Terrance West was a dominant running back all year for the Towson Tigers, but he became more prominent in the FCS Playoffs when he was the offensive engine that carried Towson to the title game on national television. The team ultimately fell short, but they were an underdog in virtually every round of the playoffs and West was almost unstoppable. Capitalizing on the huge season, West opted to declare for the NFL Draft.
Projecting to the NFL, Towson has some qualities that allow him to play the part of a bigger, power back but has the qualities to be a more balanced threat. West has the ability to make jump cuts and read blocks with a nice burst to make plays. His speed is not likely to offer a ton of home runs, but he is able to make splash plays and get the ball down the field. West has ability as a blocker but can have some small lapses and offers some potential as a pass catcher. The big area West needs to be consistent with is his pad level and not drift up too tall West projects as a fringe top 100 pick and it would not be a huge surprise to see him end up going on day two, but he seems like a nice value as a third day pick with the potential to be a feature back in the NFL.
Vitals & Build
West is listed at 5’11” 223lbs with a good build for the position. He has good functional strength, solid feet and quickness with above average acceleration. His speed is above average but not eye popping relative to his size. West’s balance and body control are good when he is low. The frame has room to gain weight but how he chooses to approach it may be determined by what type of back he feels himself to be. Based on his ability, it seems like he would want to maximize what he already has and not gain too much more if it might hurt his lateral quickness.
West is a stronger runner who is able to work as a power back, but has the agility to flash quickness and make opponents miss from time to time. When he knows what he sees and trusts it, he can show a nice amount of burst and explosion and while he is not a big homerun threat, West is able to make big plays as a runner. At times, he can hesitate a little bit and look slower and hesitant in the hole.
His vision is generally good and he reads holes well, but when he is not sure, it makes him look sluggish and he has to just power his way through. These issues are few and far between and he is able to slip through small creases with a nice burst and create yardage as a result.
His effectiveness as a back seems to depend largely on his pad level and how high his center of gravity is, which can vary from carry to carry. At times, he plays really high and looks extremely tall, has trouble generating power and is not as quick. When he is low to the ground, he is able to effectively get behind his pads, push the pile and his lateral cuts and jump cuts are extremely quick and effective. Additionally, he shows better balance and body control.
For the most part, West does a nice job of keeping his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage, using his lateral ability to make moves push east and west. When he sees the corner, he is not afraid to go after it, but he generally works to attack the edge of the offensive line and pushes out as needed.
West is at his best between the tackles, but he has shown flashes of being able to attack the edge and his technique in attacking outside makes him more effective and gives him options. He does a pretty good of reading blocks, cutting off of them and then exploding when he senses a crease.
In addition to using jump cuts and quick cuts, West is not afraid to use his off arm not only as a weapon with stiff arms and clubs on opponents, but also as a way to leverage and feel his way through running lanes. West also does a pretty good job of driving his legs through contact and will make opponents work for tackles, especially at the second and third level when he has gotten his momentum going.
Route Running & Technique
The Tigers have used West in some aggressive routes in addition to screens and dump off type plays. West has experience running some wheel type routes, swings in addition to selling block and choice type routes. He is not terribly refined in how he runs routes and can get far more polished, but the experience is worthwhile.
West is not afraid to catch the ball with his hands, framing it and catching it pretty easily. He looks natural and comfortable like it is an extension of a pitch. He will occasionally carry the ball out a little loose and is not afraid to reach the ball out, but fumbles have not been a problem to this point. Nevertheless, he should probably work to be more consistently secure with it.
As a blocker, West shows a ton of ability but can still be inconsistent at times. He does a good job of moving up to make blocks and avoid the possibility of getting knocked into the quarterback. West will sink his hips, get low and is able to slide and move with opponents pushing him laterally. He can get a good punch, come from low to high and deliver an effective pop against the opponent.
At times, he will get caught out of position or seemingly falling asleep as a blocker but those are usually in situations where he is in play action pass situations where he carries out the fake and fails to diagnose the appropriate threat.
When he is in the right position and knows who he needs to block, he can effectively mirror, slide and wall off opponents and keep the quarterback clean.
West’s best fit may be in a zone blocking scheme that takes advantage of a back’s vision and allows them to decide where they want to run. He could certainly play in a more power based game, but he really excels in his ability to read, make quick cuts and attack the hole when he sees it.
West does offer ability to block in pass protection, so if he can eliminate some small lapses in judgment, he can be trusted to step in and not get his quarterback killed. His ability as a receiver is intriguing and could be further developed. There is nothing that prevents West from stepping in and producing as a rookie in the NFL once he adjusts to the speed of the game. West has the upside to be a feature back, but would certainly be a nice addition to a stable of backs and give them another potentially dynamic option.
West bears similarities to Robert Turbin of the Seattle Seahawks. Turbin was an extremely talented rusher coming out of Utah State who went in the fifth round because of concerns over his injury history. When he has been healthy and running, Turbin has shown the ability to be a nice option behind Marshawn Lynch who could occasionally get a hot hand.
Terrance West was a dominant back at the FCS level, but has shown the ability to run the football against FBS programs and should be able to be an effective back in the NFL. His combination of size, speed and power is dangerous if he can get consistent with his pad level and keep a low center of gravity. He will block and can catch the ball, so he should be able to contribute immediately with the potential to get better with time and development in the NFL. West projects as a fringe top 100 player that could slip into day two, but is a good value early in the fourth round.
Some of the film used in this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com