Rookie Profile – Isaiah Spiller

Isaiah Spiller - RB - Texas A&M

Welcome to the rookie profile for Isaiah Spiller. Spiller has been considered a top Running Back prospect for the NFL since his Freshman campaign. He impressed early and often at Texas A&M and has showcased as a three-down workhorse with 1149+ yards on 200+ touches all three years. It’s no surprise that Spiller declared for the NFL draft early following his Junior season. 

Measurables

Height: 6′ 0″

Weight: 217 lbs

Age: 21

40-yard dash: DNP

3-cone drill: DNP

20-yard shuttle: DNP

Vertical Jump: 30″

Broad Jump: 114″

Bench Press: DNP

College Stats

Notable Headlines

Spiller committed to Texas A&M as a high 4-star recruit out of the state of Texas. He immediately filled the role as the lead back in the offense as a true freshman, filling the shoes of previous A&M running back and current Cincinnati Bengal, Trayveon Williams. Kellen Mond was Spiller’s only real competition for rushing attempts. Despite the competition, Spiller had 1149 all-purpose yards, including 29 receptions, and good enough to earn him First Team All-SEC honors. Following his freshman year, Spiller took full control of the backfield with over 1000 yards rushing, and another 193 through the air. This allowed veteran quarterback, Kellen Mond, to be a true drop-back passer and assisted in leading the Aggies to a 4th overall rank in the AP poll and an Orange Bowl win.

This past season, and Spiller’s Junior season, there was more of a 1-2 punch approach in A&M’s rushing attack. Another future presumed NFL back in Devon Achane carved out a significant role in the backfield and looked very impressive doing so. Regardless, Spiller maintained the 1a role to Achane’s 1b. Regardless of the additional split in work, Spiller still eclipsed 1,000 yards and demonstrated his three-down ability once again with 25 receptions. Following this performance, Spiller decided he had put enough on tape to make his case for the NFL Draft. And it’s clear that the Aggies had a spoil of riches at the running back position this past season.

Scouting Report

Positives

Isaiah Spiller has true prototypical size at 6’1”, 215 lbs. He pairs that with a 3 down workhorse skillset with almost 1,000 yards on the ground and 20+ receptions every season. On top of the measurables and stats, Spiller puts his skill set on display on tape. He possesses a good combination of vision and burst where he consistently identifies the hole at the line of scrimmage and effectively accelerates through it. He has a good habit of being patient and allowing his offensive line to set up in front of him. Once the blocks are set up in front of him, he has a good awareness to further manipulate defenders at the second level.

Spiller is a very physical back that can do a lot of damage between the tackles. He displays solid contact balance and power, consistently keeping his legs churning and pushing the pile. While he’s a powerful back, he is also shifty and can create missed tackles. With quick footwork and fluid movements, he makes defenders miss and can change direction well for a running back of his size. 

As a physical back that does most of his work in between the tackles, he can still work out in space effectively. He has average speed for a running back where he was able to create explosive plays in college when he hit the open field.

Negatives

While Spiller was able to hold off Devon Achane as the 1a in the Aggies backfield, Achane was more efficient with his touches. Achane pops when watching Texas A&M film and makes you wonder who the better running back is in the backfield. That being said, that debate is more of a debate between the 2022 and 2023 running back classes.

As mentioned, speed is lacking for Spiller. He was able to create explosive plays and outrun linebackers, but generally get caught by faster defensive backs. But it is concerning that the explosive plays won’t translate to the next level where everyone on the field is faster. Additionally, pass protection is an area of improvement for Spiller. He is a physical runner and that translates to pass pro, but he needs to improve his technique to be more effective and consistent. Finally, Spiller ran behind some solid offensive lines at A&M and benefited from being allowed to be patient behind said offensive line. He is going to have to show he can consistently be decisive depending on his landing spot as he may not be blessed with the same offensive line talent.

Pre Draft Analysis

Expected Draft Capital- Round 2

Landing Spots

While the 2022 class is solid, it’s not comparable to the last couple of classes that we were blessed with. While Spiller is in the conversation for the RB1 position for this draft class, there isn’t a clear leader in the running back group. Spiller can walk in day one as the workhorse for a team and would benefit early on from an already established offensive line in front of him. Ideal teams that come to mind would be the Arizona Cardinals (depending on Conner and Edmonds resigning), Tampa Buccaneers (depending on Ronald Jones and Fournette resigning), or the Miami Dolphins. 

Post Draft Analysis

Draft Capital- Round 3, Pick 34

Landing Spot

Isaiah Spiller landing in Los Angeles with the Chargers is an interesting one because they used (albeit late) Day 2 draft capital on running back Isaiah Spiller with Austin Ekeler already in place. But the team has been looking for a good compliment to Ekeler since Melvin Gordon left in 2019. They have gone through Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley, and Larry Rountree, but have not found that true compliment to Ekeler. Spiller looks to be that guy that can be the thunder to Ekeler’s lightning. Ekeler is getting up there in age (26), and the team wants to preserve his contribution to the team as much as possible. While Ekeler has been good in the running game between the tackles, Spiller fits that mold a lot more and still has tread on the tires to take the beating. Spiller can also be the power back at the goal line while still providing pass-catching ability and not pigeonholing the team into a one-dimensional offense when one of the running backs is on the field. While Spiller won’t take a bulk of the running back touches, this backfield could be close to a 60/40 split and both running backs being top 24 at their position.

Fantasy Impact

Isaiah Spiller and Austin Ekeler are part of an explosive offense that could support two top 24 running backs in fantasy. Ekeler is getting older and it would make sense that the team wants him to be as close to 100% throughout the last two years of his contract, especially with playoff aspirations. Spiller profiles as the bruiser type runner, but also has pass-catching skills to be viable in both facets of the game. In dynasty, he’s a great target at the top of the 2nd round as this class gets really thin at that point. And Spiller has a path forward to earn playing time throughout his career as Ekeler is on the downturn of his career as Spiller is just starting out Although, it probably will take him some time and patience for Spiller to grow into the role. In redraft, it’s probably best to avoid the situation and see how it plays out before taking a risk on him. If he does earn a bigger role than most people expect, you will probably be able to grab him off the waiver wire.

 

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Image Credit: Maria Lysaker – USA TODAY Sports