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    Bucky Irving’s Draft Profile | Oregon, RB Scouting Report

    Bucky Irving was excellent in a leading role for the Oregon Ducks but does his lack of size hurt his scouting report heading into the 2024 NFL Draft?

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    Undersized running backs who don’t boast elite speed or explosive testing metrics can be tricky to project heading to the professional ranks, which is the case for Oregon’s Bucky Irving.

    Will his excellent production as both a ball carrier and a pass catcher translate to a significant role in the NFL? Irving’s scouting report holds the answers.

    Bucky Irving’s Draft Profile and Measurements

    • Height: 5’9″
    • Weight: 192
    • Length: 29 1/2”
    • Wingspan: 69 3/8”
    • Hand: 9 1/2”
    • Position: RB
    • School: Oregon
    • Current Year: Junior

    The Hillcrest High School product flourished in Oregon’s offense to finish out his collegiate career after transferring from Minnesota.

    Despite a successful freshman campaign with the Golden Gophers, Irving’s decision to take his talents to Eugene turned out to be a great choice. He nearly doubled his production across the board in his first season with the Ducks, generating 1,357 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns on 187 total touches in 2022.

    Irving built off his stellar first year at Oregon by leading all running backs with 56 receptions during the 2023 college football season to go with 1,593 total yards and 13 scores in his final collegiate campaign.

    Bucky Irving’s Scouting Report

    Strengths

    • Impressive contact balance and play strength for a smaller back; fights for extra yardage on every single touch; will power through arm tackles with leg churn and sheer will at times; has a great competitive spirit.
    • Exceptional start/stop ability; able to make sharp cuts without losing much speed; capable of sudden burst upfield when he sticks his foot in the ground to get downhill.
    • Naturally elusive ball carrier with great timing; plus-level reaction agility who feels defenders overextend and punishes them with deceptive shoulder and head faints before sticking his foot in the ground to change direction, which results in leaving defenders grasping at air.
    • Acceleration and suddenness to take edge even when out-leveraged by defenders.
    • Very effective gap scheme runner with a nice feel for operating behind pulling linemen in counter and power concepts; could prove to be an effective wide zone producer at the next level.
    • Exceptional production in the passing game; receiver-type reliability with soft hands.

    Weaknesses

    • Can get a bit greedy at times and tries to bounce runs outside; leaves some easier yards on the table because of his desire to produce a big play.
    • Despite showing plenty of game speed, his testing numbers suggest he is a quicker-than-fast prospect.
    • While he does an excellent job of fighting for extra yardage through contact, his sheer power isn’t going to overwhelm bigger and more athletic defenders at the next level.
    • Limited size could see some scouts pigeonhole him into a complimentary slashing/pass-catching role.
    • Pass protection is a concern at the NFL level; sacks given up against Washington and Colorado in 2023 raise questions about the effectiveness of handling blitzing linebackers at the NFL level.

    Current Draft Projection and Summary

    Undersized backs who excel in a pass-catching capacity are a valuable commodity in today’s NFL, but the path to a three-down bell cow role is very tough to project. For every Austin Ekeler or Kyren Williams that manages to buck the stereotype for smaller backs, there exists a Bryce Love or Ito Smith who don’t quite pan out.

    Irving has some impressive reps on tape, but the tape doesn’t exactly suggest his vision is elite. His creativity and elusiveness in space make his lack of explosiveness in the vertical jump (29.5”), board jump (9’7”), and 40-yard dash (4.55) a bit of a disappointment.

    The pass protection concerns combined with his lack of size could make it tough for him to be trusted as a third-down specialist, despite his ideal reliability as a pass catcher.

    Ultimately, Irving can certainly contribute as a Day 2 prospect in the right situation, but the projection of him ever leading an NFL backfield in carries could be a bit of a stretch.

    All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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