Nov 03, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Cierre Wood (20) rushes the ball past Pittsburgh Panthers defensive back Jarred Holley (18) during the first half at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

NFL 2013 Draft: Cierre Wood Prospect Profile


Hailing from one of the renowned Notre Dame University is runningback Cierre Wood, a redshirt junior, declared for the 2013 NFL Draft. This four star recruit had a productive career as a Fighting Irish, and feels that he is ready for the next level of football. Cierre Wood is part of the regular season undefeated Fighting Irish and also made an appearance in the biggest stage of the College Football level in the BCS Bowl game against the Alabama Crimson Tide. His best season came in his sophomore year when he led the team with 1,102-rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

Measurables:
5″11, 213 lbs.

Strengths:
Cierre Wood is a patient runner when the football is placed in his hands. He does not panic or make unnecessary steps when waiting for his offensive line opens a path for him, instead he sets his feet down and waits for the right moment before running to the appropriate hole in front of him. He shows a strong decisiveness after the ball is snapped, knowing where he wants to run. He also has a some lateral agility, being able to run to the sides, stretching the defense. Furthermore, Wood has a decent cutting ability in his runs, stopping and starting effortlessly. And he has some elusiveness while running. Another positive about Wood is his efficiency as a blocker, although he relies on cut-blocks more than anything else. He is able to buy his signal caller a second or two with his attempt to block the defender. Cierre Wood can contribute as a receiver out of the backfield, showing off his good hands.

Weaknesses:
Wood’s game does come with more than a few areas of concern when watching his tape. First, he is noticably slower in his senior season than in his junior year. His runs are not as decisive which resulted in loss of yards. He also runs with an exaggerated upperbody drift, making him seem unbalanced and clumsy. Additionally to his drift, Wood has a lot of wasted movements when running, including trying to stiff arm pre-maturely or slowing down when he comes near a defender. He doesn’t break a lot of tackles, and does not show any power or willingness to break tackles. Instead, he gets absorbs  hits and his momentum is stopped with little effort by the defense. Cierre Wood is an upright runner, and doesn’t seem to make any effort to lower his pad levels. Furthermore, he exposes not just himself but the ball to direct hits by opposing players by carrying the ball in a nonchalant way that reminds me of   Philadelphia Eagles runningback Bryce Brown.

A last concern of Cierre Wood is his maturity. Him and teammate Justin Utupo were suspended for two games for undisclosed team violation. You can be sure that teams at the Combine have already brought this up during the interview process. Whether or not he came up with a satisfactory answer is still unknown. But no news is probably good news.

Projection:
Cierre Wood does not show any special skills as a runner, but is solid. It is very likely that he will begin his career buried in the depth chart of a team, and he will need to work hard to climb up. His best fit will be with an offensive scheme that dictates where Wood need to go to take advantage of his one-cut ability. Highly revered NFL Film analyst Greg Cossell spoke fondly of Wood, so he may have untapped potential yet. Currently, I believe Cierre Wood will fall somewhere in the sixth or seventh round of the NFL Draft.

Grade: 5.0

 

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