Height: 6’1” / Weight: 216 lbs / Age: 23
40 Yard Dash: 4.50 (Pro Day) / Bench Reps: 16 / Vertical Jump: 36 / Broad Jump: 09’09”/ 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.27 / 3 Cone Drill: N/A
28 Games / 279 Attempts / 1751 Yards / 6.3 Yards Per Rush / 14 TDs / 32 Receptions / 322 Yards / 10.1 Yards Per Catch / 1 TD
The running back position is often associated as one that teams do not need to spend high round picks on. Teams in recent years have had fairly decent success hitting on their mid round running back targets and all of these recent hits have had one common trait shared between them; contact balance. Wilkins is a silky smooth runner who is very hard to bring down in the open field and this often times leads to extra yards created after contact. According to Pro Football Focus, Wilkins averaged 3.32 yards after contact per rushing attempt in 2018. Keep in mind that this was against SEC defenses which makes this stat even more impressive.
Perhaps the most impressive set of traits that Wilkins has is his burst and agility. What he lacks in long speed, he makes up for in these areas. Wilkins explodes when he reads a hole in the offensive line, often times climbing to the second level before the crashing defensive end realizes it. His lateral agility is perhaps his best trait as he boasts an impressive dead leg move that is very reminiscent of running backs like Arian Foster and DeMarco Murray. Traits such as vision and contact balance are great but what could make Wilkins a very viable piece to this running back committee is his natural abilities such as agility and burst.
The last positive trait to discuss when talking about Wilkins is his ability in the passing game. As a receiver out of the backfield, Wilkins averaged 13.4 yards after catch per reception (according to PFF) which was good for 3rd best out of all running backs in this past draft class. Wilkins ranked as one of the better pass blocking backs in the SEC as well last season according to PFF. These two aspects of Wilkins’ game are going to be huge for the Colts this upcoming season as the typical player who played that role for the Colts, Robert Turbin, was just suspended for the first four games of the regular season. I fully expect Wilkins to receive some snaps as a result of this, as his receiving ability and pass blocking could make him an excellent asset there.
For all of his pure ability as a runner and his contact balance being a huge plus, Wilkins severely lacks the ability of a physical runner. Wilkins is fairly passive and rarely initiates contact with defenders, often opting to attempt to sidestep defenders. This is great in theory but sometimes hurts Wilkins when he needs to pound out one or two necessary yards. He’s great at shedding arm tackles but does tend to struggle when facing defenders head on. His frame and build are also a bit concerning. On paper his 6’1” 216 frame is fairly textbook but looking at his build he is a bit slimmer in the upper body. As a result, he can’t take the constant barrage of hits that most running backs can endure.
Patience is an often sought after trait in today’s running backs, made popular by backs like Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson. Sometimes though, too much patience is a bad thing. Wilkins has a tendency to miss open holes and running lanes while trying to wait for the perfect hole. This over patience can lead to big gains on some plays but negative yardage on other plays. Wilkins will create more than Frank Gore did prior years but Colts fans better prepare for the fact that Wilkins will have his fair share negative yardage plays.
Pro Comparisons For Wilkins:
Jordan Wilkins has that Matt Forte type of vision and some of his COD in Forte's prime. Creative, smart runner who can bring it against DL and LB.— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) April 28, 2018
Even though I already viewed the Bama film (his best performance), I thought I'd still share some clips. Jordan Wilkins making plays like this makes me feel very confident about a DeMarco Murray comparison. pic.twitter.com/bK7skvyU5l— Cagen Cantrell (@CeeingTheDraft) February 18, 2018
Jordan Wilkins is 6-foot-1, 216 pounds with good power/speed. Underwhelming YAC, but terrific tackle breaking/efficiency/pass-catching ability. Potential 2018 Chris Carson. Nice find by the Colts.— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) April 28, 2018
Overall a player like Jordan Wilkins can be an excellent addition to the Colts running back committee. Very well rounded with the ability to break off chunk plays, Wilkins can compliment Marlon Mack’s pure explosiveness very well. Wilkins may not be the flashy, big play threat Mack is but he does bring very solid play as a well-rounded running back within a committee. The immediate returns the Colts could get out of this 5th rounder could make all Colts fans forget about Robert Turbin with his suspension looming. I fully expect Wilkins to take full advantage of the increased snaps he should receive here come Training Camp and OTA’s.