Marshawn Lloyd - RB - USC
Marshawn Lloyd had a rough go at it to start his career with a torn ACL to start his true freshman season. It looked like injuries might derail a talented running back before he could even get started. But a transfer to USC changed that trajectory to a point now where he could be considered one of the top running backs in this class.
Height: 5′ 9″
Weight: 210 lbs
40-yard dash: N/A
3-cone drill: N/A
20-yard shuttle: N/A
Vertical Jump: N/A
Broad Jump: N/A
Bench Press: N/A
*age is at the start of player’s rookie year
Lloyd was the number 5 running back recruit in the nation per 247Sports Composite during the 2020 recruiting cycle. His commitment to South Carolina was a huge get for them, but his success was quickly derailed due to an ACL tear before his true freshman season got started. That caused him to miss the entire season, and subsequently look like his explosiveness had been zapped during his redshirt freshman season. He had a nice bounce-back season as a redshirt sophomore with the Gamecocks, leading the team in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. But still missed a few games and wasn’t getting a ton of volume consistently.
Following his bounce back, his reputation on the field recovered a good amount and he was able to transfer to USC for his redshirt junior season. He had his best season yet, hitting career-high marks in rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing yards per attempt, receiving yards, and receiving yards per attempt. His per-game volume didn’t go up in USC’s pass-heavy offense, but his efficiency shot up through the roof. He led all running backs in most rushing categories and hit his first 1,000-yard yards from scrimmage season and decided to declare for the NFL Draft.
To start, Marshawn Lloyd provides a lot of versatility in the lineup and scheme that he’s playing in. He’s a plus value in the receiving game with his hands, yards after the catch ability, ability to line up in different positions on the field, and his ability to run more routes than the normal “running back routes”. He proved to be a great compliment to Caleb Williams last year with his ability to work off-script when a play breaks down and be in an advantageous space for his quarterback. Once he gets the ball in space either during a run play or after the catch, he can turn it upfield with high-end speed for explosive plays.
As a runner, he’s impressive as well. He showed good burst off the line of scrimmage and paired that with solid vision. Behind the line of scrimmage and within the teeth of the defense, he showed good lateral mobility. For a player with his explosive ability, he also showed impressive physicality with a listed size of 5’9” and 210 lbs. He consistently displayed good lower body strength and a willingness to keep his legs churning. Plus the ability to bounce off tackles in space and run through arm tackles.
While Lloyd is a very well-rounded prospect, there are still a few concerns with his prospect profile. Starting with his, at times, inconsistent vision and tendency to miss cut-back lanes. Additionally, he’s a great receiver out of the backfield and while he showed to be a willing blocker in pass protection, there were instances of being late to pick up the blitz that would lead to bad positioning. With his speed and burst, there are also times when he tries to press his runs to the outside too often even when the crease isn’t there, leading to missed yards on plays.
A concern that isn’t always warranted as we’ve seen plenty of running backs overcome this, is ball security. He was accredited with 8 total fumbles over the past 3 seasons. And a small negative is that while he does a lot of things well as a running back, he doesn’t quite have that one elite trait you can hang your hat on. And generally elite running backs in the NFL have that elite trait that they can always fall back on.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Round 4
There are quite a few teams in need of a running back to contribute immediately with the opportunity to take a lead role. And the free agent market in the league right now is sparse at best, so that leaves at least a few teams eyeing running backs like Lloyd in the middle rounds. One of those teams would be Minnesota as both Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler got significant run this season and were very average at best. Additionally, the Chargers will be left with just Isaiah Spiller at running back with expiring contracts this offseason and need bodies in that backfield. Lloyd would have the opportunity to walk in on day 1 at either of those organizations and immediately be one of the more explosive and talented running backs depending on free-agent signings.