Dameon Pierce, Florida RB | NFL Draft Scouting Report

With his scouting report, where does Florida RB and Senior Bowl attendee Dameon Pierce project in the 2022 NFL Draft? What is his ceiling?

Draft capital is king at the running back position, but it isn’t a deal-breaker for players looking to produce. Especially with the value of the running back position slowly declining, opportunities are opening up to find players with starting upside farther down the board. With his scouting report, could Florida RB Dameon Pierce be one of those high-value players in the 2022 NFL Draft? Let’s find out.

Dameon Pierce NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Running back
  • School: Florida
  • Current Year: Senior
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 215 pounds

Dameon Pierce Scouting Report

A select few running backs are popular enough to command early-round interest and earn immediate starting opportunities. However, the vast majority of running backs are not those types. Nevertheless, the nature of the running back position creates an existing opportunity each year. Many teams employ rotations, and even when they don’t, starters can be susceptible to injuries.

The “next man up” mentality is strong at RB. And that’s the avenue through which players like Pierce can emerge. Pierce doesn’t have as much hype as other running backs in the 2022 NFL Draft, nor does he have the outrageous production. But turning on the tape, it’s clear that there’s something there with Pierce — something that may earn the favor of NFL scouts.

Dameon Pierce’s athletic profile

At 5’10”, 215 pounds, Pierce has a stout, compact frame that can absorb direct power. With that frame, he withstands contact. He pries through arm tackles with leg churn and has great contact balance as well. The Florida RB can bounce off of surging defenders with his strong center of gravity.

Beyond his frame, Pierce also has some intriguing athletic traits. He has above-average lateral agility. Pierce is surprisingly elusive, with looseness in his hips. He can feign direction changes and manipulate spacing with his footwork.

Pierce also uses his loose hips to slip through gaps and navigate congestion. He shows good lean and balance as a runner; he’s not an upright, north-south ball carrier.

Going further, while Pierce’s short-area burst is far from elite, the Florida RB possesses solid long-track explosiveness when he has a runway. He has enough juice to bounce runs to the outside and extend plays in space. While he doesn’t quite have breakaway speed, his long speed is certainly good enough for the position.

Execution beyond the physical traits

For running backs especially, execution is just as important as athleticism, even more so at times. Running backs who have both are a tier above, but you have to be able to work with what you have in order to succeed. Pierce appears to have good utility in that regard.

Pierce has a squatty, energetic style as a runner. His fast feet allow him to be somewhat adaptable. The Florida RB has good overall creative capacity. He flashes solid vision and can stick cuts well for his frame. He possesses smooth footwork in the backfield, and he’s composed and rhythmic when approaching holes. Pierce has shown to improvise in spurts. He extends runs with his footwork and instincts, and he’s a physical finisher as well. He consistently lowers his shoulder and finishes forward.

Beyond his ability as a runner, Pierce also brings coveted value on passing downs. He’s an excellent receiver for the position, with a much larger route tree than expected for an RB. He tracks the ball and plays in contact, also showing some nuance as a route runner. Pierce can chop his route stems with quick, sudden feet. He also displays the ability to sink his hips into his stems and employs head fakes as a means of deception.

Moreover, Pierce is a strong pass blocker. The Florida RB gets after it protecting his quarterback. He has a strong base, consistently squares up, and exerts his power on opponents. He times his strikes well as a blocker and has good balance when lowering his pads. Additionally, he’s more than willing to serve as a lead blocker on designed runs.

Areas for improvement

Pierce appears to be a very solid all-around back on the surface — but there are still some limitations and areas of inconsistency to address. Most notably, Pierce doesn’t have elite explosiveness. His short-area burst is visibly lacking at times, and he can get run down from behind in the backfield. He needs a runway to gain speed and isn’t naturally spry or twitchy, either. His energetic play pace comes more from effort than athleticism.

As a runner, Pierce’s patience and vision — while solid — can be inconsistent at times. The Florida RB doesn’t always wait for blocks, at times deferring to lowering his head into contact, passing up opportunities.

He sometimes falls into congestion, passing up chances to break outside into space. When things go wrong early in reps, Pierce isn’t a hyper-consistent creator.

Among other things, Pierce isn’t always as light on his feet or as quick to change directions as you’d like. He’s not a plodding mover, but he sometimes becomes flat-footed when executing cuts. Additionally, Pierce is susceptible to occasional focus drops out of the backfield. And as a lead blocker, he can do a better job sustaining blocks at times.

Dameon Pierce’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview

Pierce won’t be the first running back off the board, but there’s always a market for his style of back in the NFL. Pierce isn’t overly explosive, but he does have a respectable athletic foundation. He runs with solid pace, balance, and executes cuts and direction changes well enough. Pierce also has the dense frame and the physicality to work through contact.

Going further, Pierce’s profile passes with flying colors in the passing phase. He’s an advanced receiver at the RB position, and he holds strong in pass protection. That three-down utility ensures he’ll have some security at the next level, and his skill set as a runner — combined with his above-average creation capacity — suggests that he can take greater volume than he’s taken in college.

Pierce may not have elite athletic upside, but he’s one of the more well-rounded backs in the 2022 NFL Draft. He can provide value on every down, both as a runner and a receiver. And that’s something that not all backs can boast. He profiles as an early-to-mid Day 3 pick right now, but a strong Senior Bowl showing could earn him greater prestige.

Dameon Pierce’s Player Profile

His production at Florida may suggest otherwise, but Pierce was one of the top-rated running backs in the 2018 recruiting cycle. Listed as a four-star recruit, Pierce was the 112th-overall prospect and the eighth-best at his position. It was no surprise at the time; Pierce was a record-breaker at Bainbridge High School in Georgia, with 6,779 yards and 92 rushing touchdowns in a four-year career.

Subsequently, Pierce was a highly sought-after recruit. He had scholarship offers from nearly every major school in the southeast, including Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and Miami. He was originally an early commit to Alabama in 2016 but later de-committed in May 2017. Pierce took unofficial visits to Auburn and Florida but ultimately decided on the Florida Gators as his college team, as one of Dan Mullen’s first additions.

Pierce’s career at Florida

Eager to follow in the footsteps of players like NFL Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith, Pierce jumped at the opportunity to earn an early role in Florida’s offense. Behind a talented offensive line, Pierce had solid production as a true freshman. He logged 69 carries for 424 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.

Pierce’s strong freshman season generated excitement for his future as a potential workhorse back. Unfortunately, that future never materialized in Florida. Instead, Pierce has been a rotational back for much of his career — part of Florida’s perpetually deep running back room. He was a marginal producer once again in 2019 and 2020, and his yardage has been similar in 2021.

Nevertheless, 2021 has been Pierce’s most productive year for other reasons. The Florida RB may only have 75 carries for 455 yards, but he has 11 rushing touchdowns, along with 18 catches for 217 yards and 3 scores.

In a room that includes Malik Davis, Nay’quan Wright, Demarkcus Bowman, and Lorenzo Lingard, Pierce has carved out a role as a short-yardage back and receiving specialist — a testament to his versatility.

Dameon Pierce’s 2022 NFL Draft ascension

Although he hasn’t lit up the college football stage, the transition from Kyle Trask to Emory Jones hasn’t impacted Pierce. He’s been able to produce in his role, regardless of his surroundings.

While Pierce hasn’t commanded top-tier volume, he flashes a lot of desirable traits with the opportunities he does receive. At the very least, Pierce, with his footwork, density, and balance, is a solid runner. On top of that, he’s a great receiver and pass blocker.

Pierce is the kind of player that will have fans in pro football. He may not go early in the 2022 NFL Draft, but with his universal utility, he’s sure to have a role in the NFL. And from there, he could eventually carve out a productive career.

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and his voice and face on Pro Football Network Daily. Follow him on Twitter @ian_cummings_9.

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