Rookie Profile – Jerrion Ealy

Jerrion Ealy - RB - Ole Miss

Welcome to the rookie profile for Jerrion Ealy. For the baseball fans out there, you have probably heard of Ealy before. And rightly so as he was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2019 MLB Draft. Ealy however turned his back on the offer to focus on his football career.

Measurables

Height: 5′ 8″

Weight: 189 lbs

Age: 22

40-yard dash: 4.52s

3-cone drill: DNP

20-yard shuttle: DNP

Vertical Jump: 34.5″

Broad Jump: 128″

Bench Press: DNP

College Stats

Notable Headlines

Ealy left high school with quite the resume as he was a five-star prospect from all three of the major scouting services. He was ranked the third-best running back and the 29th best player in the Country. In the Under Armour All-American game, it was Ealy who was named as the MVP. Ealy had 13 offers including Alabama, Clemson, and Michigan however, the Mississippi native opted for Ole Miss knowing he’d likely be their immediate starter.

In Ealy’s freshman season he started 13 games and rushed for 722 yards and 6 touchdowns on 104 attempts (6.9 yards per attempt). He also showed his capabilities in the receiving game as he hauled in 20 receptions for 172 yards and a further touchdown. After a good start to life at Ole Miss, he was honored on the True Freshman All-American team and was named on the Second Team All-SEC. He also received an honorable mention on the Freshman All-American roster via PFF.

This past season has seen Ealy show consistency once again with another 700+ yard season in the ground game, as he put up 770 yards and rushed into the end zone five times. He once again was involved in the passing game as he put up 218 yards for two touchdowns. He was part of an Ole Miss team that reached the Sugar Bowl this year, losing out to Baylor. For a third consecutive year, Ealy received Second Team All-SEC honors.

Ealy was also used as a kick returner throughout his college career and produced good numbers on the stats sheet as he returned for 838 yards and two visits to the house from 33 attempts. An average of 25.4 yards per attempt.

Scouting Report

Positives

Ealy is an elusive back and his ability to make defenders miss is exceptional. If you watch the tape on him, you’ll notice this immediately. He has a great juke move and a good change of direction. He turns the corner and will accelerate nicely with excellent vision to cut or put on the brakes and get going again. His acceleration is rapid and he will hit top speed very quickly and maintain it.

Ealy is a true dual-threat back and will be a safety option in the passing game for his Quarterback to dump it off, and has the ability to run some nice routes. It’s unlikely that he will be used as a bell-cow back, but he will be a great option on third down for NFL teams. Something that the NFL scouts will be keen on given that he will keep opposing defenders guessing as he can get involved in the run or the air game.

An asset of Ealy’s game is his speed; in high school, he set multiple track records. Combining his electric speed with excellent footwork, lateral agility, and an insane burst of speed makes him a threat. While his size is a big disadvantage this is something that helps him hit lanes that other running backs wouldn’t be able to hit. And his excellent agility helps him become a natural elusive back in the open field and he will make defenders miss. The explosiveness that Ealy has is possibly one of the best in the draft class at running back, he demonstrates patience behind the line of scrimmage to wait for holes to develop, and once they do, he will hit this like a bullet train with ridiculous acceleration and burst of speed.

Negatives

Ealy’s size is a fairly obvious weakness when assessing him, and even though we’ve seen in recent years that size doesn’t matter as J.K. Dobbins (5’9) D’Andre Swift (5’8) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (5’7) have proved to be top draft talents. However, it will still be viewed as a huge weakness by NFL scouts. His size will make it difficult for him to break off NFL linebackers and he will get beat up by defensive ends.

I know it sounds negative based on his size however it’s not all doom and gloom. Earlier I compared Ealy to the Chargers running back Austin Ekeler. Ekeler is a player that has uses his size disadvantage to work in his favor and, in the past couple of seasons, he’s established himself as one of the best running backs in the NFL – Ealy would do very well to replicate Ekeler’s approach.

Following on with the theme of size, this next attribute is largely due to his smaller frame. He is not reliable in the pass blocking game whatsoever. All too often you will see Ealy get bowled over by defenders and instantly invites pressure on his Quarterback.

Frustratingly for me, he has very good hands and has proved that as he has never dropped a pass. However, he wasn’t used enough in this part of the game for my liking. He had 67 receptions across his college career at an average of 8.1 yards per attempt and didn’t drop anything. Hopefully, this is a part of his game NFL coaches will tap into and look to get used a lot more.

Pre Draft Analysis

Expected Draft Capital- Round 5

Landing Spots

Personally, I like Ealy and if I were an NFL scout, I’d be happy to take a chance on him a little higher than the 5th round projection. Then again this is probably why I’m not on a multi-million dollar salary to make these kinds of decisions. His size may be a worry but for me, his skills and raw talent would tempt me, a potential diamond in the rough in the fifth round.

A fit that I like for him is the Tennessee Titans. As I have touched on, Ealy isn’t an every-down back. And with the Titans having one of the best, if not the best in the business with Derrick Henry as their bell-cow back, Ealy would make a great complimentary piece to the Titans offense.

Another team in need of a third-down back is the Seattle Seahawks. To put it bluntly, their backfield has been a mess all season until the last few weeks of the season when Rashaad Penny stepped up and impressed. Chris Carson and Travis Homer’s contracts are set to expire at the end of the season and I doubt both of them will be extended. Carson’s lingering issues will be somewhat of a concern for the Seahawks. Whilst the running back position will not be at the top of the agenda I think we’ll see them target a running back where I have Ealy projected to go off the board.

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Image Credit: Justin Ford – USA TODAY Sports