This series will examine all draft prospects that have had official invites to Valley Ranch. Previous research has shown these players are the most likely to be drafted by the Cowboys. For more explanation, read the opening paragraphs here.
Name: CJ Prosise
Position: Running Back
School: Notre Dame
Height: 6’ 1/2"
Weight: 220 LBs
Switched from wide receiver to running back in spring practices and became lead rusher by the fall.
Notre Dame Special Teams Player of the Year
pSparq Score: 127.5 Z-Score: 0.4 NFL Percentile: 63.7
pSparq is an approximation of the "Sparq Score" metric invented by NIKE (with the help of former USC and current Seattle Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll), designed as a way to standardize athletic testing of High School athletes and interpret their athleticism with a sport specific formula. By standardizing a single metric composed of multiple athletic test results, it becomes possible to compare players to the athletic testing scores of players in past draft classes, and to provide context as to how a player will compare athletically to his peers at the NFL level. The Z-Score represents the number of standard deviations (sigma) above or below the mean at a particular position that player falls, 84% of players will have a Z-score of less than 1, 98% will have a Z-score of less than 2, and 99.87% will fall below a Z-Score of 3. There are currently a total of four players who are "3 Sigma Athletes" in the NFL, JJ Watt, Byron Jones, Evan Mathis, and Lane Johnson. For more on pSparq,(and the man behind the math Zach Whitman) check out 3sigmaathlete.com
Measurables vs others at his position:
Note: This spider graph provides a visual representation of a players’ measurable traits, and combine results. The filled in area of the chart, as well as the number in the light grey circle represents the percentile among the player’s peers by position. A score of 85 here represents that out of every 100 players at his position, the player has a better result in that test than 85 of those 100.
Games Studied: Clemson, Georgia Tech, USC,
For a player with almost zero experience at the running back position, Prosise showed an understanding of the nuance of the position. He exhibits good vision on both inside and outside runs, and the ability to press the hole to manipulate defenders opening up room for him to cut the ball up the field. The Notre Dame run game was based mostly out of the shotgun, and featured primarily gap, counter, and sweep runs that allowed him to show very good burst and long speed to break the ball into the open field. On the zone runs that he was asked to run, he bounced, bent, and cut the ball, showing his understanding of what the scheme was asking of him. His 4.48 speed translates to the tape as well, and gives him the ability to finish in the paint. He definitely has room to develop further as a running back both physically and in the nuances of the position, but the fact that he was able to translate so quickly gives me confidence he will continue to develop.
Prosise’s history as receiver shows up when he is asked to release in routes. He has advanced body control, and catches ball naturally both over his head and down low. He can track the ball over his head down the field, and is a weapon on wheel routes or when aligned or motioned wide out of the back field. He is a willing blocker with acceptable technique for a college running back who will need to firm up his base and punch in this area to become consistently reliable in this area at the next level.
Conclusion/Cowboys Projection: CJ Prosise is a very interesting prospect in this class because it’s easy to assume he hasn’t peaked as a running back yet. His ability as a pass catcher would make him immediately viable on third downs in his rookie year, and he could become a very effective lead back by the second half of the season. I would think that the success of David Johnson in Arizona as a rookie last year would help teams feel more comfortable about a player making the wide receiver to running back transition late in college and having success early in the NFL due to physical traits. The Cardinals’ plan for Johnson in 2015 could also set the blueprint for how teams approach working Prosise into their game plans.