NFL Draft Player Evaluation: Joseph Randle, Running Back

NFL Draft prospect Joseph Randle, a running back from Oklahoma State, is a player whose hype is just not understandable. Ranked #4 by CBS and #2 by draftbreakdown.com, Randle certainly had production that you like to see out of a top running back: 2 straight 1,000 yard seasons, career yards per carry over 5, and 38 touchdowns the last 2 years. However, his film and workout numbers tell a different story.

Joseph Randle Versus OU (courtesy of DraftBreakdown)

Randle is 6” and 204 pounds. He’s too small for his running style. He will get eaten alive at the next level unless he puts some weight on that thin frame, but I have serious reservations on what that will do to his athletic ability. Randle ran a 4.63 40 yard dash at the combine, which – to put it lightly – is putrid for a 200-ish pound running back prospect. He reportedly ran a 4.51 at his pro day, although pro day tracks are notoriously faster than those at the NFL Combine. What happens to that speed when he puts on weight?  For comparison, here are some 6 running back in Randle’s height/weight class who were drafted in the last 10 years:

Player College Height Weight 40YD Bench Vertical Broad Jump 20YS 3C
Joseph Randle Oklahoma State 73 204 4.63 DNP 35 123 4.23 7.01
Glen Coffee Alabama 73 209 4.5 24 36 121 4.51 7.36
Mike Goodson Texas A&M 73 208 4.46 14 39.5 118 4.22 6.89
Joe McKnight Southern California 73 198 4.4 18 36.5 120 4.48 7.12
Maurice Morris Oregon 73 208 4.53 23 36.5 119 DNP DNP
Madre Hill Arkansas 73 199 4.54 20 32 113 4.31 6.9
Leonard Henry East Carolina 73 206 4.57 26 35 113 4.29 7.11
*Bold denote drills performed at pro day, as the player did not participate at the Combine. Data courtesy of nflcombineresults.com.





Not very exciting, eh?  Morris had an okay to solid career, but was certainly not someone you coveted for your fantasy team. Goodson has been injured or a backup his entire career, Coffee retired from the NFL because God told him to become a minister, and McKnight is now playing cornerback. Goodson has flashed NFL ability the few times he’s gotten a chance, but there’s a big difference between him and Randle: speed. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy is in the rare club of 6 foot running backs who weigh around 200 pounds running 4.6 40’s or higher. That list includes Pat Paschall (4.65), Anthony White (4.68), and Kevin McDougal (4.63), none of whom are in the league anymore. Randle is tied for the 3rd slowest running back of his height/weight class in the last decade. His agility measurements aren’t exactly stellar either. His 3 cone time would’ve ranked 14th among running backs at this year’s combine, and his short shuttle would’ve ranked 10th. That should strike fear into an NFL GM’s heart right there.

Randle runs too high for my tastes. He’s practically standing up when he runs, which tends to be a problem for taller running back prospects. His thin frame doesn’t give him the strength to power through tackles, and he is frequently brought down on first contact. This inability to break tackles or move the pile will prevent any sort of sustained pro success.


Joseph Randle

OSU’s spread offense gave Randle wide swaths of land to run free with, and he didn’t make anything happen. I saw average speed and agility on film; occasionally he would make a guy miss, but more often than not he just ended up being brought down. The former Cowboy had flashes of lateral quickness that got me excited, but then it was right back to running for 5 untouched yards into a linebacker. His juke attempts consist of foot chops that almost never fool defenders. Rarely did I see him create yards for himself.

There are a few things to like about him as a player. Randle might be the best pass blocker in this class. In the 3 games I watched, he only whiffed on 1 occasion. He sets himself up with a wide base and stones defenders repeatedly despite his weak build. Randle is also a great pass catcher, better than Giovani Bernard in my opinion. He’s a great hands catcher, and only dropped 1 pass in the games I watched, on a play where he was absolutely destroyed by a safety. His great pass blocking and receiving ability is what’s going to get him drafted.

Joseph Randle Versus Arizona (Courtesy of DraftBreakdown)


NFL Draft Outlook: If I was a GM, Randle wouldn’t be on my board. His lack of NFL weight coupled with subpar speed and agility will keep him from being an NFL contributor. His great college production and pass blocking ability will get him drafted, though I’m not sure how long he’ll last. I don’t think he has the athletic ability necessary for long term NFL success.

Fantasy Outlook: Randle shouldn’t be on your radar in redraft or dynasty. Let someone else waste a pick.