Josh Padgett, Contributor
This short article is the sixth in a growing series of guys that I am going to be higher on than most. I will discuss some of the combine measurements, some of the tape, and just give an overall prognosis of what I am hoping for from these guys, and of course, where I am looking to take them in a rookie draft.
Time for my favorite player in this class:
Kalen Ballage is a ridiculous athlete. He makes plays that make you say “wow” every game. The production in college is not what you would hope for. His best (junior) season yardage wise was 1005 yards from scrimmage on 170 touches. He scored 15 touchdowns that year but a whopping 8(!) of them came in one freaking game. While this is super awesome to watch and dream about, it does not bode well for him consistency wise.
Watching Ballage, I see so much to love though. He has great hands out of the backfield, which is uncommon for a back his size. He came in at 6’1”, 227 lbs at the combine, and at that formidable size, he also proceeded to run a 4.46 second 40. That is a really fast for a guy that big. Not only is he fast, but he is quick and can change directions on a dime. Ballage is a playmaker, plain and simple. That is what he will need to hang his hat on early in his career, hitting home runs. He is by no means a perfect prospect. He goes down on first contact far too often and struggles with vision at times. His desire to make big plays can get him into trouble and lead to negative plays. His efficiency certainly wasn’t what you want to see from a top flite college runner.
I will explain away the lack of efficiency because of the terrible scheme he played in though. The offense was not designed to play to his strengths or utilize his considerable talents in my opinion. The potential ceiling of Ballage far outweighs the lack of efficiency and production in college or likely lower NFL draft position it will cause for him. He is too talented not to get his shot at the next level. His pass catching chops will give him plenty of sticking ability and a pretty safe floor in almost any situation. Give him a crack at the three down role, and I think he can blow some people away. High ceiling and a pretty safe floor should make him attractive to anybody, but for some reason I see him going in the third round of most fantasy drafts.
I will own a ton of Ballage because I will grab him as early as 1.10 or 1.11 based on how many other Ballage truthers are in my leagues. Call me crazy, but like I said to start out, this is my guy. If you are looking for a Kamara level breakout star and are ready to roll the dice, Ballage is absolutely the pick.
Like this spotlight? See Josh’s other spotlights this off-season, including: