Dynasty Prospect Profile: Daniel Lasco
Daniel Lasco, RB, Cal
(percentile rank among all RBs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40 time: 4.46 seconds (83rd)
Vertical: 41.5” (97th)
Broad: 11’3” (100th)
3-cone: 7.22 seconds (13th)
20-yard short shuttle: 4.26 seconds (44th)
Lasco might have surprised people at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he didn’t sneak onto the college landscape.
He signed with Cal as a 4-star recruit (according to ESPN and Scout) and a consensus top-25 RB nationally. And, if nothing else, he proved himself to be a hard worker with the Bears.
During his redshirt season of 2011, Lasco earned the co-scout team player of the year award on offense and was named freshman lifter of the year (in the weight room). As a redshirt frosh in 2012, he came off the bench to play in all 12 games, mostly on special teams -- where he earned special teams MVP honors.
Lasco’s sophomore campaign began with a shoulder injury that kept him out of all contact drills in spring practice. Although returned to action in the fall, the issue never went away and ultimately cost Lasco 4 games. He finished just 3rd on the team in carries in a weak backfield, reaching 10 rushing attempts in a game only 3 times and 4.0 yards per carry in a mere 4 of 8 contests.
Lasco broke out in 2014, garnering 48.3% of the team’s rushing attempts and scoring 5 more total TDs than anyone else on the team. His 2 receiving scores included a 92-yard catch and run from QB Jared Goff that stands as the longest pass play in school history. Lasco hit 100 yards rushing in a game 5 times and 85 yards 3 other times -- despite starting the year with just 8 and 9 carries in the 1st 2 games. He opened the year by being voted a team captain and finished it as team MVP and an honorable mention All-Pac 12. Lasco ranked 6th in the conference in carries and yards, 9th in yards per attempt and 4th in ground scores.
The Cal senior captain opened 2015 on the preseason watch list for the Doak Walker Award (nation’s top RB) and 7th in Todd McShay’s rankings among RB draft prospects. But Lasco suffered a strained hip against San Diego State in the 2nd game, missed 2 weeks and never seemed to get all the way back. He rushed just 41 more times over his final 6 contests and added an ankle sprain in November.
(Courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com)
Games watched: Colorado (2014), San Diego State
The biggest takeaway here is that we don’t have much to go on. Draft Breakdown understandably only has 2 games available for a guy who only got to spend 1 college season as a starter. It seems fitting that 1 of those videos comes from the week when Lasco hurt his hip last year.
So what did I see in this limited view? I saw enough to not get too caught up in the 3 big Combine measurements that blew up Lasco’s name.
That’s not to say he looks bad, or even underwhelming. Lasco -- at least in these 2 games -- comes off as a fine-looking back. He caught a couple of passes, fared OK in a few pass-blocking situations and ran the ball decently. He looks like a hard-runner who isn’t afraid of contact.
Lasco turned this hard-running and determination into the aforementioned school-record catch-and-run TD vs. Colorado in 2014. Lasco meets traffic at the sideline, cuts in away from it, bounces off a tackle attempt and then blazes down the sideline for the score.
He adds a spin move in the San Diego State video from last season:
You’d expect to see some athleticism from the guy who blew up the Combine. But a play from earlier in that SDSU game makes me wonder whether Lasco believes a little too much in his ability. Mid-run, he tries to leap over a standing tackler but winds up hitting the defender feet first and getting tossed the ground. That stuff won’t help the durability of a guy who struggled on that front throughout college.
If that tackler tries to go low, of course, Lasco likely hurdles him to deliver a big highlight. But the guy wasn't even crouching when Lasco left the ground.
More importantly, though, I didn’t see many “wow” plays for a runner with “wow” explosiveness in his lower body. Lasco lacks the lateral agility to create opportunities in the backfield. The fact that he tested in the 13th percentile in the 3-cone drill and 44th percentile in the short shuttle vs. strong finishes in the straight running and jumping supports the straight-line player that shows up on the field.
Granted, these takes come from very limited viewing, but check out the “highlight” video below. I can only assume that this is a collection of top plays by someone looking to highlight Lasco’s positive qualities and performances. Let me know how many times you say “wow” ...
You had probably never heard of Lasco before his eye-popping Combine numbers. I hadn’t. And they were quite impressive. His 11’3 broad jump was the longest ever by a RB at the Combine and the 7th best jump by any player. His 41.5” vertical stands 3rd all-time among RBs. Lasco even ranked 2nd among RBs at this year’s Combine in the 60-yard shuttle.
Throw his size into the equation and you get the top SPARQ score among this RB class, plus Hall of Fame fantasy bust David Wilson as the top comparable on both PlayerProfiler and Mockdraftable. That might seem like a blinking warning signal, but a neck injury kept Wilson from really getting a chance to prove himself (good or bad). On the positive side, fantasy nation fell in love with Wilson because he looked electric in limited opportunities before that fateful 2013 season.
But even that potentially positive athletic comparison to Wilson looks a little misleading. Wilson tops Lasco’s “similar players” list on Mockdraftable, but he does so at a relatively low matching rate of 74.8%. To put that into context, click over to Wilson’s similar players list and you won’t even find Lasco among the top 10. On PlayerProfiler, Wilson’s top comparable is Bishop Sankey (ewww) -- not Lasco.
Wilson fared much better in the 3-cone drill (42nd percentile) and 20-yard shuttle (80th) than Lasco, adding agility to his straight-line speed and explosiveness.
Like at least several other RBs in this class, Lasco could do just fine -- in real life and fantasy -- in the right NFL situation. But he doesn’t look like a player who’s going to do special things or create value where it’s not immediately obvious. His durability issues throughout college certainly won’t help any front office or coaching staff view Lasco as a potential lead back.
Lasco has, at least, demonstrated both rushing and receiving ability. So he appears capable of some fantasy value in small spurts. Just don’t get starry-eyed over the athletic profile when the on-field results have yet to match.