According to Baton Rouge Advocate’s Les East (found on Twitter at Twitter.com/@LesEast), LSU’s junior running back Spencer Ware has declared himself eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft. This move did not come as a surprise, as Ware his lead back responsibilities and reps to freshman sensation Jeremy
Hill. Nevertheless, while Ware’s numbers were down in 2012, we still like Ware’s chances for next level success.
Moreover here’s what kind of prospect I think Ware is, along with what he can be in the NFL.
Having a well-strung together and powerful body type, Spencer Ware is a violent, physical and sudden downhill back. Reminiscent of former NFL back Marion Barber III, Ware runs with authority and punishes opposing tacklers at the point of attack. Much like Barber, Spencer Ware would be most effectively utilized in a change of pace or “closer” type role at the NFL level, as his running style would not be conducive to a full workload.
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Two major differences between Barber and Ware (both positive), however, are Ware’s pad level and acceleration through the hole. Light on his feet despite being so physical and destructive upon initial contact, Ware gets through the hole with good burst, while lowering his pad level to present a smaller target. Capable of making himself smaller before driving his legs forward for positive yardage, Ware excels in short yardage and goal line situations.
In his own right, Spencer Ware brings a lot of old school and new school skills that’s not often seen at the running back position. For one, Ware finishes every run with contact and by falling forward. On the other hand, Ware also does a consistent job of subtly adjusting his shoulders to avoid a big hit through the hole. While I’d like to see Ware be wiser about the hits he takes or dishes out, in some cases, it is fun to watch his physicality as a ball carrier. Ware lacks elite long speed and will likely test in the 4.5’s, but, to his benefit, speed won’t be the reason a team may or may not select him. A bruising finisher that can be an excellent compliment or tandem back in an NFL that is geared towards a running back by committee approach, Ware is the ideal #2.
As a passing downs back, Ware is an effective chip blocker, capable of throwing his shoulder to disrupt the defensive end’s path to the quarterback, and an above average face-up blocker when asked to pick up the stunting backer. Not asked to run many routes beyond the line of scrimmage, Ware’s receiver skill set is relatively underdeveloped, despite showing soft hands and productivity in screens or swing patterns.
Recruited to LSU as a two-sport athlete in baseball and football, Ware played just one season as an outfielder for the Tigers in the 2010-2011 season without much success. Batting .178 with a .255 on base percentage, it’s safe to say Ware chose his best sport in football. At any rate, I feel like Ware made the correct football decision to come out early, as he leaves a crowded backfield and has little wear and tear on his body (despite being so violent a runner). Ware projects as a day two pick, so long as he performs well in combine interviews and testing.