Notre Dame’s Running Back Theo Riddick is heading into the NFL Draft after a solid season for the Irish. Riddick is a hybrid running back much like that of Dexter McCluster, he can run the ball as well as play the slot role. This past season was his best to date, rushing for 917 yards while also adding 370 receiving yards. Riddick will most likely have to make the team on special teams with a minor role in the offense.
|Ht||Wt||40 Time||Vertical Jump|
|5’11||201 lbs||4.68 secs||32.0 inches|
During his tenure at Notre Dame he played a variety of roles in the offense and special teams; however in 2012 he saw a majority of his time at his natural position of running back. Riddick is a shifty back that can make a cut without losing speed in efforts to elude defenders. When given time, he accelerates to the hole very well. Linemen and linebackers have issues when attempting to tackle Riddick in the open field. He uses his lower body strength well, as he does not stop churning his legs even with defenders all around him. What will separate him from the rest of the running back class is his ability to catch the ball, as he saw time as a slot receiver also.
Riddick has good vision as he gets to the second level, looking for creases in the defense. This could very well help him land a role as a kick returner, which in turn will help Riddick land a spot on a team’s active roster. Being good in space and having great vision isn’t enough to get a sport on special teams. However, Riddick does have experience dating back to his freshman season returning 37 kicks for 849 yards. As his role increased in the offense, his time as a returner decreased however I expect him to be given a shot at the role again.
As far what could cause Riddick issues in the NFL you have to look no further than how he carries the ball. Many times you will see him running down field with only two points of pressure on the ball and away from his body. Even with only two fumbles this season; Riddick will be prone to putting the ball at the ground in the NFL. With players like Charles Tillman, he will be exposed as a careless ball carrier.
You can fully expect Riddick to be a liability in pass protection, while having no issue blocking corners and safeties he will struggle against bigger pass rushers. His technique needs to improve; utilizing cut blocks and chipping along with a tight end will help him in blocking schemes. Riddick also seems to have issues with negative plays at times, dancing around in the backfield a bit much. Once he gets the ball in his hands, Riddick needs to make his cut and hit the hole.
With his ability to contribute as both a ball carrier and receiver should increase his draft stock. Not having elite speed and one season of solid production will not help his case. Look for Riddick to be a late second day or third day selection. At this point I have Theo Riddick as a fifth round selection.