Three years after spurning the MLB to play at Ole Miss, Jerrion Ealy could be the first Rebels running back chosen in the NFL Draft since 2018. Although there’s another season of football to play first, we take an early look at the Ole Miss RB’s scouting report to see where he excels, what he can improve on, and where Ealy might potentially hear his name called next April.
Jerrion Ealy NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Running Back
- School: Ole Miss
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 5’8″
- Weight: 190 pounds
Jerrion Ealy Scouting Report
Having earned a reputation as an exceptional athlete at Jackson Prep, let’s begin Ealy’s scouting report with his athletic ability.
The Rebels RB displays excellent footwork, impressive lateral agility, and possesses an explosive burst. Furthermore, he demonstrates enough speed to be a dangerous threat once he bounces to the outside. His lateral agility helps him to be elusive in the open field, routinely making a man miss. Additionally, his lean frame allows him to get skinny through gaps and emerge on the other side. He also showcases stellar contact balance and routinely falls forward to ensure maximum yardage.
Ealy demonstrates impressive patience behind the line of scrimmage. He’s adept at waiting for holes to develop, and once they do, he uses some of the athletic traits detailed above to burst through the holes for yardage. There are multiple examples on his tape where he appears to be bottled up but somehow manages to create yardage seemingly out of nowhere.
During his Ole Miss career, Ealy has amassed 35 receptions and 327 receiving yards with 2 touchdowns. Although he wasn’t routinely utilized as a receiver in the games studied, the little exposure flashed promise as a pass catcher. There were no dropped passes, and he cleanly caught the ball in each instance.
Areas for improvement
As the NFL continues to require running backs to be involved in the passing game, Ealy will need to consistently be a reliable target for Matt Corral out of the backfield this upcoming season. If he is used more frequently, it could have a dramatic impact on his draft stock.
Similarly, a running back’s ability as a pass blocker is becoming increasingly important to the NFL. Ealy is willing as a blocker and looks for work when he has none, but he lacks the physicality to be routinely effective.
This is one of the main areas of concern with the Ole Miss RB. At 5’8″ and 190 pounds, he doesn’t have a particularly impressive build. He embraces contact in any form it comes, but pass-blocking reps often result in him being bounced around the field. His lack of power is also evident in goal-line situations. Ealy is usually stuffed at the line, lacking that power to get himself over.
Finally, there are some minor medical issues on his scouting report. Ealy suffered a concussion in 2019 and underwent shoulder surgery, causing him to miss the baseball season spring practice. Although it shouldn’t be an issue this season, it will be something for NFL teams to consider.
Ealy’s Player Profile
In addition to being a winner on the gridiron and the baseball diamond, Ealy set multiple school track records at Jackson Prep. Success came early and often for the young, gifted athlete. During a career where he racked up over 5,000 rushing yards and 84 touchdowns, Ealy helped lead the school to four state football titles.
His recruiting profile reflected the success and ability he displayed. A five-star prospect who ranked as the third-best running back and 29th-best player nationally, Ealy attracted attention from programs across the country. However, the Mississippi native was heavily recruited by teams in the SEC, with Clemson the only non-SEC program to host the star running back for a visit. Following a junior campaign where he racked up 2,762 all-purpose yards and touchdowns, Ealy committed to Ole Miss.
His commitment never wavered through a senior season where he became the first Jackson Prep player to earn Under Armour All-American honors. Despite this, Ealy was conflicted between his love for baseball and football. While he decided which direction to take, his letter of intent remained unsigned. Although he would rescind his commitment in early January, the running back would ultimately recommit to Ole Miss to play both baseball and football for the Rebels in February.
In doing so, he turned his back on his Round 31 selection by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2019 MLB Draft.
Ealy’s career at Ole Miss
Having been a dangerous all-purpose threat at the high school level, it was no surprise that Ealy immediately made an impact for the Rebels. The Mississippi product debuted in the season opener, returning a kick for 25 yards while carrying the ball 4 times. Two games later, he announced his arrival on the college football stage.
During his third game for the Rebels, Ealy set a program freshman record for all-purpose yardage. He racked up 172 kickoff return yards that included a touchdown and added another score on the ground. The Ole Miss RB continued to be a multi-purpose threat throughout the season. Ealy scored his first receiving touchdown against Alabama before totaling 128 combined yards in his first start against Auburn.
A consistent contributor to the offense, Ealy finally broke out as a running back in the penultimate game of the season. Facing an LSU team destined for a national championship, he put up 141 yards while averaging 10.8 yards per carry. After securing 722 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns on the year, Ealy earned Freshman All-SEC merits. Moreover, he garnered second-team All-SEC recognition.
Sophomore season helps solidify his status as one of the best in the SEC
Having split carries with Scottie Phillips during his freshman campaign, Ealy emerged as the lead back in 2020. In the season opener, he rushed for a score against Florida before adding another just one week later. However, his finest work came in a two-game stretch in early-mid October.
When he put up 120 yards and 2 touchdowns against Alabama, Ealy became one of just six running backs to have achieved that feat against a Nick Saban-led program. The following week, the Ole Miss RB set a career-high 23 carries against Arkansas while adding another 100-plus-yard day to his résumé.
Although he wouldn’t surpass 100 yards again in his sophomore season, Ealy scored a touchdown in seven of the nine games he played. As a result of his performances, he saw second-team All-SEC honors for the second consecutive season.
As one of the top returning running backs in the SEC, Ealy has figured in the early NFL Draft conversation. He likely won’t emulate former Ole Miss RBs like Deuce McAllister and John Avery as first-round selections. Nevertheless, Ealy has the potential to hear his name called on Day 2.
Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Jerrion Ealy
Positives: Undersized ball carrier who is productive as a pass catcher. Patiently waits for blocks to develop, possesses the speed as well as the agility to turn the perimeter, and is very quick. Displays outstanding footwork, makes defenders miss in the open field, and will pick and choose his spots in traffic.
Works runs, tries to improvise when things break down, and is strong for his size. Solid pass catcher out of the backfield who adjusts to errant throws and makes catches in stride. Occasionally lined up in the slot and runs good routes.
Negatives: Small and easily brought down by a single defender. At times, does too much bouncing around laterally rather than taking it upfield.
Analysis: Ealy was productive for Mississippi in a variety of roles and nicely projects as a third-down back or situational runner who will add value as a return specialist.