NFL Draft 2017 Scouting Report: RB T.J. Logan, No. Carolina
*Our RB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.
*We use the term “Power RB” to separate physically bigger, more between-the-tackles–capable RBs from our “speed RBs” group. “Speed RBs” are physically smaller, but much faster/quicker, and less likely to flourish between the tackles.
*This reported was completed after the draft.
It took me a while to think of this parallel, and I think it’s key for this scouting report – I don’t get why T.J. Logan was virtually ignored in the NFL Draft process (including by me) while people worshipped at the Alvin Kamara alter. I’m going to come back to the Logan v. Kamara debate to add perspective on Logan, but first let me paint the picture of what I see with Logan.
The one note I made that stands out to me/is what I think of when I think of Logan, after watching several of his game tapes, is that Logan plays like a less confident Darren McFadden.
Logan is a slightly smaller/shorter version of McFadden. Neither the greatest between-the-tackles runners, but not the worst either – for their size they will hit the hole, and if there is congestion in their way, they have no problem putting the shoulder into it. My first impression of T.J. Logan, before I really studied him over two years’ worth of games, was that he was a more finesse RB/WR type of hopeful. When I really watched him play by play in several games from 2015 to 2016 – I gained a lot of respect for him as a runner. He’s a lot tougher than I realized. He won’t be an NFL team’s workhorse, but he’s not someone who has to be limited to one gimmick carry per game either. You could give him 10+ carries game for a stretch if you really wanted to.
The reason you would want to give Logan 8–10 carries a game is that he has legit 4.3+ speed. A terrific burst once he sees open space. He’s definitely a homerun hitter. I could try to describe Logan as a runner in words, but I think a three-play visual from a game in 2016 will give you a pretty good idea of what I see. I’m not cherry-picking moments to sway the argument – actually, two of the three plays that I want you to watch are just basic plays to give you a tiny idea of what Logan is all about. The third of the three plays is the thing that is likely going to make you rise up out of your seat.
I’d like you to watch this tape from the 0:15 second mark and watch three consecutive plays from there. Feel free to watch the entire game tape, but definitely watch these three plays. It’s from Logan’s 2016 matchup versus Florida State. In the ACC, matchups with Florida State and Clemson are great to watch for scouting – you get to observe a prospect playing against NFL size and speed defenders.
Play #1 is a Mitchell Trubisky scramble and short toss to T.J. Logan, who is then going to race it in for a touchdown. It’s nothing spectacular, but I just wanted to give you a glimpse of Logan’s hands. He’s a decent receiver out of the backfield. He usually catches his passes with his hands, like you’re supposed to in the NFL, and as he displays them on this simple play. He’s not an ace receiver, but he’s competent enough. B-/C+ hands.
Play #2 is a very vanilla run off tackle. I ask that you watch this just to show you the kind of runner Logan is. It’s a simple carry into traffic. He has defenders clogging the lane and he just bangs into it for a normal running back carry you’d see a million times a year. I show this to dispel any myth/preconceived notion that Logan is just a smaller, frail scatback/three-down type RB prospect. He can go between the tackles – and I would argue he’s better at it and less nervous about it than when I watch Alvin Kamara do so on tape.
The third play is the money play. Around the 0:50 mark.
Prepare to fall in love, seriously. I’m not sure I’ve seen a better display of speed from a college running back in my 2017 studies. It’s definitely a top five play seared into my mind from this draft class. The tape is going to speak for itself, but let me add – not any human could turn on the jets like that versus mostly NFL-level defenders…that is something you would like to possess and utilize in spots for your NFL offense.
I had kind of pigeonholed Logan as that finesse, too-small running back who had obvious speed but would be a limited-touch guy in the NFL. Maybe just a kick returner only. The more I watched and really studied his 2016 work – I see there is much more to be uncovered with Logan. If you’re buying into my Tyreek Hill type players becoming a major part of NFL offenses theory – Logan is one of those guys that can fit the mold for the Arizona Cardinals.
Now, back to comparing Logan to Alvin Kamara. Take a quick look at their best seasons of performance, and you’ll see there’s not much difference in their production or workload. However, take a look at their measurables and you tell me who you’d rather have.
Best seasons in college:
120 carries, 5.4 ypc, 894 total yards, 5 rushing TDs, 5 receiving TDs = T.J. Logan (2016)
103 carries, 5.8 ypc, 990 total yards, 9 rushing TDs, 4 receiving TDs = Kamara (2016)
Consider that Kamara got to be a lead back for a stretch due to an injury to the main starter entering the season. Logan split with legit NFL RB hopeful, the bruiser Elijah Hood (a 1,000+ yard rusher at UNC in a season).
5′10″/214, 9.3″ hands, 4.56 40-time, 7.10 three-cone, 15 bench reps = Kamara
5′9″/196, 9.0″ hands, 4.37 40-time, 6.61 three-cone, 17 bench reps = Logan
*Logan is 18 pounds lighter and benched more than Kamara.
I’m not saying Kamara is a worthless prospect – I just don’t get how people are so excited by him and are barely aware Logan is in the NFL.
Logan obviously has NFL athleticism…starter-level talent. What he also has is potential for that new-era ‘weapon’ position – lines up all over the field and creates mismatches as a runner-receiver. Logan, like Tyreek Hill, may be a better pro than college player because of the way he’ll be used…potentially.
T.J. Logan, through the lens of our “Speed RB” Scouting Algorithm
Four of Logan’s 10 TDs in 2016 were against FCS James Madison (3) and Citadel (1)…TD production a little tied to lesser opponents. For a player possessing so much homerun potential, Logan had sporadic home runs/TDs…he’s a definite lightning-strike player more than a consistent dominator. On the other hand, he had two TDs versus Florida State, and two TDs versus Georgia (one of them a KR TD) last season. He’s scored 16 TDs in his last 22 games of college play.
Logan did not rush for more than 80 yards in any game in 2016 and never combined for 100+ total rush+rec. yards in a game in 2016. Not good. Not what you’d expect given his measured athleticism and opportunity. He did run for 100+ yards in a game a few times in his career…including in a bowl game, but did not do so in 2016.
In 2016, Logan led the ACC in kick return average (32.9)…which was also good enough for #2 in the nation.
In his career, Logan has returned five kicks for a TD – #8 all-time in the NCAA for a career (since 1976).
5′9″/196, 32″ arms, 9.0″ hands
4.37 40-time, 6.61 three-cone (at Pro Day)
17 bench reps, 33.5″ vertical, 10′1″ broad jump
The NFL “Speed RB” whom T.J. Logan most compares with statistically in college, within our system:
Jahvid Best makes some sense as a comparison, if you remember him – promising player whose career was cut short by concussions.
The Jamaal Charles comp…it intrigued me when I saw it. I can’t say ‘next Jamaal Charles‘, but I do see some Jamaal in Logan; I cannot tell a lie. A little bit (said as Robert DeNiro).
*A score of 8.50+ is where we see a stronger correlation of RBs going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL RB.
All of the RB ratings are based on a 0–10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.
Overall rating/score = A combination of several on-field performance measures, including refinement for the strength of opponents faced, mixed with all the physical measurement metrics – then compared/rated historically within our database and formulas. More of a traditional three-down search – runner, blocker, and receiver.
*RB-Re score = New/testing in 2017. Our new formula/rating that attempts to identify and quantify a prospect’s receiving skills even deeper than in our original formulas. RB prospects can now make it/thrive in the NFL strictly based on their receiving skills – it is an individual attribute sought out for the NFL and no longer dismissed or overlooked. Our rating combines a study of their receiving numbers in college in relation to their offense and opponents, as well as profiling size-speed-agility along with hand size measurables, etc.
*RB-Ru score = New/testing in 2017. Our new formula/rating that attempts to classify and quantify an RB prospect’s ability strictly as a runner of the ball. Our rating combines a study of their rushing numbers in college in relation to their offense and strength of opponents, as well as profiling size-speed-agility along with various size measurables, etc.
Raw Speed Metric = A combination of several speed and size measurements from the NFL Combine, judged along with physical size profile, and then compared/rated historically within our database and scouting formulas. This is a rating strictly for RBs of a similar/bigger size profile.
Agility Metric = A combination of several speed and agility measurements from the NFL Combine, judged along with physical size profile, and then compared/rated historically within our database and scouting formulas. This is a rating strictly for RBs of a similar/bigger size profile.
2017 NFL Draft outlook…
Logan went in the 5th round of the draft but probably should’ve been taken 1–2 rounds higher (or Alvin Kamara taken 2–3 rounds lower) Logan is a legit ‘homerun threat’ prospect in the NFL; he has unteachable athletic gifts to work with. His measurables should’ve warranted more attention pre-draft.
Let me also add – how Kyle Shanahan fell in love with awful Joe Williams, but T.J. Logan just sailed by everyone’s radar – a pox on the 49ers’ scouting.
NFL Outlook: Logan will be at the mercy of his head coaches. It would be very easy to pigeonhole Logan as a return man and 1–2 touch pregame gimmick. But if a coach were to look at Logan as his Tyreek Hill, perhaps new plays are put into effect – plays to get him out in space 1–3 times per game with carries and 3–5 targets per game. The opportunity to explore it is there – the question is whether a head coach will take advantage. Logan might be in the right place at the right time in NFL history where he can thrive more in the pros than in college. Not a sure thing, but I think the discussion is worth having.
– R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics.com, and a football projections analyst and writer for Fantasy Football Metrics.com. Read more of his work on FantasyPros and various football websites. His group also provides player projections for Advanced Sports Logic’s football software The Machine.