Washington Redskins RB Derrius Guice
As explained earlier, Derrius Guice isn’t the otherworldly athlete that Saquon Barkley is, but he himself is far from a subpar athlete. Guice ran a 4.49 40-yard dash at the combine, and he has the athleticism to stop quickly and start again, keep his balance, and contribute as a receiving weapon. His athleticism, much like Barkley, only helps him.
Guice’s size helps him too. At 5-foot-11, 220, Guice fits the mold of a prototypical NFL running back. Guice couples his size with a hungry, relentless running style. He hits the hole and stays on his feet, possessing a rare degree of balance through contact. Simply put, if he doesn’t want to go down, it will be hard to take him down.
Guice has an enticing blend of power and quickness. His quick feet allow him to both impose his will and change direction with jump cuts and take sharp angles. He’s not slow, as some have made the mistake of assuming. And he’s not a bruiser. He has bruiser traits, but he’s a complete running back. He has a vast arsenal of moves to choose from in different situations, and for this reason, he’s hard to hold back.
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Guice is an unproven receiver; He never caught passes in a high volume in college. This is due, in part, to LSU’s run-reliant offensive scheme, as well as their inconsistencies at quarterback over the years. If it’s any consolation, Guice improved steadily over his college career, going from five receptions in his freshman year to 18 and two touchdowns in his junior year.
Guice should ascend right into an offense that can use his skills, both as a runner and receiver. His traits, such as his quickness, focus, and vision, give him upside as the latter, and Alex Smith has been known to use running backs extensively. In 2013, Smith threw over 100 targets to Jamaal Charles, 70 of which registered as catches. In 2016 and 2017, he threw over 50 completions to running backs in general.
Smith may retain his willingness to go deep in the Washington Redskins’ offense. But that doesn’t mean he won’t use his running backs. Smith is a quarterback who implements all his weapons into the attack with no discretion, and Jay Gruden is a head coach who’s known for his creativity, in terms of including running backs in passing schemes. Gruden is a major proponent of Chris Thompson’s success as a receiver, and although Thompson might take a good portion of the passing snaps, Gruden and Smith will make sure both players get their share of opportunities, not just for them, but to keep the defense on its toes. Thompson will help Guice a great deal; He’s the perfect compliment for the LSU running back, something the Giants don’t have for Barkley.
Watching the tape, it’s clear that Derrius Guice is everything the Washington Redskins have lacked as a running back. He has the talent to elevate the offense, and he’s walking into a very good situation. Jay Gruden has said multiple times that he wants to run the ball more, but he’s never had the talent to maintain consistency, in this regard. Derrius Guice provides that. He’ll be the guy on first and second down, and chances are, the Washington Redskins will be in less tough situations on second and third down. This can help Gruden set up creative pass looks to capitalize on favorable field position. He also fits well into the Washington Redskins’ zone rushing scheme; his talent ensures that.
Perhaps more important than all other factors, Derrius Guice is coming into the league with a chip on his shoulder. He attended the NFL Draft, fully expecting to be drafted in Round 1. He wasn’t. He fell past most teams at least twice, until the Washington Redskins snagged him at No. 59. In the NFL, Guice has two main goals: To prove he was worth drafting in the first round based on his talent, and to prove that he shouldn’t have slid based on phantom character concerns.
So far, Guice is doing well proving both points. In 2018, Guice has the potential to be Alex Smith’s “Kareem Hunt” in 2018. His talent is undeniable, and he has the “I want more” mentality that can be very valuable for running backs.