LeSean McCoy is still one of the best running backs in the NFL but after the Buffalo Bills led the NFL in rushing for two consecutive seasons, the ground game regressed in 2017. Mike Tolbert was largely ineffective and when McCoy was on the sidelines, the Bills’ struggled to move the ball. The six-time Pro Bowler will be 30-years old at the start of the 2018 season and Buffalo needs to find a running back that can complement him and potentially be his successor. One candidate to do just that is Arizona State’s Kalen Ballage. Ballage is a big, powerful and fast running back that has downright freakish athleticism.
According to DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline, Ballage met with Bills’ representatives after what he reports some have called the ‘best pro day workout by a running back’ they’ve seen. Ballage was timed at 4.35-seconds in the 40-yard dash and posted a 37-inch vertical leap. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he posted a 10-foot-2 inch broad jump, a 6.91-second three cone and ran the short shuttle in 4.35 seconds.
Ballage is 6-foot-1, 227-pounds, but he’s not your average bruising running back. He returns kicks and excels as a pass catcher out of the backfield. He has a tendency to run a bit too upright and you’d like to see him break more tackles given his frame, but he’s a big-play threat that is reminiscent of Karlos Williams.
In his four years at Arizona State, Ballage rushed for 1,984 yards and 27 touchdowns on 450 carries, adding 82 receptions for 684 yards and two receiving touchdowns. He averaged 22.1 yards-per-return on 49 kickoffs.
Buffalo recently signed veteran running back Chris Ivory but it’d be in their best interest to invest in one of the talented running backs in this year’s loaded draft class.