With pick No. 59 in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected LSU running back Derrius Guice. Many in both the film and metrics communities ranked Guice as the second strongest RB prospect. As a result, Guice’s dramatic slide — being taken as the seventh RB — was a major shock. His free-fall appears to have been the result of a number of off-field concerns, questions surrounding his maturity, and an alleged altercation during his visit with the Eagles. If these concerns are unfounded, Guice is an absolute steal.
After playing behind Leonard Fournette in his freshman season, Guice exploded in 2016 despite sharing the field with the current NFL star. He led the SEC in rushing that season and is the only player in conference history to run for 250 plus yards in three games.1
Guice was a strong contender in the RotoViz RB Sweet 16, losing a close semi-finals matchup with Rashaad Penny 7-5. He is a precocious talent, turning 21 in June. And at 5 feet 11 inches and 224 pounds, he should be able to shoulder a bellcow workload for the Redskins.
In addition to a monster 2016 campaign, Guice contributed on special teams throughout his career. As a kick returner, he accumulated 695 yards, averaging 22.4 yards on 31 returned kicks. Unfortunately for Guice, his efficiency dropped significantly after taking over LSU’s offense in 2017.
With an extremely impressive breakout age of 19.5, Guice crushed Anthony Amico’s RB Prospect Model. His score of 216 was good for second place, outpacing Penny, his closest competitor, by 20 points. Given his speed score of 110 and sub 4.5 40-yard dash, Guice boasts a strong mixture of size/speed. His success on special teams shouldn’t come as a surprise. Only Penny and Josh Adams matched his percentage of 40-yard runs.2 The Prospect Lab calculated a score 0f 73, which tied with Penny for second best in the class. His list of comps, as generated by the lab, is solid.
Despite his incredible 2016 season — which Shawn Siegele pointed out was one of the more impressive age- and schedule-adjusted seasons in recent memory — Guice posted poor workhorse and dominator ratings. He failed to record a workhorse score higher than 50 while at LSU. Even when playing without Fournette in 2017, he managed a modest score of 44. Though it does appear that he has the ability to be used in the passing game, he accounted for a dismal 15 percent of backfield receiving yards as a Tiger.
LANDING SPOT AND OPPORTUNITY
The Redskins have a number of running backs on their depth chart, but only Chris Thompson has a clearly defined role. As a result, Guice will compete with Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine. Perine, the faster of the two backs, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds. Needless to say, neither player has the physical gifts required to compete with Guice, and the team has made it clear that it’s in the market for a lead back.
In 2016, Kelley turned 176 rushing attempts and 18 targets into five RB2 and two RB1 performances. If he was able to do this with 4.73 40-yard dash speed, an agility score of 11.83, and a collegiate yards-per-carry mark of 3.6, an elite prospect like Guice should be able to flourish if Jay Gruden can get him similar work. Perine led the team in rushing last season with 175 attempts to Kelley’s 62, so 250 plus attempts for Guice is a reasonable expectation.
Guice lands in a solid situation in Washington. The Redskins have a stable offensive line and may have filled their need at left tackle by drafting Geron Christian in Round 3. There is a clear role for him to fill, and the team should be competitive enough to provide him with the quality opportunities needed to be a productive rookie. As one of the youngest RB prospects in the draft, Guice has time to mature and overcome the adversity of his childhood. If he is able to do so, he figures to be an instant contributor in redraft leagues. Given his potential, he is still deserving of an early first-round pick in dynasty leagues.