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2017 NFL Draft : Khalfani Muhammad Scouting Report

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Oregon v California
Oregon defenders got to know the back of Muhammad’s jersey quite well
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Player Name: Khalfani Muhammad

H/W: 5'7 170

Position: RB / KR / PR

School / Class: California / Senior

Measureables: 4.35 40, 38.5" vertical jump, 10'06" broad jump, 6.74 3 cone drill, 4.27 20 yard shuttle, 11 bench press reps

The Tape

2016 vs Oregon (#29)

2016 vs UCLA (#29)

2016 vs Oregon State (#29)

2015 vs Texas (#29)

Strengths:

  • Athleticism - I'd say that 4.35 is moving at a pretty good clip. Muhammad is a track star that dominated the state of California in high school track. Once he finds the seam, it's pretty much over at that point. Outstanding acceleration. Had he been invited to the Combine, he would have been the fastest running back there. Shifty footwork is a plus. Lateral agility is a major plus. Possibly the best pound for pound athlete at the running back position in the 2017 class. His speed is world class. Apparently he was just as dominant in college track, virtually being the best runner that Cal has ever produced. The speed is just simply mesmerizing.
  • Versatility - Muhammad has been utilized not only as a running back but as a return specialist also. Cal looked for a variety of ways to get the ball in his hands in order to best use his track speed. Excellent return man. Although he wasn't targeted much as a receiver out of the backfield, he's more than capable of making something happen there as well. At the next level, he might be better suited as a slot receiver with a package of plays geared for him.
  • Football IQ - A very intelligent player when called upon. Has outstanding vision and instincts as a runner. Rarely gets tackled behind the line of scrimmage due to speed and an ability to see the lanes faster than anyone else. The footwork is incredibly good for a guy who runs mainly on the perimeter. Knows when and how to accelerate and decelerate on a dime. In the film that I watched of him, he's very good at visualizing the hole before attacking it. Sets up blockers very well. Seems to know where to exploit the weaknesses of opposing defenses. Above average as a pass blocker.
  • Character - Excellent. Coaches and teammates struggle to find a bad word to say about him. On the field, he shows a willingness to get dirty in the trenches despite his size. Definitely not a guy who tries to bounce everything to the outside to avoid contact. Willing to stick his nose into the wash as both runner and pass blocker.
  • Production - He left Berkeley as one of Cal's best ever in all purpose yards. Ranks third in the record books in that category with 4,575 total yards. Special teams ace that ranks second in school history with 1,931 yards. A workhorse type of back when pressed into that kind of duty. While he didn't put up monster numbers in any category, he was consistently great in a number of different statistics. There's so much production here that J-Rob must have entertained thoughts of sprinting to the podium himself to announce the pick.

Weaknesses:

  • Frame - It's a legitimate question as he's only weighing in at 170 pounds. How will he hold up physically against much bigger NFL defenders? Can he add weight and not sacrifice the speed as a result?
  • Scheme - Cal ran an offshoot of the Air Raid offense as former HC Sonny Dykes was a protégé of the man who perfected the Air Raid, Mike Leach. The Titans offensive system is markedly, well, different than the one he played in college. It likely will take some time to reconstruct Muhammad's game from being in a spread pass happy system to a more traditional man blocking run system that the Titans run. How long the process will take the is the important question.

Notes

Two words: Dat Speed. If Muhammad was bigger, he would've been one of the top running backs taken in the draft. He has all the tools to become a successful back in this league. What impressed me the most is that he was willing to get the tough yards inside the tackles instead of trying to bounce every run outside. If you see the UCLA tape, you'll see fellow draftee Jayon Brown all over the place. Stepping outside of the Titans' new MO, Muhammad was a four star recruit in the state of California. A lot of the recruiting services had him as a top 20 player at his position and in the top 60 overall in California. Graduated from traditional California football powerhouse Notre Dame HS.

Final Summary:

Yes I do like the pick. Muhammad could be another late round steal for the Titans as a third down specialist and return man that takes a load off Adoree Jackson on special teams. He's an elite athlete in terms of pure unadulterated speed. While he won't remind anyone of being the next Earl Campbell, he likely will carve out an important role on this team as the third change of pace back. His versatility may help him in making the 53 man roster over a majority of the bubble candidates. He probably won't redshirt in 2017 but really needs to follow Steve Watterson around like he's Watterson's long lost son and add some weight. My pro comparison for him is the college version of De'Anthony Thomas (Oregon's similarly built electrifying playmaker) or a smaller Darren Sproles.

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