Derrius Guice will be playing in his age 23 season in 2020. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he had a difficult life growing up. His father was murdered when he was five years old after an altercation at Denny’s restaurant. Guice used football as a way of dealing with the tragedies of life, and describes his running style as ‘angry.’
After initially starting at a local public high school, Guice ended up transferring to a predominately white and affluent private high school, called Catholic High. Unfortunately, Guice experienced bullying and racism for the first time there.
Not fitting in because he was a black kid in an all-white school, he wanted to transfer back to his old school, but his mom did not let him (she viewed this as a rare opportunity to utilize the scholarship to succeed). Guice was befriended and guided by a white guidance counselor at the school. The situation is similar to the movie The Blind Side.
In his senior year of high school, Guice rushed for 1,341 yards and 21 touchdowns, helping his team make it to the playoffs. He was asked to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and eventually rated as a five-star recruit. He was considered the second-best high school running back in the country at the time behind current New England Patriots running back Damien Harris. Guice promised his father that he would attend LSU before his death, and he fulfilled that promise.
As a true freshman at LSU in 2015, Guice served as a backup to Leonard Fournette, playing in 11 games demonstrating his explosiveness with an average of 8.5 yards per carry over 51 carries. In his sophomore season, he continued backing up Fournette but ended up starting when Fournette got injured.
Guice became one of four running backs in SEC history to record multiple 250-yard rushing performances in a career, including Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker, and Moe Williams.
Guice only played in limited games in his junior year due to the left leg injury (left knee sprain) but finished the season with 237 rushing attempts, 1,251 yards, and an impressive 5.3 yards per carry, 11 rushing touchdowns, as well as 18 receptions and two additional touchdowns.
Measuring 5’ 10 ½” tall and 224 pounds at the NFL Combine, he ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash. Forgoing his senior season, scouts looked at Guice as a first or second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Oozing with talent, Derrius Guice is a physical, high-velocity runner that has drawn comparisons to Ezekiel Elliot (without the receiving abilities).
There were some concerns about his character that he was lazy, immature, and dishonest, but those did not turn out to be true. The Redskins chose him in the second round.
Unfortunately, in his first preseason game as a rookie, he sustained a torn ACL. Ugh, and just like that his season, and potentially his career changed. Ideally, someone suffering an ACL tear either gets the surgery done within a day or two if there is minimal swelling, or more commonly waits a few weeks to let things calm down and then has the ACL reconstruction surgery done.
Well, Guice’s journey wasn’t that straightforward. Unfortunately, he suffered an infection that required 7 weeks of IV antibiotics through (likely a PICC line) in his arm. Infections complicate everything in medicine, especially reconstruction surgeries (after placing the graft). Guice’s timeline requires a total of FOUR operations and significantly pushed back Guice’s schedule, check here for further details.
A hamstring strain complicated Guice’s rehab that he suffered in May/June of 2019, although the report didn’t come out until July 12. The hamstring is a protective muscle group for the ACL, and unfortunately, very commonly injured in NFL players (likely because they don’t regularly do eccentric exercises like Nordic hamstring curls). ACLs traditionally take about two years to get back to ‘normal,’ especially in RBs, use Dalvin Cook as a good example.
In 2019 Guice made his debut in Week 1 but unfortunately suffered a new injury, a significant meniscal tear this time to the right knee, and it required surgery. I discussed this here. The injury caused him to miss the majority of the season, returning in Week 11. Unfortunately, he suffered another knee injury, an MCL sprain to his left knee in Week 14. It is the same knee that he had his ACL reconstruction surgery done on, which ended his season prematurely.
Guice’s angry running style has become a double-edged sword. When healthy, he puts up impressive rushing numbers and is very explosive. Unfortunately, this same rushing intensity seems to take its toll on his knees. He’s already suffered two significant knee injuries, the torn ACL on his left knee and a torn meniscus in his right knee, both requiring surgery. He then suffered a re-injury to his left knee, this time a sprained MCL.
While still young and filled with potential; unfortunately, Guice’s running style and knee injuries do not bode well for his future. While I would love to see him be able to string together a couple of seasons of injury-free play, the odds are not in his favor.
The best predictor of future injury is past injury, and his knees have already failed him three different times (four if you include college). We have seen many running backs in the past have their careers derailed by injuries, and I hope Guice does not fall into this category.
The Derrius Guice outlook for the 2020 season is… injury? How else do you project a running back who has played only five games and started one in two seasons? Guice has a total of 42 carries and nine targets. At least he has scored a total of three times. Guice is at an ADP of 82, and RB30 (June 4th) puts him around the seventh round.
Perhaps season three will be different for Guice. When he is on the field, he is an athletic marvel who can run and catch. His 5.8 yards per carry average is of high quality, but he will have to compete with Adrian Peterson, Bryce Love, Peyton Barber, J.D. McKissic, Josh Ferguson, and rookie Antonio Gibson who they drafted in the third round for touches.
Guice is far more talented than all of them, but Washington will be tentative about his health until he proves otherwise. The Redskins offensive line is a low-tier group that utilizes an outside zone blocking scheme, and they will have two new starters.
Wes Schweitzer will replace Ereck Flowers at right guard, and Geron Christian III replaces Donald Penn at left guard. Washington drafted Saahdiq Charles in the fourth round and fifth-rounder Keith Ismael in reserve roles. Chase Roullier and Brandon Scherff return. Scherff is a monster road grader for the team.
The Redskins don't offer much help to Guice offensively. Terry McLaurin is the best option, but names such as Kelvin Harmon, Trey Quinn, Steven Sims, Jeremy Sprinkle don't scare many defensive coordinators. Fourth-round rookie Antonio Gandy-Golden is unproven.
Sports Injury Predictor currently calculates that Guice has a 58.2% chance of injury in 2020, with a projected 1.6 games missed this upcoming season. Remember, Guice’s risk of reinjury to his knee is still quite high. Inherently there is a 30% risk of re-tearing his ACL again over the next two years (probably November 2020), and he has already suffered multiple new knee injuries since his ACL reconstruction.
Due to his knee injuries, Guice has never rushed more than 237 carries in a season over the past five years. If Guice can average an impressive 5.8 yards per carry in the NFL, he will be able to make a name for himself. Despite not being known as much of a receiving threat, Guice does contribute to this category. He caught 7 of 9 passes in 2019 throughout five games.
Guice, unfortunately, does not have the backfield to himself in 2020, as veteran Adrian Peterson re-signed, and Antonio Gibson, who has a similar skill set to Christian McCaffrey, was added. Don’t forget about Bryce Love, who is returning from his own ACL reconstruction surgery, and will get some touches as well.
The talent and rushing style is there without question. I would consider Guice’s 2020 season successful if he plays in more than ten games, rushes over 200 times, and averages over 5.5 yards per carry. I’d love to see him record over 50 receptions as well. Whether or not that is realistic is the question.
As of this writing (June 10), Guice is going in the same area as Sony Michel, Kareem Hunt, Ronald Jones, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn.
Guice is interesting because he can finish as a top-12 back if he plays all 16 games. He could also finish out of range and undraftable. For insurance purposes taking his hand-cuff is essential, but which one of the five running backs will it be?
Unless he happens to fall to me as my flex option, or my first reserve running back, Guice won’t find his way on my roster in 2020.
Injury Risk: High. 8.5/10.
|Projected Missed||Probability of injury per game ?||Probablity of injury in the season ?|
|Dec 8, 2019||Knee MCL Sprain Grade 2||He suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee at Green Bay which ended his season.|
|Sep 8, 2019||Knee Meniscus Tear||Derrius Guice injured his other knee in Week 1. He underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus and missed 9 games|
|Aug 9, 2018||Knee ACL Tear Grade 3||Guice tore his left ACL in the preseason opener and missed the entire 2018 campaign.|
|Sep 16, 2017||Knee Strain Grade 1||Guice injured his left knee on September 16, 2017. He was limited the following week before sitting out the next game.|