Isaiah Spiller is a polarizing 2022 NFL Draft prospect. The Texas A&M RB came into the season riding a wave of expectation as one of the top running backs in the class. Despite rushing for over 1,000 yards in his final season, Spiller has failed to sparkle like some backs in the class, with question marks compounded by a poor testing performance. Nevertheless, Spiller’s scouting report reveals that he has the skill set to succeed on Sundays.
Isaiah Spiller NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Running Back
- School: Texas A&M
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 6’0 3/8″
- Weight: 217 pounds
- Wingspan: 74 1/8″
- Arm: 31 3/4″
- Hand: 8 5/8″
Isaiah Spiller Scouting Report
Coming into the season, Spiller was ranked as one of the top running backs in the 2022 NFL Draft class. While his season might not have lived up to expectation, and his testing performances hammered his stock for some analysts, the Texas A&M running back offers a lot of the traits needed to be successful at the NFL level.
Spiller’s scouting report starts with his size. At 6’0 3/8″ and 217 pounds, the Aggies running back has the ideal stature to play the position in the NFL. He is thickly built, which allows him to be physical in several ways. Spiller isn’t easy to take down, and he uses his size to grind out extra yardage on contact. Additionally, he routinely falls forward when tackled, ensuring no wasted yardage.
His physicality is well-demonstrated as a blocker. The running back picks up blitzes well, and there are multiple examples of him buying his quarterback time in the pocket. Furthermore, he displays the ability to block in the open field, helping to extend run plays where he isn’t the ball carrier.
Physical threat with excellent vision and footwork
As you’d expect from a physical back, Spiller does his best work between the tackles. He is a dangerous threat as a ball carrier in short-yardage and goal-line situations. The Texas A&M RB isn’t afraid of contact at the line of scrimmage, displaying good contact balance in crowded areas to maintain forward motion. However, his inside wins are not purely a result of his physicality.
Spiller has an unparalleled combination of exceptional vision and rapid footwork. For a player of his size, his ability to play with light and quick footwork is impressive. He can make a man miss with jump cuts that seem unthinkable for a back of his stature. The Texas A&M RB displays vision to find gaps even in the most congested spaces and also as the play unfolds downfield.
Although he does his best work between the tackles, don’t discount Spiller’s athletic ability to make moves around the outside of the offensive line. While his overall speed has been the subject of concern, particularly late in the process, Spiller has excellent short-area burst and sufficient speed to get around the edge. He can be extremely explosive in his ability to work a hole and get north quickly.
Areas for improvement
While Spiller possesses many NFL-level traits, there are areas of his scouting report that cause question marks ahead of the NFL Draft. Those may see him slide behind several other prospects in the race to be RB1.
Chief among those concerns is his speed. Spiller’s 40-yard dash time is a concern for several analysts, particularly when compared to some previous NFL Draft running back prospects who went on to have limited NFL success. However, players like Le’Veon Bell showcase that not every running back who runs a 4.6-second or higher 40 is destined to flame out in the NFL.
Although Spiller’s physicality makes him a competent blocker, there are technical improvements to be made. He often relies on being physical and willing. While he has demonstrated some understanding of hand placement as a blocker, he could elevate his game if he can refine his technique in the NFL.
Spiller’s physical playstyle has caused some ball-security issues during his time at Texas A&M. While he’s not a liability in this regard, making sure he maintains full control of the ball while embracing contact and attempting to grind out yardage will be key to avoid a replication of some fumbles on his Texas A&M tape.
Spiller’s Player Profile
Spiller’s mother worked in the athletic department at a local high school. Meanwhile, Fred Spiller — Isaiah’s father — was a tight end at Texas A&M whose career was cut short by injury. Surrounded by a sporting family, it’s no wonder that Spiller has developed into a stellar athlete with the potential to be the RB1 of the 2022 NFL Draft.
As an Aggies legacy, the younger Spiller was linked to A&M from early in his career at Klein Collins High School. Despite that expectation, he had a different path in mind during his junior season. As a lifelong Adrian Peterson fan, an offer from Oklahoma opened up the possibility to follow in his idol’s footsteps. Amongst over 20 offers, the four-star running back committed to the Sooners in November 2017.
Spiller rescinded his commitment to Oklahoma after a visit to College Station through the summer of 2018. The opportunity to continue the family legacy with the Aggies proved too great a lure. “It felt like home,” Spiller said. “My dad went there, everything about it was perfect for me. It just felt right. I can’t wait to go there and show what I’ve got.”
Before that, he still had something to show the high school world. As a senior, Spiller put together an astounding campaign. The physical running back put up 1,493 yards and 20 touchdowns. His 2018 production took his career total for Klein Collins to 3,587 rushing yards and 53 touchdowns. Spiller secured the Division 1/5-6A Offensive MVP award for the second consecutive season. Furthermore, he was named Dave Campbell’s first-team Texas Football and invited to the Under Armour All-American Game.
Spiller’s career at Texas A&M
It didn’t take long for Spiller to show the Aggies faithful what he had. In his debut against Texas State, the true freshman RB lit up the Bobcats to the tune of 106 yards. Two games later, against Lamar, Spiller secured his first career touchdown. Like buses, when you wait ages for one, two come at once. The Lamar game would be the first of two multi-touchdown games in Spiller’s freshman campaign.
The second came in a breakout performance against UTSA. Ironically, against a team nicknamed the Roadrunners, Spiller trampled all over the program. With 217 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns, he matched Texas A&M’s record for freshman yards in a game while earning SEC Freshman of the Week honors. He finished out the year as an SEC All-Freshman after tallying 946 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in 2019.
Despite the addition of Devon Achane and the versatile threat of Ainias Smith, Spiller continued to lead the Aggies’ running back room in 2020. He racked up 1,036 rushing yards, good enough for third in the SEC. Spiller’s performances earned him first-team All-SEC honors while he was named a semifinalist for the Doak Award and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.
Spiller’s NFL Draft ascension
As a result, Spiller entered the 2022 NFL Draft cycle as one of the top running backs in the nation. For many, myself included, he stood out as the top RB in the class. However, early-season struggles against Colorado and an equally uninspiring performance against Alabama cast questions over the Texas A&M running back’s draft stock.
Nonetheless, he ended the year with another 1,000-yard season. Averaging a career-high 5.6 yards per carry, Spiller compiled six 100+ yard games on his march towards second-team All-SEC honors. Yet, despite some impressive performances, another blow to his NFL Draft stock would await Spiller at the NFL Combine.
A poor vertical (30″) and broad jump (9’6″) were exacerbated by Spiller not running a 40-yard dash. His reasons for not doing so became apparent at the Texas A&M Pro Day, where he labored to a pedestrian 4.64-second time. As a result, he’s slipped behind the likes of Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker III in consensus rankings. However, for me, his footwork, vision, and three-down skill set make Spiller the best running back prospect in the class.
Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Isaiah Spiller
Positives: Creative ball carrier with tremendous footwork and vision. Patient, displays outstanding instincts, and finds the running lanes. Multi-cut ball carrier who easily cuts back against the grain without losing momentum and squeezes through the small openings of the offensive line. Runs with excellent lean and behind his pads, shows outstanding balance, and slips defenders to pick up yardage. Will pick and choose his spots on the inside.
Displays a tremendous burst of speed and the ability to beat defenders into the open field. Sets up defenders handling the ball, makes them miss, and dodges around opponents to keep plays alive. Adjusts to errant throws as a pass catcher and extends to make receptions away from his frame. Quickly gets out of the backfield into pass routes and looks passes into his hands.
Negatives: Not a strong ball carrier who will break tackles or pick up yardage off initial contact. Consistently brought down by a single defender. Does not always catch the ball cleanly and unnecessarily lets the pass get inside him at times.
Analysis: Spiller is a terrific ball carrier who improvises when plays break down and uses blocks all over the field. He doesn’t break many tackles despite his size. Yet, he could be a good fit for a zone-running scheme.
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