Miles Sanders Continues To Boost Draft Stock With NFL Combine Performance
Miles Sanders spent a large portion of his time in Happy Valley patiently biding his time while the spotlight was fixed on Saquon Barkley.
After receiving limited reps in his first two seasons with the Nittany Lions, Sanders broke out last fall when he stepped into Barkley’s vacated starting role on the offense. Sanders rushed for 1,274 yards on 220 carries and 9 touchdowns, good for 5.8 yards per rush. He also caught the ball 24 times for an additional 139 yards.
Sanders only continued to boost his draft stock at the NFL Draft Combine. He posted an impressive 20 reps on the bench press and registered a 4.49 40 yard dash time, which was eerily similar to Barkley’s the year prior.
Sanders’ relatively light workload in college is also appealing to NFL scouts. With the running back position inflicting a severe amount of wear and tear on a player’s body, prospects coming out of college with less reps are usually considered more effective for a longer period of time by NFL talent evaluators.
Sanders has a well-rounded skill set, which includes solid pass blocking ability and decent hands. His skill set should give him the potential to be an every-down back at the next level.
However, NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein says Sanders needs to develop “more of a plant and go mentality,” and that at times he “gets too cute in the hole.” Zierlein also believes Sanders tries too hard at times to emulate Barkley’s moves and style.
That said, Sanders’ shifty running style and instinctive feel for finding running lanes has received overall positive reviews. The current consensus with Sanders is that he’ll be picked somewhere in the third round of the NFL Draft next month. The former Penn State running back is trending up the draft board — Sanders was originally projected to be selected in the later rounds when he first declared for the draft in January.
His original low projection can be explained by his lack of game experience. But as evaluators get more chances see him perform in Pre-Draft workouts, his draft stock should only continue to improve.
Sanders’s next opportunity to impress NFL executives will come at Penn State’s Pro Day on Tuesday, March 19. Another solid performance by the former Nittany Lion could allow him to rise to second round consideration.
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“As soon as his football skills are really sharp, Jayson’s going to be unstoppable.”
New Big Ten Network president Francois McGillicuddy announced Millen will return to the broadcast booth as an analyst during the 2019 college football season.
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