Dynasty Prospect Scouting Report: Dameon Pierce
Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
40-yard dash: 4.59 seconds
3-cone time: DNP
Short shuttle: DNP
Broad jump: 119 inches
Vertical jump: 34.5 inches
A 4-star recruit, Pierce chose Florida over Alabama, Georgia, Miami and others.
The 2018 Gators rostered RBs Lamical Perine and Jordan Scarlett, a pair of eventual mid-round draft picks. So Pierce did just fine to earn 69 carries as a true freshman.
Pierce’s workload didn’t increase in year 2, as he averaged just 4.5 attempts per game. Perine returned for his senior season; Scarlett left for the pros.
2020 produced an uptick in Pierce’s workload, but nothing significant. While his 106 rushes led the team, Malik Davis (a 3-star senior) and Nay’Quan Wright (a 4-star sophomore) combined for 120 attempts.
2021 was more of the same — minus one tweak. Mobile QB Emory Jones took over for current Buc Kyle Trask and posted 143 rushes. Pierce ranked 2nd on the team with 100, but Davis (92) and Wright (76) were close behind.
So the 218-pounder exits school with a single-game career-high of just 15 carries (2020). This past year, he reached double-digit attempts only twice.
Pierce at least did well to snag 36 passes over the past 2 seasons. And last year, he ranked top-6 among 71 qualifiers in the ’22 class in yards per catch, yards per route run and PFF receiving grade. He went without a drop.
As we’ll see on tape, Pierce comes across as an impressive runner with clear power and contact balance.
What’s unclear is why Florida’s staff never handed him a larger workload.
One thing to keep in mind: Pierce committed to Florida in August of 2017 — a few months before the Gators hired HC Dan Mullen. (Mullen was eventually fired last November.)
Pierce was recruited by Ja'Juan Seider, Florida’s RBs coach at the time. He left for Penn State after the 2017 season.
“If Coach Seider would’ve been one of the coaches that left with coach Mac [Jim McElwain, who was fired in October of 2017) then I would’ve probably decommitted, honestly,” Pierce said via ESPN. “Because Coach Seider and I have a great relationship between each other. He understands what I want as a football player and he’s what I want out of a coach and a leader.”
So Pierce played all 4 seasons without his expected position coach and HC.
Still, Pierce's usage -- particularly this past season -- remains a mystery, especially when you dig into his tape...
Games watched: Alabama, Georgia, UCF, Kentucky, Samford, Oklahoma (2020), Arkansas (2020)
You might point to size as a potential reason for the minimal workloads. But remember, Pierce carries 218 pounds on a 5’10 frame. He’s an absolute tank. And it shows on tape -- even against top-tier competition.
In the Georgia game alone, Pierce was credited by Pro Football Focus with 5 missed tackles forced. He busted off 3 runs of 10+ yards, including the one below.
His effectiveness shows up in the macro numbers, as Pierce ranked 3rd in the nation in missed tackles forced per attempt. Per PFF, he also led the '22 class in rushing grade (93.5).
Now, Pierce shouldn't be confused with the shiftier backs in this class -- say, FSU's James Cook. But there were several cases of Pierce showing the ability to plant his foot in the ground and get upfield quickly. According to MockDraftable, Pierce's 10-yard split of 1.51 seconds ranks in the 86th percentile among all Combine RBs since 1999. So, in an instant, he's able to reach top speed...
Pierce isn't just a hard-charging, contact-hungry back. He also shows an ability to run patiently. The Gators' 2021 O-line underwent a good bit of turnover, so it's quite impressive that he managed to average 5.7 YPC.
Pierce wasn't asked to do much creatively as a pass catcher; swings and dump-offs made up most of his usage. Once in awhile, he'd see time out wide, but he wasn't some mismatch weapon on the perimeter.
I also wouldn't call Pierce a natural pass catcher, despite his 0 drops from 2021. The best part in the clip below is yet another broken tackle, a skill that just might lead Pierce's NFL team to get him the ball in space.
It's no surprise, but Pierce's tenacity also surfaced in pass protection. While it's a small sample, on 21 career pass-blocking opportunities, he allowed only 1 pressure and 0 sacks (via PFF).
In a class that’s thin beyond Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker, Pierce profiles as a potential steal.
While his overall production profile leaves you wanting more, what he showed on a limited sample was impressive. We’re probably not looking at a 50-catch, 3-down contributor. But if things break right, something like 220 carries and 30 catches seems attainable.
Now, maybe the Florida staff had reason to limit Pierce’s reps. Or maybe we’re looking at an Alvin Kamara-type situation. Recall that Kamara averaged just 11.8 touches per game at Tennessee.
Even if we can’t point to Pierce as a proven workhorse, he should at least enter the league with less tread off his tires. (Injuries weren't an issue at Florida, either.) And between the size, elusiveness and pass blocking upside, there’s enough here to get fantasy owners' attention.
One of my personal favorites in this class, I’ll hope for a strong landing spot to see if Pierce — a hopeful Round 3/4 pick — can carve out a year 1 role. Landing with Buffalo, Arizona, Houston or the Chargers would gain my approval.