2016 Scouting Report: Devontae Booker, RB, Utah

Power/Pad Level

At 5’11” and 220 lbs, Booker has physical dimensions that are pretty similar to Ezekiel Elliott. He is smaller, but doesn’t run with anywhere near the level of power that Elliott does. This is because Booker consistently lacks good pad level. He does show flashes of good pad level, and it helps him gain yardage after contact.

Bluntly running over defenders isn’t the only way a player can be a powerful runner. Ultimately, being a powerful runner is about falling forward and gaining yardage after contact. Booker has the tools to do this in other ways, including his spin move, which he uses to fall forward off of tackle attempts.

The first play shows an example of where Booker’s pad level needs to improve. Instead of lowering his pads and trying to help push a pile of defenders, he does a little hop as he’s about to be contacted. This kills any chance Booker had to generate push.

By contrast, the second play is a fantastic example of where Booker uses a spin move to potentially fall forward, but actually continues to drive with his legs and gets good pad level to obtain an even larger gain.

Continuing with the alternating theme of good and bad pad level, Booker does poorly on the third run and can’t get the first down, while he does well on the fourth run and gains extra yardage. In order to have consistent success at the next level, Booker will need to clean up his pad level issues and become consistent.

The final play is just to illustrate that Booker doesn’t have overwhelming size that will allow him to overpower defenders with momentum. He fails to punch the ball in on third and goal, and subsequently failed to punch it in on fourth and goal from the 1 yard line.


Booker’s burst is something that sets him apart from other prospects. He can gain a lot of ground quickly, and this helps him get to the edge of the defense and also get through the line of scrimmage past shedding defenders on a regular basis.

When Booker plants his foot in the ground and bursts upfield, he tends to leave a trail of defenders in his wake. That’s evident in every game he played, as can be seen in the first four plays above.

The final play is an example of Booker bouncing to the edge and outrunning an LB. Although the LB does catch Booker from behind, it’s notable that Booker got a step on him. It’s also notable that that LB is Eric Kendricks, who won a Defensive Rookie of the Month award last year. Notably, Kendricks’ sideline-to-sideline speed was considered one of his best traits coming out of school. It’s nice to see Booker beating NFL-level competition.

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Matt Fries

Matt fell in love with football as a young kid, but his passion for the strategy on the game flourished as a hobby during his time in college. Now graduated, Matt loves scouting individual players as well as breaking down strategies teams use to create winning plays. For all of Matt's articles: <strong><a href="http://nflbreakdowns.com/author/MattFries/">Click Here</a>.</strong>