Here’s the 2018 NFL Draft profile on running back Akrum Wadley out of the University of Iowa breaking down his strengths, weaknesses, video highlights, and whether he makes sense for the New York Jets.
Akrum Wadley bears a striking resemblance to one of the greatest to ever run the football. Though not as prolific out of college, we look at this 5’10” 194-pound running back to see exactly what makes him special and if he would be a good fit for the New York Jets.
Hard cuts to the left, then jukes to his right, he spins and off he goes into the end-zone. In celebration, he flips the ball into the referee’s hands. In the same way, out of Oklahoma State University and into Canton, Ohio, Barry Sanders played with a unique style that then made the running game more exciting than the passing.
Obviously, there is no comparison between the two statistically. Nonetheless, Wadley exhibits similarities in patience, balance, dancer-like footwork, quickness on the cutback and the ability to start-stop and change direction effortlessly.
An intuitive runner, Wadley also demonstrates beautiful field vision allowing him to see the smallest crease as he’s slicing through the defense turning a 2nd & 5 into a 50-yard play downfield.
Wadley is a hybrid running back/wide receiver. A major benefit is how comfortable he is catching the ball in open space from scrimmage and special teams on kick returns. His senior year, Wadley added 353 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns to Iowa’s offense.
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His quickness makes him elusive, more speed and power would make him unstoppable.
Adding extra weight could equate to more power. Furthermore, with his current skill set, becoming more of a power runner removes the uncertainty about his endurance.
Indeed, bigger isn’t always better. Yet, in Wadley’s case, there is a concern as to whether gaining a few extra pounds is beneficial for shedding off tacklers at the second level, better pass blocking and building endurance for an every-down back.
Wadley is fun to watch, even if he is considered below the ideal measurables. In any case, it didn’t stop a 5’9” and 200-pound Sanders and surely, he won’t stop a hungry Hawkeye from Newark, New Jersey.
Additionally, the implications of drafting Wadley could involve the release of Bilal Powell or Elijah McGuire, which would perhaps be more detrimental than beneficial. Wadley could fit nicely into the Jets rotation, as a burst out of the backfield bringing his elusiveness, vision and pass catching abilities – but at what cost?
The only way the Jets would add Wadley to the mix is by possibly releasing or trading Powell during draft weekend. Either way, if Wadley ends up getting drafted by the Jets, he’d be a very good prospect with tremendous upside for a bright future.