Dameon Pierce - RB - Florida
Welcome to the rookie profile for Dameon Pierce. Pierce has been a four-year contributor for the Florida Gators. Florida has struggled to produce productive running backs in both college and the NFL in recent years. The Gators have failed to produce a 1,000-yard rusher from their backfield in 5+ years despite Lamical Perine, Dameon Pierce, and former 5-star Demarkcus Bowman being a part of their backfield. Pierce looks to become the first successful Florida running back in recent years to enter the NFL.
Height: 6′ 3″
Weight: 220 lbs
40-yard dash: 4.89s
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vertical Jump: DNP
Broad Jump: DNP
Bench Press: DNP
Pierce graduated high school as a 4-star recruit per 247Sports and ] was a good size of 5’11”, 205lbs. He was a consistent contributor to the Gators’ backfield all four years in college, even with Lamical Perine leading the backfield in both 2018 and 2019. Over the past 5+ years, Florida has struggled to establish a true workhorse running back, and that was no exception during Pierce’s tenure. Despite only starting for the Gators during his Junior year, he led all running backs in carries and yards in both of his final two seasons (Emory Jones, quarterback, had more yards rushing than Pierce in 2021). In his final two years, he contributed back to back 500 yard rushing seasons and took a step forward in the receiving game with 17+ receptions. Those aren’t huge numbers and are not quite lead-back numbers. He showed flashes on tape as a solid contributor and even electric abilities as a runner and receiver at times, but the Florida Gators regularly split carries across the backfield.
After his senior season, Pierce decided to test the NFL waters and declared for the NFL Draft. He delivered very pedestrian numbers testing with a 4.59 40-yard dash, 98.2 Speed Score (57th percentile), and a 118.2 Burst Score (48th percentile). Despite a fairly average combine, he did measure in at 5’10”, 218lbs, a great size to hold up in the NFL.
Dameon Pierce is like a bowling ball when he gets going downhill. He possesses great contact balance and strength and is more than willing to lower his shoulder and bounce off defenders. Arm tackles are nothing to him as he consistently runs through them with a powerful lower body and consistently keeps his legs churning. At the line of scrimmage, he has really good burst and can get to the edge effectively, displaying that trait against stout defenses like Georgia and Alabama. He has good footwork and can flip the field effectively, although he does lose a bit too much speed when making sharp cuts. And for a running back of his size and playstyle, he can prove to be elusive in both the open field and in the teeth of the defense with slight jukes and sidesteps to make defenders miss. In pass protection, his size and physicality come in full form as he is more than willing, but could use some refining in his technique.
Speed is one of the largest concerns regarding Dameon Pierce. He has decent burst, but once he gets to the open field, he can get caught pretty quick. He has enough burst/speed to make explosive plays at the college level, but there is concern those explosive plays won’t make it the 20-30 yards they did in college at the next level. Additionally, he has some inconsistencies with his vision at the line of scrimmage. Occasionally he will miss obvious cutback lanes or overestimate his speed to get to the outside before a hole closes up, leading to shorter gains than what was available. Pierce showed to be a nice all-around back but never gave us a season with a large workload. That will most likely be his role at the next level as he isn’t overly elite in any particular category but is a very solid and all-around running back.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Round 6
Pierce showed success against the top competition at the collegiate level in the SEC, but still never became a workhorse for his offense. Maybe that was because of the coaching decisions and not necessarily his talent, but his game in the NFL doesn’t translate to a 3 down back. He has the skills to be an interim 3 down back while there are injuries, but realistically, Pierce is a good #2 or #3 in a running back by committee. The Miami Dolphins could be a great fit for Pierce’s skillset. He would work in with Edmonds and Mostert and provide a power-back style to that offense. Mostert is bound to miss some time and Pierce is a great option to step in and take more carries when needed. Additionally, the San Francisco 49ers would be another option as well late in the draft. The 49ers appear to have their RB1 locked up in Elijah Mitchell, but they could use some depth behind him as the 49ers love to have a stable of running backs to sub in at a moment’s notice. Additionally, Pierce would be a great fit for the outside zone running scheme of both offenses.
Post Draft Analysis
Houston Texans- Round 4, Pick 2
The Houston Texans have needs across their entire roster. The team is in full rebuild mode but decided to acquire Dameon Pierce at the top of the fourth round of the NFL Draft.. Despite the holes across the roster, the Texans made it a point to address the offense and add weapons. These picks could do a lot to sure up the backfield and give Davis Mills a realistic chance to prove himself as the quarterback that deserves to take over the Texans as the face of the franchise. Or this could be setting up for the future quarterback that they draft in 2023. For Pierce, it’s a great spot as there is minimal if not no competition for touches. Marlon Mack is coming off an achilles tear which is a notoriously difficult injury to come back from full strength. Rex Burkhead had an impressive run at the end of 2022 but is already 31 years old.
Pierce walks into the Texans backfield as the most obvious choice to be the lead back. He was never a workhorse at Florida, and the Texans will most likely deploy him within a running back by a committee. Regardless, he has every reason to take the lion’s share of touches as he is versatile enough to run between the tackles or receive out of the backfield, on top of his pass protection ability. On top of his versatility, the becoming the lead back over Marlon Mack off an achilles injury and 31-year-old Rex Burkhead is not necessarily an impossible hill to climb. He’s an instant impact player that can help in multiple areas of the offense. With the assumed volume and path to fantasy relevancy, he’s a safe pick at the top of the 2nd round in dynasty rookie drafts or a mid-late round dart throw in redraft leagues.
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Image Credit: Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports