12 Jul Preseason Scouting Notes: Rakeem Boyd, RB, Arkansas
Redshirt Senior | 6’0” 213 lbs | Houston, TX
A straight-line, downhill running back with an intriguing combination of speed and power who needs to improve his open field elusiveness and receiving impact
Rakeem Boyd began his collegiate career as a 3-star Texas A&M commit who redshirted his first year on campus before transferring to Independence Community College due to academic issues. At ICC, he was heavily featured on the Netflix show Last Chance U and parlayed his success to a spot on the Arkansas roster. As a redshirt sophomore, Boyd became the team’s primary running back, and that role only increased last season. He’s a straight-line, downhill runner who primarily saw touches out of shotgun on power, counter, and inside zone runs for former HC Chad Morris’ spread attack.
– Shows good power. Has the ability to drive through contact or move the pile with a lowered showered and forceful leg drive
– Explosive lower body strength to hurdle defenders or jump over the pile
– Shows good initial burst and decisiveness through the hole on inside runs
– Quality long speed allows him to run away from defenders in the open field
– Pass protection is NFL-ready. Shows a strong, sturdy base and eagerness as a blocker
– Good ball security. Keeps it high and tight and has had three fumbles (two lost) across 349 touches at Arkansas
– Solid contact balance and the ability to consistently fall forward for extra yards
– Adequate patience and above average vision helps him find cutback lanes
Areas to improve:
– Limited impact as a receiver. Left the field on some third downs and does not show crisp route running
– Doesn’t break many tackles despite his power and has trouble making the first man miss
– Shows decent off-hand usage, but needs to utilize it more often
– Doesn’t manipulate pursuit angles with change of direction
– Not a shifty back whatsoever. Lacks open field elusiveness and doesn’t show suddenness with cuts
– Will often embrace contact when avoiding it is possible
Boyd projects to be a contributing committee member in a power-based NFL offense. His intriguing blend of speed, power and decisiveness will be attractive to teams, but his lack of second-level creativity and elusiveness will limit his home run threat ability and ultimately his ceiling. With decently polished pass protection ability, Boyd will be able to step right in and contribute to an NFL offense. If he can improve as a receiving threat, he has a chance to go late on Day 2, but looks like a mid-Day 3 prospect at this juncture.
What to watch in 2020:
With former UGA OL coach Sam Pittman taking over as HC and primary backup RB Devwah Whaley graduated, Boyd will be the unquestioned focal point of a run-heavy offense in 2020. With that added opportunity, Boyd needs to show NFL teams that he can be a valuable third down contributor and must improve on his ability to beat the first man. He has the tools to become a complete all-around back if he can improve his route running and become more evasive.