Chris Rodriguez Jr., RB, Kentucky | NFL Draft Scouting Report

With the 2023 NFL Draft complete, let's take a look at the scouting report of new Washington Commanders running back Chris Rodriguez Jr.

Our rookie scouting reports combine film and analytics to provide the best player-performance predictions. With the 2023 NFL Draft less than a month away, let’s look at the scouting report for new Washington Commanders RB Chris Rodriguez Jr.

Chris Rodriguez Jr. NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Running Back
  • School: Kentucky
  • Year: Redshirt Senior

Rodriguez was a three-star recruit from Ola High School in McDonough, Georgia. He received offers from Ole Miss and Mississippi State but elected to play college football at Kentucky.

Rodriguez got involved early as a freshman. In Kentucky’s third game of the season, he saw two carries and immediately showcased his explosiveness, ripping off 43 yards. However, either he, the team, or both decided to hold him out of games for the remainder of the year, affording him redshirt status.

In his second season, Rodriguez’s role increased. He carried the ball 71 times for 533 yards and six touchdowns, touching the ball in nine games.

Limited to nine games in the 2020 COVID year, Rodriguez progressed further. His carry count increased to 119, and he amassed 785 yards and 11 touchdowns. But it was Rodriguez’s redshirt junior season when he really exploded.

In 2021, Rodriguez became the Wildcats’ clear lead back. He carried the ball 225 times for 1,378 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Instead of opting for the NFL, Rodriguez returned to school for a fifth season. It was a questionable decision, as Rodriguez had a tumultuous fifth year at Kentucky.

Rodriguez carried the ball 175 times for 904 yards and six touchdowns. The numbers were fine for only playing in eight games, but his 5.2 yards per carry were by far a career low.

Additionally, Rodriguez dealt with some off-the-field issues. In the summer of 2022, he was charged with a DUI. Perhaps due to this incident or other unknown reasons, Rodriguez sat out the first four games of the season.

Rodriguez finished his five-year collegiate career with 40 games, 592 carries, 3,643 yards, and 33 touchdowns.

Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Chris Rodriguez Jr.

Strengths: Large, punishing ball carrier with solid agility and quickness for a bigger back. Displays terrific running vision, finds the open lanes, and runs with authority. Has a punishing style, drives his shoulders through defenders, and carries the pile for many yards.

Outstanding short-yardage ball carrier who falls forward when tackled. Keeps his feet moving, works runs, and uses an effective straight arm to keep plays alive. Displays the ability to get outside the box and shows footwork in a small area. Consistently productive at Kentucky and handled a lot of carries.

Weaknesses: Not a creative ball carrier. Cannot turn the perimeter. Rarely used as a receiver out of the backfield and had 20 receptions in four years of college ball. Missed multiple games last season after being suspended for a DUI.

Overall: Rodriguez is a talented RB who will be a sensational goal-line or short-yardage runner at the next level. He’s a grinder with a punishing style, yet he also displays the versatility to get around tackle. Rodriguez is a throwback who would be able to handle 20-25 carries a game.

Chris Rodriguez Jr. Combine Measurements and Results

  • Height: 5’11 3/4″
  • Weight: 217 pounds
  • Arm Length: 30 5/8″
  • Hand Size: 8 5/8″
  • Bench Press: 19
  • 40-Yard Dash: 4.52 (pro day)

Chris Rodriguez Jr.’s 2023 NFL Outlook

On Tony Pauline’s Big Board, Rodriguez ranked 141st overall and was projected to be drafted in the fourth or fifth round. With a 3.50 grade, he was Pauline’s RB13 in this class.

The Commanders ended up nabbing Rodriguez in the sixth round. He’s joining a backfield that already split carries between veteran Antonio Gibson and 2022 third-round pick Brian Robinson.

This would be discouraging for Rodriguez’s outlook in most situations, but playing under Ron Rivera means he’ll likely be part of an offense that runs the ball inefficiently too often.

Only three teams ran the ball more often than Washington did last year, and the team’s decision to go with second-year quarterback Sam Howell means more of the same is coming. Washington averaged a measly four yards per carry last year. Adding Eric Bieniemy as offensive coordinator will unlikely completely redefine the unit’s upside.

Despite his above-average speed and good size, Rodriguez is projected to be a two-down player in the NFL due to his lack of involvement in the passing game. Throughout his five seasons at Kentucky, he only caught 20 passes, with his best single-season target share being just 5.5%. He should be able to endure the physical demands of a running back in the NFL with his build, though.

Robinson and Rodriguez are similar players, so the rookie may spell Robinson in a smaller role. Gibson is the clear pass catcher of the bunch and should earn third-down duties. If this holds, don’t expect Rodriguez to be more than an RB3 this fall.

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