Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA #
Size/Athleticism: Decent size/athleticism combination, but not elite in either. Definitely not big enough to be a powerful between-the-tackles runner, but lacks the elite speed to consistently get to the edge and break off longer runs.
Vision: Not one of the stronger areas of his game. He takes too many wasted steps and dances too much in the backfield. At times he’ll take the handoff, approach the line of scrimmage and then come to a near complete step before picking a direction. He’s not a multiple-move type player; he can make one cut, but lacks the vision and anticipation to continue to weave his way through traffic.
Power: Strong enough to break through arm tackles and will occasionally carry a defender for a few yards. However,he lacks the elite strength to be a quality between-the-tackles runner. Due to his tendency to stutter step, he’s frequently stopped dead in his tracks and doesn’t pick up the extra yard or two by falling forward.
Speed/Agility: Has the speed to break off some long runs, but he’s much faster than he is quick. He doesn’t make a lot of guys miss, especially in tight spaces. While he’s fast, he just lacks that stop-on-a-dime ability that the elite speed backs possess. He’s small enough to slip through tight spaces in the trenches, but he lacks the quick footwork to consistently elude defenders.
Passing Game: Reliable hands, but not a consistent threat out of the backfield. Needs to improve his routes to give the quarterback a better angle when he’s running an out route in the flat. Did show some improvement in this area in 2012. Below average blocking skills, which will hurt his ability to get on the field early in his career.
Intangibles: Coaches have praised his work ethic.
Durability: No significant injuries, but already has racked up a lot of millage. Had 846 touches during his four years at UCLA, including 315 as a senior.
Comments: Franklin has some value as a speed back and could provide a nice spark as a chance-of-pace option. However, he would significantly improve his ability to contribute by becoming a more reliable blocker. He has the basic skills of a third-down back, but most teams won’t trust him in those situations due to his inability to consistently protect the quarterback. While he does have some potential, he may end up as too much of a ‘tweener to be effective. He’s not big enough to carry the load, but lacks the elite quickness to really make a living off making guys miss.