Much is made of the spread offense that Baylor runs under head coach Art Briles, but their version is unique in how they have built it. They are big and strong in the middle with speed on the outside, so they can beat up opponents and have the strength and toughness to run against anyone, which forces opponents to play the run honestly which opens up opportunities on the outside for big passing plays.
As a result, Lache Seastrunk and the Bears running backs are vital to their success. After transferring home, Seastrunk has been a big time player for Baylor and really has set the tone for this offense and what they want to do. The offense they run embraces Seastrunk’s unique brand of chaos as a runner and creates opportunities for him to make big plays.
Going to the NFL, Seastrunk has a ton of talent and physical ability with a nice mix of strength, agility and speed but fit is going to be extremely important. His vision and instincts are good but can get him in trouble while he has shown to be an improved blocker this season. Seastrunk needs to use his power more, has to prove his hands in the offseason but is an incredibly natural runner and playmaker. Seastrunk projects as a top 100 pick with a good chance to get into the top 75 if he can demonstrate that he would be a solid pass catching threat.
Vitals & Build
Seastrunk is listed at 5’10” 210lbs with a strong build. That would mean he put on five pounds from last season, but his frame still looks it has plenty of room. Seastrunk has terrific feet, great agility and impressive speed. He does not play as strong as he can but it is due to how he runs rather than his physical power. Seastrunk appears to have the frame to keep adding strength while maintaining his athleticism, so as impressive as he is already, he seems like he can get even better.
Seastrunk is an extremely dangerous runner in part due to how chaotic a runner he is. He is unpredictable, for better or worse, which makes him incredibly difficult to predict and defend. There is an element of Barry Sanders in how he runs because if he sees what he thinks is a lane or an opportunity to make a bigger play, he is almost always going to push it and see what he can do. The key for Seastrunk is refining those instincts and getting better of knowing which plays he can push and make better and the times he makes a mistake and ends up losing yardage. There has been an improvement from last season, but this is something that needs to continue to develop going forward and in the NFL.
In many ways, head coach Art Briles indulges his desire to try to make bigger plays and the shotgun spread the Bears typically run makes it so he does not necessarily have strict running lanes; more a case of a broad lane that allows him to mostly approach it how he wants. Seastrunk does not appear to be stupid, so if he needs to pick up a short yardage run, he will make a quick decision, get behind his pads and try to pick up the distance to gain. Nevertheless, a team could put together a reel of negative plays he has had throughout his career, so he is not going to be for every team.
Seastrunk has the tools to be a fantastic all-around running threat. He has the power to push the pile, drive his legs and run through arm tackles. Seastrunk has the agility, body control and raw speed to make quick decisions and adjustments that enable him to plant his foot in the ground, make a man miss and accelerate quickly to exploit a hole. He also has impressive balance which brings it all together for him as an athlete. Seastrunk also has vision, though sometimes it seems like maybe he sees too much of what is going on around him.
There are inconsistent tendencies with just about everything Seastrunk has. In regards to his power, Seastrunk can get low, get behind hid pads and punish an opponent.
The problem Seastrunk will run into is that because of the fact he never gives up on a play, there are times when he is trying to make a guy miss and shake an opponent when there is no chance it is going to work. As a result, he is still going to get tackled but he is in a position where he cannot drive his feet or an angle where he is more or less helpless and can get driven backward. He needs to get better at knowing when there are no more moves to make and just power through and try to force the issue to gain yardage. If he does that more consistently, his power becomes more viable overall and there will be times when an opponent will brace for impact when they see Seastrunk coming and he can then use quickness to get around them. Seastrunk is stronger than he plays and if he embraces his power more, he can keep opponents off balance and deal a little punishment himself.
Seastrunk is a growing back that plays like a small back too much. Having said that, it is hard to blame him with what he can do with his feet. The fact is that Seastrunk can plant his foot in the ground and completely change the dynamic of the play. That could be for him to make a jump cut or just planting his feet and changing his running lane. Seastrunk is never afraid to try to make an opponent miss and will try it in a crowd, periodically to his detriment when he should just lower the shoulder. The problem is that it sometimes works and good results can reinforce bad habits. They are unbelievable when they happen which is what makes him have that Barry Sanders feel to him. Seastrunk also demonstrates a nice stiff arm that has been effective especially when running along the sideline.
Seastrunk has the ability to run in between the tackles and the speed to attack outside. Like many runners, he has a problem when opponents can get to him when he is running laterally, but once he plants his foot and makes his shoulders square to the line, he becomes far more difficult to tackle. Seastrunk is not afraid to break a play inside or outside depending on what he thinks he can do, but is more inclined to break to the outside and try to push it with his speed. His body control and great feet are apparent with his ability to tight rope the sideline and get up the field. When he finds an opening, he can really make a defense pay and has the speed to hit the homerun.
The other habit that Seastrunk needs to work on is how he carries the football. When he runs outside and thinks he is out of trouble, the ball is in his hand and away from his body and pumping with his arms. When he is running inside, he makes a concerted effort to protect the ball and tuck it with three points of contact. Nevertheless, running with the ball flopping around like that will make coaches nervous and he should work to eliminate it.
So much of what makes Seastrunk a special runner in college and could make him special in the NFL is his vision. He seems to have great vision and can see holes and where he can make plays. Seastrunk just needs to keep working to pay that vision off with better decision making in the moment, which is easier said than done. If he can get better with knowing when to push it and when to accept a play for what it is, the better and better he can get. Doing that while not losing the chaotic factor that can make him so dangerous is a delicate balance.
The other thing that Seastrunk can work to do and employ better is setting up his blockers well. He can do it, he has demonstrated it, and he just needs to do it more. With his willingness to go off script, he can make it difficult for his blockers to help him and again, it can work for him which is great. The concern is that they stop doing their job because they are trying to anticipate the audible mid run and end up missing a block that could prove critical as a result.
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.
There are going to be questions about Seastrunk’s ability to catch the football. He had 9 catches last season and 5 of them were against Kansas. To this point in the season, he has not caught a single pass. Much of that is a function of what Baylor does offensively as no running back has caught a pass for the Bears this year, but it just makes it so Seastrunk will have to prove his hands in the draft process and in workouts for teams.
As mentioned before, there is a small concern with how Seastrunk will carry the ball at times. That is something he can clean up, but in the past two seasons, he has had three fumbles; two last season and one this season.
If there is a benefit to the fact that Seastrunk gets so few opportunities to catch the football, it is that he has improved in how he functions in the Baylor protection scheme. There has been a decent amount of improvement from last year to this one. Last season, he more or less got in the way but struggled to hold his ground.
This year, the added strength is helping him, he is more confident and more aggressive without being reckless. He is more natural in processing where the threat is coming from and is either helping one of the linemen lock down an opponent or he is able to make the block and protect the quarterback, occasionally with some decent pop. With more time will come more technique, but it seems like Seastrunk has embraced the role of being a blocker this season and the results are better.
Seastrunk’s fit at the next level is with a coaching staff that embraces his chaotic brand of running. Certainly, he needs to get better with his judgment and decision making in that respect, but if he goes to a strict system that wants to cage the beast so to speak, he just will not be the same playmaker he has been in college. As a result, Seastrunk could be an extremely interesting back in a zone blocking scheme or other offenses that let him make the decisions on where to attack the defense. The teams that run spread concepts and create natural space for a runner could be a good fit for Seastrunk as well.
In many respects, Seastrunk’s style is similar to that of David Wilson of the New York Giants and former Virginia Tech Hokie. Both players have vision that can make big plays or get them in trouble. They have extremely similar measurables. There are concerns with how each carry the football and both have a ton of athletic ability. They both have questions as to how much they can offer as a pass catching threat as well, but there is homerun hitting potential with each.
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. There are questions with him including how much he can contribute as a receiving threat out of the backfield and he needs to improve his judgment as a runner, the natural talent and playmaking ability is extremely intriguing, especially if he embraces his power more as a runner. Seastrunk has improved as a blocker which makes him a far more viable three down option and he still appears to have more physical potential going forward even though he is ready to contribute out of the gate. Fit will be extremely important to get the most out of him as a player and if he can show he has hands, he likely ups his stock and becomes a top 75 pick before all is said and done.
Some of the film used in this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com