Dec 1, 2012; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears running back Lache Seastrunk (25) runs for a first down during the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Floyd Casey Stadium. The Bears defeated the Cowboys 41-34. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft: Pre-Season Breakdown – Lache Seastrunk, RB Baylor


Lache Seastrunk first came onto the scene when his recruitment to Oregon came under scrutiny which appeared to not actually have anything directly to do with Seastrunk himself.  Ultimately, for all the mess caused by recruitment to Eugene, the stud running back from Texas only stayed one year before transferring back to his home and opting to attend Baylor.  After sitting out this past season, Seastrunk was finally able to get on the field and show the talent that was so sought after in high school, contributing as a part time player before taking over and dominating the second half of the season.  After their first seven games and a 3-4 record, Seastrunk became a more featured part of the offense and only had one game with less than 100 yards rushing, helping the Bears to finish the season with a 5-1 record and a bowl win over UCLA.  In that six game stretch, Seastrunk had 102 carries for 831 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Seastrunk has significant ability and potential as a runner but needs to improve both as a blocker and add a receiving element to his game to make himself an all-around threat, but his ability to run the football and physical talent warrant a Top 100 pick now and he could work himself into the first round discussion with another good year and further development to his game, which is saying something considering how difficult it is for a running back to be taken in the first round.

Vitals & Build

Seastrunk is listed at 5’10” 205lbs with a strong build and frame to continue adding weight.  He appears to be able to get 210 or 215lbs without much issue and only add to what he already does in terms of physical ability, giving him a good amount of potential still to realize.  Seastrunk has great feet, agility, body control, and acceleration with impressive top end speed.

Running Style

Seastrunk functions in a spread offense and is basically working exclusively as a single back out of shotgun formations that do not demand much in terms of vision until he gets to the second level.  With a low center of gravity, Seastrunk plays low to the ground with excellent balance as well as tremendous agility and body control that enable him to make defenders miss in the open field.  He possesses strength and natural leverage which allow him to use power to run through arm tackles virtually unaffected and when he is being tackled, he has the ability to fall forward consistently.  His balance combined with his strength make it so that he is not down until the whistle is blown and he will have runs where he appears down, breaks out of it, and continues running.  He does a good job of getting behind pads and having a natural lean forward to make himself his power show through more easily.

All of this is made that much more dangerous because of Seastrunk’s acceleration and raw speed.  Seastrunk is able to go from standing still to full speed in a few steps making himself an explosive runner with the speed to take runs all the way to the end zone.  This also means that when Seastrunk is able to use stop and start moves, jump cuts, or break tackles with power, he can get his momentum and speed going quickly and can make huge gains on second and third efforts after contact.  His combination of speed, power and agility make it so he is able to keep defenders off balance, especially defensive backs who often hesitate and think of how they should attack him, which give him the opportunity to blow by them with his speed.

The offense does not ask Seastrunk to do much in terms of his vision, but he displays a good sense of where plays are going and where he can do damage when he is able to get into the second level or when in a crowd.  Seastrunk never gives up on plays which can occasionally do more harm than good as he will try to break runs outside from the middle of the field and backtrack to do it.  His speed is impressive and he can make big plays which is why he is able to make these types of runs and why he will continue to bet on his speed in those situations, but there are situations when he starts breaking toward the sideline that he would be better served to just use his power and run north and south, especially when he is already at the second level and the risk is that defensive players from behind will catch up and potentially hit him by surprise and potentially cause a fumble.

Seastrunk is effective in between the tackles or as an outside threat and can be a big play threat from any of these situations or pick up short yardage when needed.  He has not gotten a ton of carries thus far in his college career and the most touches he has had in one game is 22.  Most of the time, he has been under 20, so teams looking at him as a feature back will need to see him hold up under a lot of carries.

The other thing that is yet to be seen is how Seastrunk will adjust out of formations with the quarterback under center or with a fullback in front of him.  The adjustment to moving to a single back formation with the quarterback under center should not be a big deal, but so many plays have Seastrunk start with his shoulders parallel to the sideline rather than square to the line of scrimmage that it is just something that teams would like to see.  The larger adjustment is getting used to the spacing of having a fullback and reading and running off of those blocks.

Route Running & Technique

Seastrunk has not had to run much in terms of route running, usually taking a play action fake and merely running to the sideline on a flat route that position him as a check down option.  He has also shown some routes that work like extended tosses but he needs to put more work into these plays and get more experience.  With his athleticism and speed, getting the ball in his hands in open space or behind the linebackers could result in huge plays, keep defenses honest, and open up more opportunities to make plays as a runner.

Hands

Like with his route running, he needs more experience and work in this area, but while only catching 9 passes last year (5 of those against Kansas), he was not terribly comfortable catching the ball with his hands or in situations where he was expecting to take a hit.  Most of this is due to a lack of experience but if he can be a reliable receiving option out of the backfield, it ups his viability both in college and the NFL significantly and just gives him more opportunities to produce and make plays.

Despite the fact Seastrunk will occasionally put the ball at risk, he has not been a player that puts the ball on the ground.  Perhaps a combination of not having the reputation and people being more concerned with just getting on the ground rather than worrying about stripping the ball, this could be put to the test more during his junior campaign.

Blocking

To this point, Seastrunk’s blocking is hit or miss.  When he is in position and picks up an opposing blitzer, he will get in the way and slow them down, but needs to work to avoid being pushed into the backfield.  He does not always see the pass rush developing and will get caught out of position and be ineffective to help his quarterback.  Seastrunk does do a good job of helping offensive linemen engaged in blocks to get them under control or set up the knockout blow to take out of the play entirely.  To Seastrunk’s credit, he is not a player who resorts to trying to cut block everyone that comes his way and is willing to stand his ground and give the defender his best shot.  He should improve with more experience and effort but he has made some key blocks for Baylor that have resulted in big plays.

System Fit

Seastrunk is a natural fit for a team that runs the read option because that is exactly what he has been doing at Baylor, but he also is a natural fit in a one back scheme that hands him the ball and lets him go and find plays.  There is no reason to think he cannot play behind a fullback but he just needs to do it and get used to playing in a more disciplined scheme with more defined holes.  He could be a great fit in a zone read system that allows him to run stretch plays where he can pick a hole and makes plays as he sees fit.  Denver, Philadelphia, Green Bay, Detroit, and St. Louis jump out as good potential fits for Seastrunk in the NFL.  If he can improve as a receiver, his ability to be an overall threat and weapon goes up significantly and he could be a huge weapon for the team that gets him.

Schedule

Sat, Aug. 31 vs. Wofford
Sat, Sept. 7 vs. Buffalo
Sat, Sept. 21 vs. LA-Monroe
Sat, Oct. 5 vs. West Virginia
Sat, Oct. 12 at Kansas State
Sat, Oct. 19 vs. Iowa State
Sat, Oct. 26 at Kansas
Thu, Nov. 7 vs. Oklahoma
Sat, Nov. 16 vs. Texas Tech
Sat, Nov. 23 at Oklahoma State
Sat, Nov. 30 at TCU
Sat, Dec. 7 vs. Texas

Notable Games

The style of the Big XII Conference makes it difficult to really provide tests for the running back position, but he games that do stand out are the usual suspects; Oklahoma, Texas, and TCU.  Those are the three teams that are the most likely to test him and put forth a good defensive effort.  TCU and Texas are back to back at the end of the year, so that stretch could be difficult, especially if Baylor is able to put together another successful season and compete for the conference title.

NFL Comparison

Seastrunk’s game could resemble that of DeAngelo Williams of the Carolina Panthers and formerly of Memphis.  Williams, when he has been healthy and at his best, has been a dynamic running threat out of the backfield with a nice combination of speed and strength.  In four different seasons, Williams has been able to average over 5 yards per carry.  Seastrunk has the potential to be better than Williams has been and be the player he has flashed he could be more consistently.

Draft Projection

It is difficult to see how Seastrunk is anything short of a sure-fire top 100 pick at this point and the question is how high he can go in the draft.  He has some areas he can add to his game and improve, especially as a receiver that would enable him to be an all-around weapon, but his talent is obvious and his physical tools are impressive.  Seastrunk could end up being a first round pick, which is quite a complement considering how NFL teams have been drafting running backs in recent years.  They certainly value what the position does for a team, but the depth at the position and ability to make an impact no matter where they are drafting enables teams to be patient with how they draft them.

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