2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report
Prospect: Bo Scarbrough
Ht: 6'2" Wt: 228
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Last season I, like many college football fans across the nation, watched in amazement as Scarbrough had a national coming-out party during the College Football Playoff. For someone that has spent plenty of time watching Alabama football and their plethora of talent, I had been asking all season, "Why isn't this kid getting the ball more?" and I couldn't understand the logic. Then he dominated Washington and was on his way to being the Offensive MVP in the National Championship before breaking a bone in his leg. His departure from that game single-handedly changed the game's momentum, and Alabama never could get on track offensively after that. Scarbrough is a unique combination of size and athleticism, and like his predecessor Derrick Henry, he is going to have a lot of eyes on him in his third season.
The comparisons to Henry are accurate when you see how powerful Scarbrough plays, but there are two small differences. While Scarbrough is not quite as big, he shows better initial explosion. That explosion really gives me hope that he can be a starting back in the NFL. It is really something to see Scarbrough accelerate when he gets going north and south in space, and it forces a lot of defensive backs into tough decisions. As I said, he seems every bit as powerful as Henry was and Scarbrough uses that stiff-arm move just as effectively. Being a taller back, he knows players taking an angle to get to him have to go low, and he is good at shooting those big, strong hands into the defender's upper body or helmet area.
Unfortunately, that may be where the positives end at this early stage in Scarbrough's career. After watching Scarbrough closely, the first thing I notice about him is that his vision is sub-par. Compared to Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs, the other running backs who split carries with him, Scarbrough is elementary in his ability to read blocks and anticipate where the hole will open. Some may blame a lack of experience on this, but that would bring me to my next concern. Part of the reason Scarbrough has a lack of experience is that he has suffered a lower-body injury each of his first two years at Alabama. Injuries are a concern when they stack up for any running back, but for taller backs like Scarbrough, it can be especially alarming. I'd love to see him have a healthy season as a Junior.
Finally, some of the same questions we had about Henry are going to come up with Scarbrough as well. Both players had above-average speed, but it wasn't an elite trait for them. You also worry about his game translating to the NFL, which most big running backs have struggled with in recent years. Henry's first year was less than impressive, while players like LeGarrette Blount have had trouble becoming a lead back. I know Blount had a solid year in 2016, but considering he averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry, his numbers seemed more inflated by the fact that New England just handed Blount the ball constantly in late-game, meaningless minutes. The truth is, holes just don't open up that big as they do in college, and backs like Scarbrough, Henry, and Blount are not effective unless they get to full speed. It is tough to get going full speed when you aren't getting through holes cleanly, and that is why I worry. Even last year's fourth-overall pick Leonard Fournette could prove this fear true. There is also the big-back myth that they don't offer much on passing downs, and while Scarbrough shows good enough hands to be a check-down option, that is about all he offers in the passing game.
When considering Scarbrough as a prospect for the 2018 Draft, it is important to understand that he still has his best football ahead of him, and I am very interested if we see it this coming season. I give Clemson very little chance of winning that game last year if Scarbrough doesn't go down with the injury. Having said that, I am sure that he has read and heard people reiterating that all offseason long. I want to see a player that is driven by it. I want to see Scarbrough come out and look like a beast running up and down the field while punishing anyone that tries to stop him. From what I know, he seems to be very dedicated in the weight room and works his tail off. There are also no character red-flags to my knowledge. I know Alabama was reluctant to make him the full-time back as a Sophomore, but something tells me that he will enter 2017 as the focal point of that offense. If so, we could see another Heisman-run from a running back in Tuscaloosa.
Compares to (Current NFL Player): Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans)
- Rare combination of size and athleticism
- Tough player to get down
- Dedicated to the weight room
- Surprising initial burst once he gets north and south
- Best football is ahead of him
- Top-end speed isn't great
- Vision, patience, and ability to read blocking scheme is underdeveloped
- Limited experience
- Size could work against him in the NFL
|Video Courtesy of Rocket Mixes|
1)   Bo Scarbrough faces tough road to being a first round pick   - NFL Mocks |
2)   After fits and starts, Bo Scarbrough becomes a star   - ESPN |
3)   Bo Scarbrough just showed Alabama he can be a monster. Now the Tide must feed him.
- Washington Post |
4)   Bo Scarbrough Twitter|
4)   Bo Scarbrough Instagram|