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2017 NFL Draft Profile: Alvin Kamara

Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara could find himself picked anywhere from late in the first round to the second round of this week’s NFL Draft.

NFL: Combine
Former Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Alvin Kamara was once one of the most prized prospects in the nation when he signed with Alabama back in 2013. However, Kamara redshirted his freshman year and decided to transfer, never playing a down for the Crimson Tide.

Instead, Kamara chose to transfer to Hutchinson Community College in Kansas, playing in nine games where he rushed for over 1,200 yards and finished with 21 total touchdowns. He was once again a hot property and this time chose the Tennessee Volunteers.

His first year with Vols started with a bang as he ran for 144 yards in his debut. He played in all 13 games, but finished the season with only 698 total yards. In 2016, his output was similar to his first season in Knoxville. In his two seasons with the Volunteers, Kamara had 24 total touchdowns despite limited touches. With one season of eligibility remaining, he decided to enter the NFL Draft.

The Numbers, Part I

NFL Combine Measurements - Sheet1.csv

Height Weight Arm Size Hands 40 Bench Press Vertical Jump Broad Jump
Height Weight Arm Size Hands 40 Bench Press Vertical Jump Broad Jump
5'10" 214 32 3/4" 9 1/4" 4.56 15 reps 39.5" 131"

The Numbers, Part II

College Stats - Sheet1.csv

Year School G Rushing Attempts Rushing Yards Avg. TDs Receptions Receiving Yards TDs
Year School G Rushing Attempts Rushing Yards Avg. TDs Receptions Receiving Yards TDs
2016 Tennessee 11 103 596 5.8 9 40 392 4
2015 Tennessee 13 107 698 6.5 7 34 291 3

Strengths

For teams who love Dalvin Cook, they’ll really love Kamara. While Cook had an outstanding career, there are many red flags involving him. Whether it’s injuries, usage or the numerous off-field concerns, you won’t find that with Kamara. Kamara’s only brush with the law happened in 2014 when he was arrested for driving on a suspended license and failure to appear. Much of that can be attributed to immaturity.

Kamara’s relatively limited usage at Tennessee will appeal to NFL teams. In two years at Tennessee, Kamara had a combined 210 rushing attempts.

On the field, Kamara does a lot of things well. While his 40 time didn’t wow fans or NFL executives alike, he plays much faster than his timed speed. He goes to top speed as quick as any back in this draft. He makes decisive cuts and possesses outstanding lower-body power. He also happens to be a talented receiver, too, and gives teams an option that misses out on Christian McCaffrey in round one.

Oh, and Kamara has proven to be a capable returner as well.

Weaknesses

While everyone loves the lighter workload, it comes with questions. Why wasn’t Kamara the featured back for an entire season? Could his body not handle the load?

In watching his film, it’s clear he doesn’t have the field vision of the top runners in this class. He sometimes waits for a hole to open, which can cost him valuable yards, especially the NFL level when the athletes are all bigger and faster.

He also must do a better job of protecting the football.

Kamara’s Exit From Alabama

So, why did Kamara depart Tuscaloosa after just one season? Well, Kamara hasn’t specified one reason, but one could assume the depth chart played a part.

In the 2013 recruiting class, the Crimson Tide signed four running backs ranked among the nation’s top 75 players. Derrick Henry was the one back ranked ahead of Kamara. While things appeared to be going well early on for him, a knee injury cut short his progress and he tumbled down the depth chart.

Kamara would redshirt that season and while he was on the sideline he found himself suspended two different times by Nick Saban for his behavior, according to Christopher Walsh of the Bleacher Report. After the season, Kamara requested a release from his scholarship.

It worked out pretty well for Kamara—and Alabama—in the end.

Pro Comparison

Kamara has ideal size for the NFL level. His combination of size, athleticism and receiving ability look similar to DeAngelo Williams, formerly of the Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Williams has played in the NFL for 11 years and is currently undecided about playing in 2017.

Highlights

This is a deep draft for running backs. Fortunately for Kamara, he is the prototypical back for the modern NFL. He can line up in a variety of formations and is one of the few backs who is a capable receiver. He could be picked anywhere toward the end of round one or sometime in the second round.