The 2018 NFL Draft Offers A Wide Range Of Running Backs With Varying Skill Sets. The Depth Of This Class Should Give Teams Some Solid Contributors In The Middle And Late Rounds Of The Draft.
Kalen Ballage is an interesting prospect in this upcoming 2018 NFL Draft class. Right now, he is more of an athlete than a running back. He lacks the traditional mental skills of a polished back and has a little bit of a ways to go before he is up to speed at the position.
He doesn’t have the best instincts or vision for the position, often late to the running lane, sometimes picking the wrong lane and missing cutbacks. He doesn’t work well in small spaces and isn’t always as aggressive as he should be at the line of scrimmage. Figuring out this part of the game is going to be the key to the success of Kalen Ballage at the NFL level.
Despite his flaws as a true running back, his combination of size, speed, power, and elusiveness is among the most impressive in the class, and is certainly going to be tempting for an NFL team. Against defenders in one on one situations, Kalen Ballage has numerous ways that he can win. While most backs in this class can win with either their power or their elusiveness, Kalen Ballage excels in both areas.
Ballage’s power is mostly momentum based, meaning that he create smost of his power in open field, when he gets a head of steam. Around the line of scrimmage, he needs to work on his leg drive and utilize his strong lower body better. He is a running back on the tall side, and he doesn’t always keep his pad level low to compensate. This is something that he will need to work on in the NFL.
Kalen Ballage has just average balance. While he runs strong in the open field, he doesn’t always make the subtle moves that help him minimize contact, making keeping his footing especially difficult. Ballage is more of a fall forward kind of guy than a bounce off the tackle kind of guy. With someone of his size and athletic profile, you’d like to see him break more tackles.
As a receiver, Ballage could make an immediate impact. His route running still needs work, but he has soft hands and catches the ball away from his body. Catching the ball gets him into immediate space, where Kalen Ballage is most dangerous.
Overall, Kalen Ballage is a project, but one that could ultimately pay off for a team in the later rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft. One of the primary concerns that I have with Ballage is the way that the NFL treats running back prospects in general. Running backs, given their generally short shelf lives, are not usually afforded much time in the “development phase” of their career. They are expected to come in and contribute immediately. Kalen Ballage may not be ready to be an immediate contributor in the running game. His abilities as a pass catcher, and his size and athletic profile could help him see the field sooner rather than later.