The 2022 NFL Draft may be 10 months away, but Texas A&M already appears to be loaded with top prospects. From DeMarvin Leal to Jaylen Wydermyer, they have players capable of being selected at the top of their position. Then there’s Isaiah Spiller, who, despite being part of a loaded Aggies backfield, is a contender to be the best running back in the 2022 NFL Draft class. A look at his early scouting report explains why.
Isaiah Spiller NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Running Back
- School: Texas A&M
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 225 pounds
Isaiah Spiller Scouting Report
A 17-game starter for Texas A&M, Spiller’s scouting report starts with his size. At 6’1″ and 225 pounds, the Aggies running back has the ideal stature to play the position in the NFL. He is thick-built, which allows him to be physical in several ways. Spiller isn’t easy to take down, using 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. This will be particularly important as Spiller looks to separate himself from other running backs in the 2022 NFL Draft class.
As you’d expect from a physical back, he does his best work between the tackles. He is a dangerous threat as a ball carrier in short-yardage and goal-line situations. However, his inside wins are not purely a result of his physicality. Spiller has an unparalleled combination of exceptional vision and rapid footwork. His footwork gives him a nice bit of wiggle to escape through holes. See gap, hit the gap, gain yardage, repeat.
Although he does his best work between the tackles, don’t discount Spiller’s athletic ability to play outside. He has excellent short-area burst and sufficient speed to get around the edge.
Areas for improvement
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 become elite in that area if he can refine his technique.
Pass protection and pass catching separate the great from the exceptional at the NFL level. While Spiller has demonstrated an ability to be a pass catcher out of the backfield — a career-high 6 catches for 60 yards against Tennessee — he has been under-utilized in this regard. This makes an accurate evaluation of his pass-catching ability difficult. That’s not to say he can’t, more that we need to see more of a sample size.
The issue most likely to impact Spiller’s NFL Draft stock is an apparent lack of long speed. He recorded a 4.58 40-yard dash in high school, and while that isn’t pedestrian, it isn’t speedy either. Although he has enough speed to get around the edge, the ability to break off huge chunk plays by pulling away from defenders wasn’t there in the games studied for this scouting report.
Isaiah Spiller’s Player Profile
His 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, Isaiah 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.
Following a visit to College Station through the summer of 2018, Spiller rescinded his commitment to Oklahoma. The opportunity to continue the family legacy with the Aggies proved too great a lure. “It felt like home. 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’d got either. On his debut against Texas State, the true freshman running back 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 for ages for one, two come at once, and the Lamar game would be the first of two multi-touchdown games in his 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.
It was the first of multiple accolades for the young running back in 2019. The Texas A&M coaches named him the team’s Offensive Top Newcomer after leading the team with 946 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. SEC coaches recognized Spiller with a place on the SEC All-Freshman team.
Spiller solidifies his status as one of the best running backs in the nation
Despite the addition of Devon Achane and the versatile threat of Ainias Smith, Spiller continued to lead the Aggies’ running back room in 2020. After opening the season with the first of six 100+ yard games, he had a season-best performance as Texas A&M dealt Florida their first defeat of the year. Spiller racked up 174 yards while his 2 scores were the first of three multi-touchdown games in 2020.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M’s multi-headed monster of a running back room ensured the Aggies finished second in the conference for team rushing yards per game. On his own, Spiller racked up 1,036 rushing yards, which was 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.
The positional value may determine whether Spiller hears his name called in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The talent is there, and if his development continues in the upcoming season, the running back could join several other A&M players as first-round prospects. Furthemore, he has the requisite skill set to challenge Iowa State’s Breece Hall for the title of the top running back in class.
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Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.