Bucky Irving - RB - Oregon

Bucky Irving came out of high school as a fairly notable name and produced right out of the gate at Minnesota. He quickly transferred to Oregon for his sophomore and junior seasons where he was productive on the ground and through the air. His tenure at Oregon propelled him into the conversation as a legitimate NFL Draft Prospect.

Measurables

Height: 5′ 9″

Weight: 192 lbs

Age: 21

40-yard dash: 4.55s

3-cone drill: DNP

20-yard shuttle: DNP

Vertical Jump: 29.5″

Broad Jump: 9’7″

Bench Press: DNP

*age is at the start of player’s rookie year

College Stats

Rushing & Receiving Table
RushingReceivingScrimmage
YearSchoolConfClassPosGAttYdsAvgTDRecYdsAvgTDPlaysYdsAvgTD
*2021MinnesotaBig TenFRRB121336995.348739.101417725.54
*2022OregonPac-12SO1315610586.85312999.6318713577.38
*2023OregonPac-12JRRB1418611806.311564137.4224215936.613
CareerOverall47529376.220957858.3557037226.525
Minnesota1336995.348739.101417725.54
Oregon34222386.516877128.2542929506.921
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 2/25/2024.

Notable Headlines

Irving committed to the Minnesota Golden Gophers out of high school as a mid-4-star recruit per 247Sports. That season, long-time workhorse for Minnesota, Mohamed Ibrahim went down with an Achilles tear. That unfortunate injury opened up an opportunity for Irving as a true freshman where he was a significant part of a three-headed running back committee that also included Ky Thomas and Treyson Potts. With Ibrahim returning the following season and fully recovered from his injury, it made sense for Bucky to parlay his production as a freshman into a shot at a starting role as a sophomore elsewhere. He did just that as he transferred to the Oregon Ducks.

At Oregon, he led the team in most major rushing categories as part of a 1-2 punch with Noah Whittington. Irving also produced significantly in the receiving game with 30 receptions and almost 300 yards. He continued his ascension as a junior where he produced another 1,000+ yard rushing season and became even more involved as a receiver. He had over 60 targets, hauling in 55 for almost 400 receiving yards. His true junior season was good enough to earn Second-Team All-Pac-12 Honors before declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft.

Scouting Report

Positives

Irving showed to be a versatile player during his tenure at college – demonstrating his ability to be an effective rusher and a significant part of the receiving game both out of the backfield and out wide. His receiving ability stands out as he shows reliable hands, an ability to handle a high receiving volume, and an excellent ability to create after the catch, very similar to how he creates as a rusher. Bucky is one of the smaller backs in this class, but you wouldn’t have guessed it by his running style. He isn’t afraid to initiate contact, consistently keep his legs churning, and fall forward to finish runs. 

Not only can he push piles at his size, but he also consistently runs through tackles with great lower-body strength. As his size would suggest, he was a forced missed tackle machine. Consistently creating missed tackles all over the field and picking up plus yardage. His burst, lateral mobility, and ability to change direction with ease all play a big part in his elusiveness.

Negatives

The biggest knock on Irving is his pass-blocking ability where he serves as merely a speed bump for oncoming defenders. This is probably the area where his size of 5’10” and 195 lbs is the most limiting and an area that can limit his production as a pass catcher. That being said, we’ve seen quite a few special running backs succeed without being great pass blockers if they have the right skill set, which Bucky might have. But regardless, he needs to become at least serviceable in this area. 

Otherwise, there are very minor concerns around Bucky’s play. His vision can be a bit inconsistent as he can tend to get ahead of his blockers here and there. His speed is a minor concern as most running backs of his archetype also possess great to elite speed which Bucky does not. He still has enough speed to create explosive plays, but not quite the home run ability you’d expect at his stature. But Bucky also brings a lot to the table that other backs of his archetype don’t.

Pre Draft Analysis

Expected Draft Capital- Round 4

Landing Spots

Bucky has the potential to impact the game immediately and with limited touches. With ~15 touches a game, he could make a large imprint on a game and in fantasy lineups with his skillset as a receiver and electric rusher. Depending on where he falls in the draft, the Kansas City Chiefs would be a very exciting spot as a luxury pick for the team. Irving could seamlessly fit into an expanded version of the Jerrick McKinnon role in that offense as a receiver and provide a spark in the rushing game. He would be a great compliment to Pacheco’s running style as well. The Commanders are another landing spot that would make sense as Irving’s playstyle would also complement Brian Robinson and add another weapon for the assumed rookie quarterback this year. With the addition of Austin Ekeler, it would likely be an insurance pick or a wait and see to see if he impresses enough to take over the likely Ekeler role in 2025.

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