Antonio Andrews has been an outstanding running back the previous two seasons for Western Kentucky. The former Mr. Football of Kentucky came to Western Kentucky after transferring from Air Force Prep. After mixing in at points with Bobby Rainey, now in the NFL, Andrews took over and set the single season rushing record for the Hilltoppers before coming up 3 yards of breaking his own record. He did it while being more efficient and more productive elsewhere and in one less game.
Projecting to the NFL, Andrews has a nice combination of power and speed along with great vision for the position. He has shown he can contribute as a runner and receiver, but needs to eliminate the fumbles and show he can be an effective blocker. Andrews looks like he is best suited to play in a rotation, but has shown he can carry the load and has more speed than some might expect. He projects as a day three pick who could be a nice value pick, but there is an outside chance he could slip into the end of day two with an impressive set of workouts.
Vitals & Build
Andrews is listed at 6’ 219lbs and looks the part. He is strong but does not carry much of any extra fat on him. Andrews has strong thighs and an impressive upper body. He looks good as he is but there is still room to add strength and weight to that frame and it does not look like it should have a negative impact on his athleticism, so he is a good athlete who should still be able to get better.
Andrews is a running back who does a great job of running to daylight. He sees the plays as they are developing and recognizes cutting lanes both at the point of attack and at the second level. Andrews does not make many bad decisions when it comes to where he needs to run the ball on a given play and is able to create extra yardage.
Andrews does a good job of lowering his shoulder into contact and delivering a hit on the opponent. He runs with strength and can bounce off of opponents and keep going. His leg drive can be inconsistent, but when he uses it, he can keep his momentum going and be extremely difficult to take to the ground.
Andrews go to move is his stiff arm. It is extremely powerful and he uses it for opponents next to him, but will also use it to hit opponents in front of him. Even when he is not decking people with it, he is using it to help balance him and leverage him to keep gaining yardage.
Andrews has a ton of experience running east and west. He has the speed to make it work, but he does seem more effective and more likely to be used as in between the tackles. His vision makes it so he can find and attack the better running lane, both inside and out, keeping opponents on their toes.
Andrews has the ability to plant his feet and cut, allowing to keep opponents honest, because they have to account for his power. He does a good job of setting up his blocks and making the most of them. Andrews will also use some slight jump cuts to make opponents miss and
Andrews has the speed to be an effective runner but is not a big homerun threat. He is the type of guy who can get to the third level and will eventually be corralled. The thing with Andrews is he has been good at getting those rushes for chunks of yards consistently throughout the past two years.
Route Running & Technique
Most of the routes Andrews has run are extensions of play action where he continues from the fake into a route that goes to a flat. There are definitely routes where he will attack the flats and basically run wheels out of the backfield, so he is familiar with these and has made them work. The route combinations he has run are not overly complicated, but he is experienced with them and has been effective.
Andrews has hands enough to catch the ball and is not unwilling to catch it with his hands. He is not afraid to catch the ball with his body to make sure he makes the catch, which is consistent with a larger issue. Andrews has issues with fumbles and they have to be cleaned up to have teams trust him with carrying the football. This is the biggest issue he has facing him as he moves onto to the NFL. For all he can do as a runner, if he puts the ball on the turf, he will have problems staying on the field or a roster.
Andrews has work to do as a pass blocker. The Hilltoppers had him do much of his pass blocking in the form of carrying out play action fakes and drawing attention from the quarterback. His blocking was in the form of selling it well enough to draw attention away from the play.
When he has been tasked with a traditional block in a normal drop back, he has shown he has a lot of work to do. Andrews looks uncomfortable and tends to lunge, launching himself at the opponent rather than holding his ground and blocking. It seems as though Andrews does not realize or trust the strength he has against opponents and needs to hold his water and just block them.
Andrews does have experience on kickoffs and punts as a returner. It is not terribly likely he will be used as punt returner in the NFL, but he could do a solid job on kickoffs. He is not likely to break the big one but his vision allows him get more yardage than some might expect while also having the ability to run with power.
Andrews can play in any scheme. He might be better suited to play in a scheme that allows him to take advantage of his vision and ability to pick the hole and exploit it, but he is more than capable of lining up in a power scheme and running downhill. Andrews also gives the team of being able to use a bigger back as a pass catcher and getting them out in good matchups that allow him to gain more yardage. Either a team that does not put a ton of emphasis on their backs blocking in pass protection or he needs to improve there dramatically as well as just protect the football.
Andrews’ game is similar to that of Pierre Thomas of the New Orleans Saints. The former Illinois back has the size and athleticism that Andrews does but is also able to contribute as a bigger receiving threat. Thomas has been able to have a good amount of success for the Saints and if a team can take Andrews and he can clean up the fumbling issues, he can be productive along those lines.
Andrews has a great skill set to be productive in the NFL. He has good strength, quickness and speed that allow him to succeed. His vision might be his best asset and he has a great stiff arm that he uses to beat opponents up over the course of a game. There needs to be improvement in his pass protection as well as just holding onto the football. Andrews projects as a day three pick who can be a really nice pickup for a team that can work in a rotation but can be a workhorse back as well.
Some of the film used in this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com