of a situational player for now.

    Reminds me of: Leon Washington, RB New York Jets-Spiller is going to have to find his niche’ sort of like what Washington has done.  They both have similar builds and running styles and need to be part of a platoon to be successful.  I think Spiller has a chance to be much more explosive and productive than Washington, but never a feature back.

    Big Board Rankings

    Mel Kiper Jr. 12th

    Draft Scout’s Big Board 7th

    On Draft Board Insider’s Big Board 8th

    Matt McGuire (Walterfootball) 23rd’s Big Board 8th

    Bartolis’  Summary And Final Verdict

    C.J. Spiller is a dynamic runner, receiver, and return man.

    C.J. Spiller is also probably not viewed as an elite or feature running back, in other words C.J. Spiller is not the next Chris Johnson, I don’t think in many people’s minds.

    Spiller is a stronger Reggie Bush.

    Spiller is great in open space and great at hitting the home run play, and he would complement another back very well. Spiller also has no off the field incidents and seems to be a man of high character.

    Spiller’s draft stock is all over the place-I saw in an article in SportingNews Magazine that at least one N.F.L. team had Spiller as their #1 rated overall prospect on their big board. (The article, obviously, wouldn’t say which teams scouts were lending them a hand in evaluating talent).

    Is C.J. Spiller the next Chris Johnson or Reggie Bush?

    I’m not sure. I think the one guy might be right he might be a better Leon Washington-very good at all facets of the game, but he’s not going to be a guy who runs a ton, but if he contribues like Washington does on Special Teams…who cares?

    Final Verdict

    I personally have, and always will be, about drafting Best Player Available within reason. What I mean is if the best player available when you draft isn’t a position that you are already stocked with young talent in (in other words if you’re the Giants and since 2007 you have spent draft picks on WR in the first three rounds on Smith, Manningham, Nicks, Barden, Beckum-then you dont need another young WR) or is not a QB when you already have a franchise one- draft him. But this holds for the first few rounds-in later rounds draft the best player available anyway.

    My reasoning is this:

    The N.F.L. game is a game of attrition.

    People get hurt, players get hold before you know it, and young players are said to have THREE YEARS Before they really help out.

    How do you know what needs you’ll have in three years? You don’t.

    Draft the players you think can play well in the N.F.L. and use Free Agency to sort out your “needs”.

    Jerry Reese likes to draft players who come from Big Time Schools and who have been productive-he also has shown a penchant to draft the best player available (Mario Manningham in 2008 at the end of the third round-Rhett Bomar last year) so I think it is very possible if Spiller is there he will draft him, and I think he SHOULD.

    Right now, C.J. Spiller is my personal Number One Overall Target (it’s very close though) for the New York Giants-if they remain at #15 and if other players I think will already be gone are gone.

    He not only is perhaps the best player available, but it’s not like the Giants running game dominated last year and Domenk Hixon is pretty good, but he’s not C.J. Spiller good  in the return game.

    Spiller would also add a receiving element out of the backfield the Giants haven’t had since Tiki Barber left.

    Bradshaw is a decent receiver out of the backfield, but he’s not C.J. Spiller.

    C.J. Spiller is a game-breaker in an N.F.L. game that is becoming all about big plays.

    He also has no character issues-and as a guy who knows that he’s going to go to the Pros made an All Academic Team. That’s impressive.

    Previous Profiles

    Taylor Mays

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    21 Responses to “Prospect Profiles: C.J. Spiller”

    1. BlueManFla says:

      This is a bit of a repeat post from one I made on the Taylor Mays prospect.

      This guy sounds like another Bradshaw, real shifty and can break a long one any time. SO why use the 1st pick for a running back when we have a lot of other problems IMHO. It’s true that Bradshaw was very fragile this year, but we will have backup next year with Ware and Brown.

      As far as return man goes, with the return team the Giants put on the field this year, this guy would not have been any better than Hixon. If no one blocks during a return, there aren’t many holes to slip through. That also applies to opur running troubles this year.

      I’d like to see us go for offensive lineman early in the draft. Most of the problems with our run game this year was also because we weren’t getting holes opened up for the backs.

      The mock draft I like best is at the following site.

      I like the prospects concept you have come up with and the format. Nice to get different opinions from various sources on how the propects project to the next level.

      • was bradshaw really fragile this year?

        If so – I’ll take 11 guys built with that kind of heart to play through 2 broken feet and ankles and still play with the level of athleticism and spark he provided… any ol day of the week.

        that said, with a better o-line and perhaps a better conception of how best to use these RB’s from Gilbrides perspective and of course better execution — the backs we have are fine.

        Need to concentrate more on protection and creating gaps than running through them this offseason

    2. I’m not opposed to taking an Offensive linemen (if the value is right) at #15.

      I just have a different philosophy than it appears you have.

      Mine is just Best Player Available.

      Spiller is much more dynamic than Bradshaw as well.

      I think you should be drafting for players-not needs.

      Teams needs change year to year (who would have thougth we would have needed OL and DL)

      so to me grab teh best player, accumulate talent—

      Use F.A to fill your needs.

      If anything you should be trying to predict what you’ll need in two years not next year, rarely Rookies make signifanct impacts (few exceptions though like RB and LB)

      Different strokes for different folks though.

      That web stie I went too doesn’t have S Earl Thomas though (I think top 15-20 pick). unless I missed him.

    3. BlueManFla says:

      I apologize if it appeared I was arguing with you. That wasn’t my intent. Love the stuff you put on here.

      I was just offering my outlook on why the run game was so bad last year.

      Thats why that draft site looked so good to me. They addressed Tackle, Guard, and Center on the offensive line, inside and outside linebackers, and another DB. With the extra DB, Ross could continue to mature at the safety spot next year. I think that would be one of our strenths with him and KP back there. God knows it has to be better than Rouse and Johnson.

      You were right about Thomas though. Not listed. Must have slipped through the cracks, although he did declare on the date that site was supposed to be last updated, so maybe that was why.

    4. Chris says:

      There will be quite a few good choices at LB and secondary by the 15th pick. I’d rather draft for need and depend on the backs we have.

    5. twerp says:

      Spiller seems like a more well rounded version of Bradshaw, which I find enticing. Let’s face it, BJ isn’t the same, Bradshaw is a liability when it comes to pass catching and blocking, and Brown is a question mark. I wouldn’t be upset if Spiller’s name is called #15.

    6. Kevin says:

      I went to Clemson for four years and saw Spiller play every game at Death Valley, and I have never seen a player as explosive and dynamic in every aspect of the game as him. The Giants are not a fast team by any means. Sure Bradshaw has got some speed, but even he is a second-tier speed back, and definitely no Reggie Bush/Leon Washington…whereas I believe Spiller is better than both. He is better at running between the tackles than most give him credit for. He does not shy away from contact, and when he does get hit, he has an incredible ability to bounce off and change direction while maintaining balance. Split out wide, he brings dependability, speed, and a big play threat every time he touches the ball. Like I said before, our team is not fast, and this game is only getting faster, especially the defenses in the NFC East. Spiller would go a very long way in improving our offense, and actually take a lot of the pressure off of our offensive line just by his escapability and elusiveness alone. His return game is a bonus one can not overlook. He will surely be a pro-bowler for special teams. I personally agree, Spiller would be my personal number one pick for the Giants, followed closely by Rolando McClain. However, I’m not sure either will fall to 15.

    7. Justin says:

      The Giants can not afford to go with an offensive pick in the first round….or anywhere within the first three rounds…….the problems this past season were with the defense NOT with the offense. Yes we had some problems running the ball but Give Jacobs and Bradshaw a chance before writing them off…..

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