2014 Sleeper RB: Terrance West
Every week leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft, we will focus on one specific position. This week, the spotlight is on RBs.
With a weak running back draft class, it's been easy for prospects to move up the ranks. Each passing week during and after the bowl season has seen different backs considered the top prospects in that position. There is still not a solid top 5 among running back prospects, and it's anyone's guess which back will be selected first. This has allowed small school prospects to become more easily noticed. Runner-up FCS Player of the Year Terrance West of Towson is probably one of the most intriguing running back prospects in the draft. The 5-foot-11, 223-pound halfback has come out of nowhere, and his draft stock is growing by the day.
To say West had a "heavy workload" in 2013 would be an understatement. He was handed the ball 413 times in 16 games. That's 99 more times than the NFL leader, LeSean McCoy, carried the ball. West broke FCS records with 2,509 rush yards and 41 rushing TDs. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his three college seasons and scored 86 total TDs. With a resume like that, it makes sense for him to forego his senior season for the NFL.
West's game relies heavily on his ability to find holes quickly and fake out defenders at the line of scrimmage. He isn't a speed demon by any means, and there often are times when he runs out of steam near the end of a long run. His vision and ability to find the right spots to cut are impeccable. He's a tough runner who can break tackles and isn't taken down easily. West proved this year he could catch out of the backfield, too, with 26 receptions for 258 yards and a TD.
There have been four players from Towson selected in NFL Draft history, and West will be the 5th. He is getting a 3rd-round grade, though I don't think he will be selected that high. There are questions about how his speed will translate in the NFL and in the tape I watched, I saw a ball pop right out of his hands after a clean handoff from the quarterback. With average speed but great vision, natural juking ability and toughness, West looks to be a solid running back prospect. And a 2,509-yard season cannot be ignored.
Still, I think West is climbing the ranks so quickly simply due to the weakness of the competition in this running back class. He's a solid 4th-round draft pick who can step in as a backup runner with the potential to start in another season.