Zach Charbonnet, UCLA (6’1”, 220):
What Scouts Say: Alpha. Has two years of starting, improved efficiency each year. Footwork, inside running, pile pusher. Decent speed, gets low and drives on defenders. Excellent ball security, good with blitz pickup. High tread with a physical game, hard on the body. Not a home run hitter, chunk runner. Not explosive, but light on his feet. May work best as the power back in a committee. Two years of elite rushing production, and showed improvement as a pass catcher in his Senior season. Prototypical size and great power/contact balance. Great in short yardage.
What We Saw:
Tony: Zach Charbonnet could’ve been RB3 last year, but stuck out one more year at UCLA and is most likely going to end up right around there again this year (maybe a little lower). In Charbonnet you have a bulldozing, pile pushing back who has moves in space and a juke that he has no business using so effectively. As soon as he gets momentum he’s damn near impossible to stop in the open field. He runs to contact on the inside and is always moving forward when he is hit. He gains extra yards with his pad level. He’s not a great receiver, but he can do just fine in the checkdown game. With a lot of tread on his tires and a very physical running style I think he’s at risk for a shorter career than some of his contemporaries, but everything I saw suggests a strong lead option in a backfield committee that could easily pick up 250 rushes in a season.
Shane: Zach Charbonnet is a man who runs ANGRY. He isn’t afraid of contact and he’ll even look for it to get the extra yard or two. A bowling ball of an RB who primarily relies on his north to south running style to pick up good chunk plays. Patient in the gap with good eyes to see what his line gives him to exploit it for a good run. Usually a one cut guy, but can sit sometimes and try to get too fancy with his horizontal movement that does slow him down. Has burst speed initially out of the gap but reaches maximum speed relatively fast and does get chased down by defenders consistently, but 45 yards is still 45 yards. Can catch, but isn’t a pass catching running back. Seems like a great complimentary piece to an established offense that either needs a 1-2 down back/goal line bruiser or a team that is heavily run dominant that needs a little more juice down. Blocking is lacking, which may take away his opportunities on the field at the pro level. An absolute smash in the early 2nd round, but I can see him creeping up into the late 1st depending where he gets drafted.
Player Comparison: AJ Dillon/Jamaal Williams
Grade (/100): 88/100