Prospect Profile: D'onta Foreman, RB, Texas

You know the saying, “size doesn’t matter”? Well when it comes to running back prospect D’Onta Foreman out of Texas (where everything seems to be bigger), that saying couldn’t be more false. Foreman is a big, nearly 250-pound back with thick, powerful legs. There is nothing flashy or jump-off-the-screen exciting about his running style, but his size/speed combination is what will have NFL teams clamoring for him on draft day. Let’s dig into some of Foreman’s strengths and weaknesses and see what takeaways we can glean from his tape.  

STRENGTHS

  • built like a workhorse, has thick, powerful legs
  • logged 300+ carries as a Jr. 
  • falls forward most of the time
  • at least 100 rush yards in every game as Jr. 
  • shows right amount of patience for running lanes to open up, hits them with conviction
  • deceptively quick feet for a big man
  • exceptional balance through contact 
  • ideal 2nd-half clock salter 

Foreman has the makeup of a true workhorse back. Prove it you say? The guy logged a ridiculous 51 rush attempts in a game against Kansas last season. If that doesn’t tell you he’s durable enough to be a high-volume bell-cow type in the NFL, I’m not sure what other evidence you need. He also had at least 120 rushing yards in all 11 games he played in last year as a junior, averaging 6.3 yards per carry for the season. Because of the power he can manufacture with his legs, he tends to fall forward when he’s going down, even in a pile. That’s great for short-yardage and goal line situations which is where Foreman will likely find his place in the pros, at least to begin with. I also found that for a big man who absorbs and welcomes a lot of contact, Foreman has exceptional balance. There were a few occasions where he (somehow) broke out of a cluster at the line, managed to reach the second level, and eluded tacklers with spin moves and cuts until he was 15 to 20 yards downfield. Looking at some of his tape on DraftBreakdown.com, it seemed like he frequently enjoyed some roomy running lanes, often times created by his patience at the line, which he always hit with conviction. And if he was able to break away, he displayed impressive long speed for a back of his size. That coupled with his deceptively quick feet make him a threat to defenses that cannot be ignored. 

Image via Houston Chronicle

WEAKNESSES

  • Not a three-down back; just seven receptions as a Jr. 
  • Not flashy or exciting 
  • Lacking lateral movement 
  • Questionable pass-blocking 
  • Ball security issues

Like I mentioned before, there’s nothing flashy about Foreman’s running. That isn’t necessarily a weakness but sometimes a player’s “wow” factor can add to his draft value. Personally, I’ll take a guy who consistently gets me four-five yards per run any day. What could limit Foreman’s role as a pro the most is the fact that he had just seven receptions last season. You might recall that I wrote the same thing about Jamaal Williams, but Williams had a history of catching a good amount of passes earlier in his college career. Foreman’s seven receptions last year was a career-high and he maxed out at three in a single game. He could be limited to a two-down role at first unless he can display that he’s capable of catching passes in the preseason. Foreman also showed a lack of effort on some pass-blocking assignments. It’s almost like he knew he wouldn’t be getting the ball, so he got lazy. I’m not sure if I’m seeing something that isn’t there, and if he’s not on the field for passing downs frequently, it may not be that big of an issue. The final knock against him is his ball security issues. Foreman lost six fumbles last season, which isn’t going to fly in the NFL. Granted, he had a massive workload of over 320 carries, but if he’s getting the rock that often, he needs to protect it better. 

Update:

Foreman couldn't run any drills at the combine due to a stress fracture in his foot. But he crushed his performance at Texas' Pro Day in late March, an encouraging sign for his draft stock: