Clyde Edwards-Helaire Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Runs behind his pads
Good knee bend
Can pick up yards after contact
Deadly jump cut
Moves in the open field
Strength to run through arm tackles
Picks up yards after contact
Very good balance
Good route runner
Smaller catch radius
Gets knocked back when defenders hit him square
Has limitations in blitz protection
Lacks elite speed - 4.60 40-yard dash
Summary: A lot of LSU Tigers were not widely known or highly touted draft prospects at this time a year ago. There were many breakout years during the Tigers' dream 2019 season and Edwards-Helaire had one of them. While Joe Burrow and the passing attack got all the attention, Edwards-Helaire ate up defenses from start to finish, providing a consistent rushing attack for LSU to close out victories and produce points. He averaged 6.6 yards per carry in 2019 for 1,414 yards with 16 touchdowns. He also had 55 receptions for 453 yards and a score.
There is a lot to like about Edwards-Helaire as a runner. He possesses a fantastic combination of traits like great vision, elusiveness, and superb feet. The elusiveness can be seen with the way he cuts around tacklers, spins away, and dodges tackles with shifty moves. His short compact build adds to the elusiveness, as defenders have a hard time grabbing a hold of him. His vision is phenomenal to see holes about to open, to find cut back lanes, and to read the flow of defenses behind his blockers. His superb feet are great to cut on a dime, provide him with excellent balance, and he has a tremendous jump cut to move laterally before darting downfield. Edwards-Helaire also has strength to his build to run through tackles and pick up yards after contact. He can't square up a defender and run them over, but he is strong enough to charge through arm tackles and finishes a lot of runs well.
In the passing game, Edwards-Helaire is a dynamic weapon. He is an excellent route-runner out of the backfield, and his shiftiness is very difficult to defend in the open field. His cutting ability and sudden bursts create separation from linebackers along with gaining yards after the catch. Edwards-Helaire is very dangerous in space once he gets the ball in his hands, as he weaves through defenders with his elusiveness. As a pro, he should be a real weapon for the passing game on wheel routes, screens, and check downs.
Being as short as he is, Edwards-Helaire has limitations in providing a target in the passing game for providing a smaller catch radius compared to other backs. He shows some blocking ability, but his size is going to be problematic in picking up blitzes from NFL linebackers. As a runner, Edwards-Helaire has a strong build, but at his size, he will get knocked backward when defenders hit him square. Edwards-Helaire also will get caught from behind in the open field in NFL because of his lack of elite speed. That was given numerical proof with a slower than expected and disappointing 40-yard dash time of 4.60 seconds at the combine.
Edwards-Helaire looks likely to be a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He could become a difference-maker as a three-down starter quickly in his NFL career.
Player Comparison: Brian Westbrook. Team sources suggested Westbrook as a comparison for Edwards-Helaire, and that makes perfect sense. They are similar size with great vision, cutting ability, and natural receiving skills. Edwards-Helaire could be a pro similar to Westbrook.