If there were any doubts that the Denver Broncos were going to pass on a running back in the 2018 NFL Draft, those thoughts went away when general manager John Elway spoke in front of reports at Dove Valley at his annual draft press conference. According to Elway, he believes that this is a ‘deep class’ at the position and believes the franchise will be able to ‘find a good one’ — the only questions seem to be who and when they will be selected.
With recent rumors suggesting the team are considering a move down from the fifth overall pick, a player like Lousina State University’s Derrius Guice would come into play if that were to transpire. Behind Saquon Barkley, Guice is considered the second best running back in this class by many top draft analysts, with some even having him as a Top 20 player overall in the entire class. If the Broncos were to select Guice, it would be one step in the right direction toward bringing back a dominant running game to Denver.
In the face of tragedy and poverty, RB Derrius Guice (@DhaSickest) defied the odds on the road to @LSUfootball stardom and the @NFL. #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/W4ZNv9Dluj— ThePostGame (@ThePostGame) April 18, 2018
Backing up Leonard Forunette for his first two years, Guice finally had a chance to be the main man in Baton Rouge as a junior. Expectations were high, but even with more carries than his sophomore year, his production was worse in his junior campaign due to lingering injuries that impacted his play level throughout the year. In three years with the Tigers, Guice gained 3,074 yards on 471 carries with a 6.5 yard per carry average. He totaled 29 rushing touchdowns and added three more as a receiver on 32 receptions for 250 yards.
Now let’s take a deeper look at Guice as a prospect and how he would fit in with the Broncos.
Derrius Guice, Junior, RB — Louisiana State University
Height: 5’10” Weight: 212 lbs
Arm Length: 30 3/4” Hands: 9 3/4”
40-Yard Dash: 4.49 seconds Bench Press: 15 reps Vertical Jump: 31.5 inches
Hart’s Scouting Report on Derrius Guice
Extremely physical running back with battering ram mentality that punishes defenders with his runs. Very hard to bring down initially and accrues a lot of yardage after contact. Exceptional north-south runner who has a knack for picking up conversions in key situations. Production isn’t an issue, with over twenty-five percent of his collegiate runs going for first downs and his twenty-six rushing touchdowns the past two seasons shows he has a nose for the end zone. Shows good burst through the line of scrimmage, along with the vision and patience to allow the play to develop. Though his bread and butter is doling out punishment and earning tough yards, Guice has the ability to break long runs and take it the distance. He is also described as a hard worker, and known for his perseverance and ability to overcome many hardships in life on his path to NFL success.
Even when contact came behind or at the line of scrimmage, Derrius Guice was still tough to stop pic.twitter.com/33iigWLkdJ— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 19, 2018
In a league where three down backs are highly-coveted, Guice won’t offer much as a receiver out of the backfield or in pass protection. He often leaves yardage and opportunities for bigger gains on the field due to his desire to punish defenders. His upright running style and thirst for contact have caused him to deal with several injuries — and it’s a strong possibility that those issues could be magnified even more at the pros. Last but not least, recent reports suggest teams are taking a second look at his background and overall history to clarify concerns regarding character.
Does LSU running back Derrius Guice make sense for the Broncos?
If the Broncos do end up trading back in the first round and somehow manage to acquire another first round selection (perhaps from the Buffalo Bills who are in pursuit of a franchise quarterback), Guice becomes a realistic and plausible option for them. After the release of C.J. Anderson, the franchise is in need of a physical presence at the position who can help become a tone-setter for the offense and be a starter for the team. There’s no question that Guice fits that mold and would have the ability to be an immediate contributor for Denver.
I’ve long stated that if the Broncos are going to be successful in 2018, shoring up the offense around Case Keenum is a must. Providing him with a prolific rushing attack is one of the primary keys to achieving that, as he certainly benefited from the triple-threat punch the Minnesota Vikings had on offense last season. Acquiring a player like Guice would help give the Broncos a smashmouth identity on offense and go a long way toward improving a unit that was dreadful in 2017. The aforementioned medical and character concerns may cause him to drop a bit in the draft, so he could be available in the early-to-mid twenties come the draft’s first day next Thursday.