Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a four-star prospect coming from Catholic High School in Baton Rouge where he was Derrius Guice‘s teammate. As a senior, Edwards-Helaire led Catholic to a State Championship and was named the game’s MVP. He stayed close to home for college and followed Guice’s footsteps by becoming an LSU Tiger. CEH was buried on the depth chart behind Guice and Darrel Williams as a freshman, contributing mainly on special teams. This is a positive indicator of dynamism, which we covet in rookie profiles. He had double digit kick returns in each of his three seasons in the Bayou and was Top-5 in the SEC as a sophomore with 24.5 yards per kickoff return. CEH rushed for over 650 yards and caught 11 passes in his sophomore season, but he failed to command more of the offense and played behind the undrafted, unathletic and unimpressive Nick Brossette.
Edwards-Helaire playing behind Guice and Williams as a freshman makes sense. His inability to overtake Brossette as a sophomore is an undeniable question mark on his profile. On the other hand, there’s little more he could’ve done last season to answer any questions about his on-field ability. He dominated the backfield touches for arguably the best offense college football has ever seen, compiling 1,414 yards rushing and 453 yards receiving on 55 receptions. He found the end zone 17 times as well. Since 2000, only seven other Power-5 conference runners have topped 1,400 yards rushing and 450 yards receiving in a season. Those players are Christian McCaffrey, Jacquizz Rodgers, Javorious Allen, Reggie Bush, Brian Calhoun, Dalvin Cook, and Steven Jackson. Despite his impressive raw statistics, Edwards-Helaire finished his college career with a 18.3-percent (27th-percentile among qualified running backs) College Dominator Rating. The perils of playing in a prolific offense.
Check out Clyde Edwards-Helaire on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Rookie Rankings:
We knew Edwards-Helaire was small. At the Combine, he ended up weighing in the satellite-back-plus range at 207-pounds. When combined with his 5-7 height, he ends up with a thick 32.4 (89th-percentile) Body Mass Index (BMI). The highlights of his Combine were his Vertical and Broad Jumps. On tape, he displays make-you-miss moves in tight spaces. This correlates with his athleticism testing given his 128.7 (89th-percentile) Burst Score, which combines and equally weights a player’s Vertical and Broad Jump numbers. On the other hand, his 92.5 (35th-percentile) Speed Score causes some concern of whether he’ll be fast enough to break long runs at the professional level. Still, his 4.60 (47th-percentile) 40-yard dash wasn’t nearly as slow as Devin Singletary, who was still an early third round pick last year and posted a 7.3-percent (No. 3) Breakaway Run Rate as a rookie despite running a 4.66-second (28th-percentile) forty time.
Edwards-Helaire’s Top-5 Best Comparable Players on PlayerProfiler’s Data Analysis Tool include Chase Edmonds and Ryan Williams. Let’s not forget that Williams was the No. 38 overall selection by the Cardinals in the 2011 Draft and was an exciting prospect before injuries derailed his career. Like Edwards-Helaire, Williams posted a mediocre Speed Score combined with an impressive Burst Score, but CEH also boasts a 19.4 (74th-percentile) Breakout Age and a 50-reception season for a National Championship team. As an early entrant who will still be 20 years old when he is selected in April, Edwards-Helaire projects as a Day-2 pick in the NFL Draft and is cemented in the Top-10 of PlayerProfiler’s Rookie Rankings.