Editor's note: Do running backs matter in the NFL anymore? The short answer is 'yes.' But they don't matter nearly as much as their landing spot. This series shows you what a running back does well. That's all. So this what you might see him do at the NFL level. Once again, what team drafts him and how they use him is A LOT more important. So don't take this as direct advice to draft him as of yet. This series is meant to make you aware of the player and what he can do.
Today we're taking a look at Florida Atlantic's Devin Singletary. A very fascinating back who is fun to watch.
Singletary is not quick. He's definitely not fast in a straight line either.
But he has some very impressive traits. Traits that translate to the NFL level immediately.
He could contribute to your fantasy team as a rookie, but it's highly unlikely he blows the doors off the stat sheet.
If he does contribute to a fantasy team, it would be likely be later in the season. He would have to wait until a starter gets injured. He could also contribute if he's playing behind a shaky starting back.
So he's somebody to monitor off the waiver wire this year. Just remember his name for now.
Film Example: The clip I feel encapsulates everything he does well
What's his archetype?
Singletary will be smaller than most backs at the NFL level. He comes in at 5'7, 205 lbs.
As we mentioned earlier, he's not very fast. He doesn't play fast on film and ran a 4.6 40 at the 2019 NFL combine.
But one thing that immediately jumps off the charts is his suddenness.
Singletary embarrasses defenders at times with his stop-and-start ability.
His lateral jump cuts are also a thing a beauty.
While he's definitely not Le'Veon Bell, he does have similar patience in the hole and eludes traffic with a cool and calm demeanor. He doesn't panic and try to do too much on inside runs.
Film Example: Patience
Has the track record
Another impressive thing about Singletary is his consistent production at Florida Atlantic. He ran behind a bad offensive line and still put up 3 consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
He finished with 1,348 yards and 22 touchdowns his junior year.
He caught the ball less and less each year, but his freshman year he had 26 catches for 163 yards. Showing he has potential to thrive as a back in the modern pass-heavy NFL.
He's also a willing pass blocker and because of his good decision making, he shows the mental awareness to potentially pick up complex blitz schemes at the NFL level. Which is one the toughest but necessary traits for an NFL back to have.
Can he be a feature back?
It's tough to tell with Singletary because he plays stronger than his size at times.
If you remember Ahmad Bradshaw with the Giants. Bradshaw was an undersized back but could play physical and knock defenders backwards. However, Bradshaw was a lot quicker than Singletary.
But he runs hard and can plant defenders on their backs. He also has exceptional balance as you'll see in the clips below.
Film Example: Balance and Physical Running Ability
It's hard to imagine Singletary being a feature back at the NFL level due to his lack of size and quickness.
Of the small amount of running backs I've studied so far, Devin Singletary is the most fascinating. I think he could be a good goal line back due to his toughness, elusiveness and patience to sift through the trash.
He also has a lethal jump cut and sudden change of direction. But he lacks is quickness, burst, and size.
I don't see him being a big fantasy contributor this season barring a perfect landing spot or an injury to the other team's starter. But there's a lot to like about him and I can't wait to see how he turns out.