School: Miami Hurricanes
Joesph Yearby 2017 NFL Draft Profile
Many were left surprised when Joe Yearby decided to forgo his senior season at the University of Miami. Yearby began his career at Miami after a storied high school career where he won three state championships at Miami Central. He began playing varsity as freshman and was the backup to current Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman. As a sophomore he would become the first underclassman in the history of Dade County to rush for 2,000 yards. He would form one of the most storied duo’s in the history of Florida football as he and Dalvin Cook would shred records at Miami Central together.
Cook would move on to Florida State where he developed into one of the top draft prospects and is projected to be a top 15 pick. In Yearby’s freshman season at Miami he would back up Duke Johnson. After the season Johnson would declare for the NFL Draft, having broken Miami’s career rushing records in only two full seasons. This cemented Yearby as the starter going into his sophomore season.
After having rush for 509 yards behind Johnson as a freshman, Yearby would eclipse the 1,000 yard mark as a sophomore and receive All-ACC honors. In the middle of his second season, then-head-coach Al Golden would be fired and in the spring Mark Richt would take the role. Richt and staff heading into the next season moved Yearby to the backup behind Mark Walton. In the 2016 season Yearby flourished early in his role and was a spark to the Miami offense rushing for over five touchdowns in the first four games as well as averaging over eight yards per carry during that stretch.
Miami would hit a rough patch during the middle of the season where the team lost four straight games and the offense struggled. Towards the end of the season the staff decided to limit Yearby’s role even more, which led to Yearby after the final home game vs. Duke to announce via Instagram (in a post that has since been deleted). Many speculate that this was what caused Yearby to declare early.
- Vision; Yearby has elite vision and it shows throughout his career at Miami having finished with over 5.4 yards per carry.
- Cutting ability; Posesses the rare ability to be able to run full speed, stop or change directions and get back to full speed with no wasted movement.
- Receiving ability; Is a quarterback’s best friend out of the backfield, can win matchups vs. man coverage and catch the ball cleanly.
- Tough; As the game goes on Yearby tends to run just as strong as he did in the beginning. Misleads defenses with his size, will lower his shoulder and get tough yardage.
- Speed; is not a burner that will run 4.4, many scouts question his breakaway speed.
- Size; Only 5’9″ 200 pounds. Looks to have filled out his body already.
- Pass Blocking; He will have to learn to have better technique in terms of pass blocking on the next level in order to stick to a team.
Teams with a Need at Position: Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins, New York Giants, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers
Projection: fifth round at the earliest; potential undrafted free agent
Plain and simple Yearby is the definition of a sleeper. He will be a player that will make a team lose sleep on how and why they let him slip away. The intangible’s that Yearby has scream NFL, the gift and the curse around Yearby is that even in high school he has always been surrounded by another great running back so he tends to get overshadowed.
The gift is that going into the NFL, his body has taken less pounding than many other backs and he has already shown the ability that he can spell a starting running back while maintaining the same level of productivity. He won’t break a stopwatch on his 40 time but neither did Emmitt Smith and he owns the rushing record.
If Yearby lands on the right NFL team with a system he can manipulate his strengths such as his vision or being used out of the backfield he will have a long career. With the NFL pushing older running backs out of the way and going for less expensive options, look for Yearby to be a still be a viable option in the later rounds.