Carson Steele’s Draft Profile | UCLA, RB Scouting Report

UCLA RB Carson Steele joined Chip Kelly's program from Ball State. We're projecting where the NFL could take him in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Chip Kelly and the UCLA Bruins have a new star back to rely on this season. Former Ball State rusher Carson Steele joined the Bruins, immediately becoming a force and a rising 2024 NFL Draft prospect. We’re looking at Steele’s scouting report for next year’s draft.

Carson Steele Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’1″
  • Weight: 225
  • Position: RB
  • School: UCLA
  • Current Year: Junior

After totaling 481 carries for 2,447 yards and 20 touchdowns in two seasons at Ball State, Steele is welcoming a new challenge in the Pac 12. He finished 2022 with 1,556 rushing yards, ranking ninth in the nation. He’s a true junior with one more year of eligibility left.

He also owns a pet alligator.

Carson Steele Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Large frame that allows him to power through tacklers with a great stiff arm.
  • He can be a workhorse back who gets stronger as the game progresses.
  • Excellent contact balance allows him to continue trudging upfield, taking hits directly to his body. He’s tough to bring down by one tackler.
  • Contributed as a pass catcher and pass blocker, with the upside to be a three-down back.
  • Steele is creative in his evasion of tackles, including hurdling defenders and using dekes and jukes without breaking his stride too much.
  • Uses his lead blockers effectively to buy time for rushing lanes to develop and shield his body.
  • Has enough speed and quickness to find chunk plays even though he’s not an elite athlete.
  • Very good fit in zone running schemes as he hits the intended rushing lane without hesitation.

Weaknesses

  • Has a unique play style that was effective at Ball State, but we haven’t seen it in a Power Five conference in a few years. He’ll have to prove his power and athleticism are enough to work against better athletes.
  • He already has a substantial workload on his body and doesn’t evade hits but rather absorbs them.
  • Struggles to make defenders miss and doesn’t have natural leverage due to his taller frame.
  • His overall quickness, agility, and speed are average at best so his upside is fair to question.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

We don’t often see running backs like Steele. He’s crafty, strong, can take a hit, and keep moving. He has some short-area burst and agility, but he’s also mastered the nuance of being a running back.

The question is how athletic he is compared to starting NFL backs. He’ll have an NFL role because he continues chugging ahead, and his large frame bodes well for his ability to play all three downs. But will his contact balance and subtle cuts be enough to overcome otherwise middling explosiveness?

MORE: FREE Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

Steele will benefit from a more diverse and less-dependent offense at UCLA than Ball State. The jump in competition is quite large, so we’ll be watching closely as Steele proves himself in the Pac-12.

Entering the year, we have Steele with a Day 3 grade due to his vision, strength, and refinement at the position.

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