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Dynasty Prospect Profile: Donnel Pumphrey

By Kevin English 12:04pm EDT 4/19/17

Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State

Height: 5'8

Weight: 176

Age: 22.4


Combine Results

(percentile rank among all RBs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):

40-yard dash: 4.48 seconds (77th)

Vertical: 33.5 inches (36th)

Broad: 117 inches (43rd)

3-cone: DNP

20-yard shuttle: DNP


College Career

If you value production, you’ll love Donnel Pumphrey.

The 22-year-old owns the all-time FBS rushing record (albeit with a caveat). He backed that up with strong efficiency numbers. He even exits college with a clean injury history -- pretty impressive for someone with 1,159 career touches.

But what about his size?

Yeah ... that's a bit of a dilemma.

Back at the Senior Bowl in January, Pumphrey weighed 169 pounds. Weeks later at the NFL Combine, he tipped the scales at 176.

If that still sounds absurdly light for a RB ... well, it is. Just look at this list. Courtesy of Pro Football Reference, we see past production from NFL RBs weighting 180 pounds or less. Scan through the names. Scan through the numbers.

It's ugly, right? From recent years, only Warrick Dunn presents a shred of optimism. And if you look on NFL.com, he's listed at 187 pounds -- likely a more realistic number.

Danny Woodhead and Darren Sproles are frequently used as comps for Pumphrey. But Sproles is listed at 190 pounds; Woodhead at 200. Pumphrey is simply in a class of his own.

That extends to hand size, too. While Pumphrey posted an acceptable fumble rate (115.9), his 8.5-inch hands place him in the 5th percentile, per MockDraftable. That's a potential issue when he faces bigger and stronger defenders.

While size is a clear knock against Pumphrey, could he prove valuable as an 8 or 10-touch per game asset? Let's dig into the tape.


Film Study

Courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com

Games watched - California, Fresno State, Houston

Pumphrey brings the slippery skill set you'd expect from a small RB. But he adds an element of patience that's surely been developed over 1,059 college carries.

Here's another example of his patience on a stutter step scamper. Note the burst and quick feet to daylight.

This next clip turns up just a short gain. But we see more of Pumphrey's choppy feet and change of direction skills.

With ankle-breaking ability like this, you can see a place for Pumphrey in the NFL...

It's mildly surprising that SDSU didn't utilize his skill set more in the passing game. Perhaps a lack of trust catching the ball played a role (he fails to secure the pass in this final clip). Still, he shows off the type of short-area quickness to break open...

Fantasy Potential

As a pint-sized RB, Pumphrey's upside looks limited at the next level. Inside runs will become more difficult, while red zone opportunities are unlikely to be plentiful. Pass protection provides another vulnerable area.

Pumphrey might add some special teams value, but he returned just 5 kicks and 0 punts in college.

In a recent radio interview, he admitted that he's likely to be drafted in the 5th or 6th rounds. “Even if I don’t get drafted, if I make it to a training camp, I’ll make a team," Pumphrey said. Gotta love the attitude.

While his positives are significant (quickness, versatility, college production), his size figures to severely limit his pro potential. He's a fringe top-15 dynasty RB in a loaded 2017 class.

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