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T.J. Yeldon | Running Back

Team: Alabama Crimson Tide
Ht / Wt:  6'2" / 221

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Jaguars selected Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon with the No. 36 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft.
Yeldon (6'1/226) outplayed Eddie Lacy as a true freshman before emerging as Alabama's lead back as a sophomore and junior, finishing his career with 3,322 yards and 37 TDs on 576 carries (5.77 YPC), along with 46 catches. Yeldon ran 4.61 at the Combine, but improved to 4.52/4.53 at his Pro Day. A downhill zone runner with smooth, gliding foot movement, Yeldon has some Le'Veon Bell to his game. He's a "singles and doubles" rather than home-run hitter and one of the top pass-protecting backs in this draft. Yeldon gained five-plus yards on 46 percent of his 2014 carries, the highest rate in this year's class despite facing the toughest schedule. He has all the tools of an NFL every-down back. Yeldon is set up for immediate fantasy success as the Jags' new feature back, pushing Denard Robinson into a change-of-pace role and Toby Gerhart to H-back. Fri, May 1, 2015 07:28:00 PM

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CBS Sports' Rob Rang "expect[s] there to be at least five backs drafted Friday."

He's referring to tonight's Day 2, covering Rounds 2-3. La Canfora expects Indiana's Tevin Coleman, Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah, Alabama's T.J. Yeldon, Miami's Duke Johnson and Minnesota's David Cobb to hear their names called at some point this evening. He also anticipates a run on receivers, predicting that perhaps 10 will be taken on Day 2. Of that group, Rang expects Oklahoma's Dorial Green-Beckham, Arizona State's Jaelen Strong, Ohio State's Devin Smith and Michigan's Devin Funchess to lead the charge.
Source: CBS Sports
Fri, May 1, 2015 06:57:00 PM

CBS Sports' Dane Brugler believes Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon could be the third back off the board, to the Jaguars at No.36.

"The Jaguars want to address the running back depth chart at some point in the draft and it might surprise some to see Yeldon as the third back drafted," Brugler wrote. The Alabama prospect visited the Jaguars in mid April, and could be a fit for offensive coordinator Greg Olson's offense. The 6-foot-1, 226-pound Yeldon is effective in the run game and the passing game, with good hands out of the backfield.
Source: CBS Sports
Fri, May 1, 2015 03:52:00 PM

"If the Cowboys are looking for a replication of DeMarco Murray then they should take [Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon] in the second or third round," a scout told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"I thought he was a hell of a runner, especially on the perimeter," another scout said. "On screens he's got great stop and start. He'll overmatch some DBs with his strength." Yeldon had 576 carries for 3,322 yards (5.8 average) and 37 scores with 46 receptions at Alabama. Of course, he was platooned, which concerns one scout: "He was not their best back (in 2014). Derrick Henry, the sophomore, was. He's not as good as Lacy, but he's better than (Mark) Ingram. Yeldon is really strong and has excellent balance, and he has really good hands. But they always catch him."
Wed, Apr 29, 2015 04:49:00 PM

Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon is "a narrow-based runner who isn't as powerful as his size (6-foot-1, 226 pounds) might indicate," notes ESPN's Todd McShay.

McShay ranks Yeldon No. 65 overall in the class, basically a mid-Day 2 pick. "He'll break a few tackles, but he isn't an overpowering runner," McShay wrote. "Where he excels is with his lateral agility and acceleration off his cuts. So many times on tape I'd see him make a quick jump cut in the backfield to elude a defender and then explode through the hole. I think he can play in either a power O or zone-blocking running scheme, as he's patient, waits for blocks to develop and does a good job of finding cutback lanes." Yeldon has been compared to Le'Veon Bell and Frank Gore. He's outstanding near the goal line.
Thu, Apr 23, 2015 07:05:00 PM

ESPN's K.C. Joyner writes that Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon "is known for his top-end speed and breakaway ability, but his goal-line conversion ability is a skill that sets him apart."

Yeldon cashed in seven touchdowns on nine rushes from at or inside the 2-yard line in 2014. "This showing was not an anomaly, as he had seven touchdowns in eight rush attempts in that scenario in 2013," Joyner wrote. "Add those seasons together and it equates to an 82.3 percent touchdown conversion rate. To put this total into perspective, note that according to ESPN Stats & Information, college rushers converted carries from at or inside the 2-yard line into a touchdown an average of 59.3 percent of the time last year. This shows Yeldon is that rare type of back who can convert drives into six points a very high percentage of the time." Yeldon, compared to Le'Veon Bell and Frank Gore, will hear his name called on Day 2.
Sat, Apr 18, 2015 09:54:00 PM

NFL Films' Greg Cosell compares Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon to Frank Gore.

Cosell has arguably been Yeldon's biggest fan amongst analysts during the draft process. "Yeldon picks and slides through traffic with vision, quick feet," Cosell said. "Critical skills in NFL. Like Frank Gore." Cosell added that Yeldon "bounces outside too often, expecting to outrun people," a trait that must be worked on in the NFL, where such predilections will lead to lost yardage. Yeldon, also compared to Le'Veon Bell, will hear his name called on Day 2.
Wed, Apr 15, 2015 07:43:00 PM's Frank Cooney writes that Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon "puts together a ridiculous combination of stops, starts, jump-cuts and bursts that leave defenders grasping at air."

"His size is impressive, rounded off at 6-foot-1, 226, although he should not be mistaken as a tough, inside runner just because he is big (think Michael Bush)," Cooney wrote. "He also doesn't have a quick shift to a higher gear, which may mean that his whole dance routine is out of necessity." When asked to identify his best traits, Yeldon answered: "I have good vision, good cutting ability. I can catch the ball out of the backfield. I can split out wide and catch the ball. It just depends on how somebody wants to use me in their offense." Concluded Cooney: "Yeldon is neither fast nor powerful as a runner, but is so nifty he probably would star in touch tackle. He is a good receiver, for those teams looking for a medium fast, medium tough, big elusive running back that can catch."
Source: CBS Sports
Tue, Apr 14, 2015 09:27:00 AM

Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon visited the Jaguars at the club's facility Wednesday.

"Yeldon could be exactly what the Jaguars need, and available at the right time in the draft to get him," noted NFL Media. Jacksonville desperately needs a running back and isn't going to take one in Round 1 barring a blockbuster move down the board. They are in a nice position to pick the best remaining runner with the No. 36 pick, however. NFL Media analyst Charles Davis reported recently that he is "hearing more and more buzz" about Yeldon.
Wed, Apr 8, 2015 08:04:00 PM

NFL Media analyst Charles Davis is "hearing more and more buzz" about Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon.

"The thing is, Yeldon has often been left out of discussions about the top running backs in the draft," Davis wrote. "I think the team that lands him in the middle rounds will be very happy with the value he provides, though. He's a talented rusher with good receiving ability." NFL Media colleague Bucky Brooks agrees, seeing the 6-foot-2, 221-pound Yeldon as the undervalued RB in this years' class. "Yeldon is productive, and I was on hand last month for his pro day, where he ran very well," Davis wrote. "The stopwatches I saw had him in the mid-4.4s, a big improvement from his NFL Scouting Combine 40 (4.61)."
Wed, Apr 8, 2015 01:23:00 AM

NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks notes that several scouts/directors believe Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon is the "undervalued" RB in this years' class.

The 6-foot-2, 221-pound Yeldon has quietly lead Alabama in rushing for the second season in a row, and has also been a weapon on third-down in the passing game. Whether catching passes or providing sound pass-protection, Yeldon already has a leg up on some of his competition, with ability to block. Brooks added in another tweet, that multiple evaluators compared Yeldon's "playing style" (skills and traits) to "Pro Bowl RB Le'Veon Bell."
Wed, Mar 18, 2015 02:06:00 PM

There is a "bit of buzz" Alabama's T.J. Yeldon could be the second RB selected in the 2015 draft, according to Josh Norris.

Melvin Gordon is often linked in the same tier as Todd Gurley, but we have consistently said the latter is in a class of his own. Gordon will likely be viewed in the same group as Yeldon, Jay Ajayi, Ameer Abdullah and others. Yeldon is a one gear runner but consistently falls forward, is smooth and flashes explosion when the goal line is in sight.
Wed, Mar 18, 2015 10:03:00 AM

Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon might be a better fit as a "true foundation back" in the NFL than Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, according to NFL Films' Greg Cosell.

"The guy I really like (is) T.J. Yeldon out of Alabama," said Cosell. "I think his running style and his mentality is well suited to the NFL. He has a very intuitive feel to attack downhill with conviction, and he has great ability to work effectively between the tackles. He's very compact in his movement and he gets through small cracks. That is so critical in the NFL for backs, to be able to get through small cracks at the point of attack." We agree with a lot of what Cosell says, but we're not with him on this one. As much as he's high on Yeldon, it seems he's down on Gordon, a viewpoint we don't share. Concerning Yeldon, we see a smooth runner with burst who has a delightful habit of always falling forward on contact. He's a mid- second-rounder.
Thu, Mar 5, 2015 12:45:00 AM

An NFL scout told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon "probably has the best feet of any back in the draft."

"He'll go right around 30, 35," said the scout. "He and [Melvin] Gordon will fight for first back [taken]." The 6-foot-2, 221-pound Yeldon ran a highly mediocre 4.61 forty at the combine. "He's different than [Eddie] Lacy," one scout said. "Lacy's more power. This guy can run with power, but he also has some moves. I'd take Lacy over him. Only question I have on Yeldon, is he beat to hell and back? All those guys down there (Alabama) get beat up." In college, Yeldon had 576 carries for 3,322 yards (5.8) and 37 scores, adding 46 catches.
Sun, Mar 1, 2015 10:33:00 PM

NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt observed that Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon "didn't jump out at you or look special in the [combine] drills."

"He didn't appear to have very good change-of-direction ability while running," Brandt wrote. "And I know Alabama backs of late have missed (Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson) in their first few pro seasons more than they've hit (Eddie Lacy). But I still like Yeldon, who racked up 3,322 yards and averaged 5.8 yards per carry in three years at Alabama, to be a pretty good NFL player. I especially like that he had a history of making big plays when the Crimson Tide really needed it; he was a lock to convert on third down. He catches the ball well enough (46 receptions for 494 yards and two scores) that he can be in on all three downs, no matter what the situation is." That we know of, the 6-foot-2, 221-pound Yeldon has met with the Seahawks, Eagles, Steelers and Jaguars. Yeldon battled hamstring and ankle injuries throughout the season, but says that he is now completely healthy.
Sun, Mar 1, 2015 02:18:00 PM