Tyjae Spears - RB - Tulane
Welcome to the rookie profile for Tyjae Spears.
Tyjae Spears was a lesser-known running back during his time at Tulane when he burst onto the scene at the 2023 Senior Bowl. As far as running backs go, Spears was the belle of the ball. No other back impressed more over Senior Bowl week than Spears.
His talents as a pass catcher and explosive perimeter rusher were on full display as he frequently made defenders look foolish.
Spears checks in at 5’10” and 204 lbs and profiles to be a Michael Carter-type back. One who is capable of being a three-down back but who is probably better as part of a committee. He is a medium-sized back with above average talent in all areas and his value will be greatly influenced by his landing spot and draft capital. The worst-case scenario is late capital and a landing spot as a backup where he may never produce any useful value. However, day 2 draft capital and a landing spot where he can get a full-time role, and the sky is the limit for Spears.
Height: 5′ 10″
Weight: 201 lbs
40-yard dash: DNP
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vertical Jump: 39″
Broad Jump: 10-5
Bench Press: 18
*age is at the start of player’s rookie year
Spears was a 3-star recruit coming out of Ponchatoula High School before joining Tulane.
As a freshman in 2019 Spears played in 4 games rushing for 192 yards and 1 touchdown while adding 5 catches for 133 yards and 1 receiving touchdown.
Tyjae once again saw limited action as a sophomore as he played in only 3 games in the 2020 season. He managed to rush for 274 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Spears’ breakout season came as a junior in 2021 where he saw action in 12 games. He racked up an impressive 863 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns while chipping in 19 catches for 145 yards receiving.
As a senior in 2022, Spears once again impressed as he piled up 1,581 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. In addition to his superb rushing totals, he added in 22 receptions for 256 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns.
Spears is nimble, agile, and quick and can easily elude defenders. Spears takes what is blocked for him and doesn’t overthink plays.
He is an elite option in the passing game, as his route-running abilities are on par with many of the receivers in this draft class.
Spears possesses great hands and vision as a receiver and is a great option on the perimeter.
Tyjae is an aggressive runner who doesn’t shy away from contact and doesn’t lack the ability to lower his pad level.
Spears tracks the ball and is able to make catches and quickly turn it upfield for long gains.
He has little to no blocking ability and struggles to even be useful as a cut/chip blocker.
His skillset profiles him as a perimeter runner/pass catcher who will rarely play between the tackles. He will struggle to find a bell-cow role in the NFL.
His limited size is going to severely cap his role with a team and will ultimately cap his ceiling as a fantasy asset.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Round 3
Ideal Landing Spot- Houston Texans
Tyjae Spears will not be the lead back on whichever team he goes to but pairing him with a more bruising early down back such as Dameon Pierce would make for a solid duo. The Texans figure to use their first two picks on a franchise quarterback and an elite receiver. If they choose to use their round 4 pick on a running back, Spears could be the ideal selection to compliment Pierce and add a different skill to this offence.
Spears won’t have league-winning upside in this scenario but should be a reliable flex option. In the event of an injury to Pierce, however, Spears could be thrust into a three-down role and would then have Alvin Kamara-level upside…. Well, Alvin Kamara light anyways.
Post Draft Analysis
Tennessee Titans – Round 3, Pick 81
Despite his injury concerns, Spears has the talent to provide one or two useful fantasy seasons and as such should be taken with a late-round draft pick in redraft leagues, not necessarily as a rookie but instead in year two or whenever Henry is no longer in front of him on the depth chart.
Where I choose to avoid him is a dynasty. He is likely to flash from time to time and if given the opportunity he will produce at a decent level, if he does hit at any point he is a prime sell-high candidate for me. Most running backs are lucky to get 5 years in the NFL, Spears will be lucky to get 3 years. If he produces at any point, enjoy it while it lasts and sells high the second you can.