Tre Mason RB Auburn #21
Size/Athleticism: Lacks the prototypical build, but plenty of running backs have been successful at his size. Elite athleticism. Speed is decent but his quickness is what sets him apart.
Vision: Good but not great. He tends to take the ball and go full speed ahead without always seeing whats in front of him. Vision in the open field is great and he consistently makes guys miss and takes good angles to pick up chunks of yardage.
Power: Lack of size limits his ability in short yardage situations, but because he’s so short it’s also tough for defenders to get a good hit on him and knock him backwards. He falls forward on the majority of plays. He’s also very slippery and picks up yards in short yardage situations just by sliding through the smallest holes on the line. Easily bounces off tacklers that don’t wrap up because he’s so compact when he lowers his shoulder.
Speed/Agility: Straight-line speed is among the best in this class. He’ll never get caught from behind, and once he hits the open field he’s almost impossible to catch. Elite change-of-direction ability. His ability to stay low and adjust his direction while maintaining balance is as impressive as you’ll see from any running back in the game. His combination of speed and agility makes it impossible to take him on in the open field without help—the first defender has to cause him to stutter, while another closes in.
Passing Game: Limited experience as a receiver (only 19 career receptions). Small hands which limit his ability to be a reliable receiver. But if you can get him the ball in space, he is extremely dangerous and has a ton of potential to develop as a weapon in this area. Willing to step up in pass protection but lacks the strength to anchor. Relies on chop blocks against bigger pass-rushers and will whiff occasionally.
Intangibles: Nothing positive or negative of note.
Durability: Played through a sprained ankle in 2013. Doesn’t have a ton of wear and tear overall, but did have 325 offensive touches in 2013.
Comments: It’s trendy to downplay the potential of running back prospects, but Tre Mason is legitimate NFL starter material. He reminds me of Doug Martin, who had a dominant rookie year before suffering through injuries in 2013. Mason has an impressive blend of speed and quickness, coupled with a bowling ball-like power when he runs up the middle. Knocking his size is easy, but the list of short running backs who have succeeded in the league is long. If he lands in the right system, he’ll start immediately and make a significant impact.