#23 Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
HGT: 5-10 WGT: 201
2012 saw Johnathan Franklin bounce back from a 2011 season in which he failed to break the 1,000 yard rushing mark (976 yards). Franklin completed his senior season with 1,734 yards on 282 carries, while reaching the endzone 13 times, all career highs. Franklin also hauled in 33 passes for 323 yards and 2 touchdowns, also career highs for receiving. Franklin finished his career as a Bruin, carrying the ball 784 times while rushing for 4,403 yards (5.6 yard average) and 31 touchdowns. He adds to his career totals with 58 passes caught for 517 yards (8.9 yard average) and 3 touchdowns.
Franklin shows good overall athleticism. Has good speed and shows initial quick burst. Is able to see the whole field and plays with great vision. Shows he can bounce plays to get outside on the edge. Sets up and allows blocks to happened with his patients. Does a good job squaring his shoulders up once he commits on zone. Keeps legs driving on contact. Runs with low pad level and is able to stick his head down and get the tough yards. Shows the ability to make the 1st guy miss. Does a good job carrying out play-action fakes, which sucks defenders up. Repeatedly shows he is able to stick his foot in the ground and make precised cuts. Really impressed with how he uses is off-hand, while carrying the ball, to stiff-arm and swat away would be tacklers. Legitimate threat out of the backfield to catch the ball, check releases and swings quickly in to his route, gets his head around to catch ball and is able to turn it up and burst. Not afraid to mix it up in pass-protection, does a good job of mirroring defenders and dropping hips on contact to engage and stone blitzers, showed at the Senior Bowl he can do this on a consistent basis.
Would like to see Franklin add more bulk to his lean muscular frame. I think Franklin needs to develop more functional lowerbody strength, as a result, at times needs to break arm tackles around his waist and legs. Franklin is not a fast starter, takes him a while to get in to a rhythm.
Johnathan Franklin’s huge senior campaign and solid week at the Senior Bowl has tremendously bolster his draft stock. Franklin’s value has gone up as he is viewed as a 3-down-back. With the combine coming up, All eyes will be focused to see how Franklin runs and workouts. Though I could be reaching, a solid showing in Indy, could perhaps make a team fall in love with Franklin and sneak in to the late 1st or early 2nd round much like Doug Martin (31) and David Wilson (32) did a year ago.