How Nice is Guice? – Is Derrius Guice a First Round Pick in the NFL Draft?

By Ha Kung Wong 

Twitter: @FBGarbageTime

There’s been lots of talk about Derrius Guice and his “suspicious” answers concerning questions he was asked during the NFL Combine interview process.  For those who are unaware, he said this on SiriusXM NFL Radio about his interviews:

“I’d go in one room and a team would ask me, ‘Do I like men?’ just to see my reaction.  They’d try to bring up one of my family members or somebody and tell me, ‘Hey, man, I heard your mom sells herself. How do you feel about that?’ Just random stuff like that, man, to see how you respond.”

That, in and of itself, makes NFL teams look pretty bad, but after the NFL indicated they would launch an investigation, Guice backtracked and said he was taken out of context.  There’s tons to dissect there, particularly if none of this was actually true, but let’s just cut to the chase — although it’s something to seriously take into account, his maturity level is only one factor to consider when deciding whether and when to draft him.

Does this take him down a spot in my book?  Sure it does.  But does it take him out of the first round?  For those teams with late first round draft picks who could use a solid every-down RB, like the Seahawks or Eagles for instance, I don’t think so.  Heck, I could even envision either the Browns or Broncos to trade back from the 4th or 5th pick respectively and taking Guice later in the first round.  And all of that makes sense to me.  Why?  Well, let’s take a look.

Derrius Guice – LSU – RB

LSU Rushing & Receiving Stats
Rush Rush Rush Rush Rece Rece Rece Rece
Year G Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD
*2015 11 51 436 8.5 3 5 20 4.0 0
*2016 12 183 1387 7.6 15 9 106 11.8 1
*2017 12 237 1251 5.3 11 18 124 6.9 2
Career 471 3074 6.5 29 32 250 7.8 3

College

Guice was a big prospect entering LSU, and didn’t dissappoint when he had to sub in for an injured All-Conference Leonard Fournette during the 2016 season.  He managed to start 6 of the 12 games he played that season, surprisingly still piling up the most rushing yards (1,387) and most TDs (16) of any RB in the SEC.  He demonstrated good vision and strength, but most notably, did not shy away from contact.  In fact, he almost sought out contact at the end of runs.  Just take a look at this play at the 56 second mark against Arkansas.

Unfortunately, his 2017 season, after Fournette had left for Jacksonville, was solid but not nearly as impressive, likely due to a left leg injury that significantly hampered his playing time and his burst while on the field.  But regardless of that fact, Guice still managed to put up 276 yards on Ole Miss that made him the first player in SEC history to have three career 250+ yard games.  And after it was all said and done, he still was the RB with the 5th most yards after contact behind or at the line of scrimmage of those eligible for the draft.

Combine and Pro Day

40 Yard Dash – 4.49 sec.

Bench Press – 15 reps

Vertical Jump – 31.5 inches

Guice ended up with an uneven Combine, having the 5th fastest 40-yard dash time, but only 16th best bench press, and tied for the 5th worst vertical jump among RBs at the Combine, but had a solid performance in running and catching drills.

I do find the low bench press surprising and perhaps a little concerning, considering his propensity to initiate contact.  But I’m mostly concerned that he didn’t try that hard to put up additional reps at the Combine, which may indicate a sense of mild entitlement or lack of commitment.  His Pro Day reportedly didn’t move the needle either way, but he still looked solid on drills.

His discussion of the interviews at the Combine perhaps received the most media attention, but I think watching his drills at both the Combine and his Pro Day gives a better idea of what you’d be getting in the draft.

Conclusion

Guice appears to be a potential backfield difference maker as an every-down between the tackles runner that can do well after contact, also having some burst in the open field.  He’s a patient runner that shows good vision and solid recognition, and is able to stick to the script when in danger, yet create on the fly if necessary.  He may not have the acceleration to consistently make the corner and isn’t a prolific pass catcher, but those aspects of his game may improve with coaching and opportunity.  He’s ideally suited initially as a plug-and-play early down back complemented by a 3rd down/passing down back, but could take over as a bell cow over time.  Off-field issues so far are non-specific, with teams labeling him a “loose cannon” without any specific examples.  His strange SiriusXM radio interview is worth noting, but is likely chalked up to slight immaturity.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go in the 1st Round of the Draft, but if he slips to the 2nd Round, I think he’ll be a steal.  I could see him going in the second half of the 1st Round to the Ravens, Seahawks, Lions, Patriots or Eagles, and if he slips to the 2nd Round, I could see him going to any of the previous teams plus the Panthers, Jets, Broncos, Browns or Giants (assuming the Browns and Giants don’t take Saquon Barkley in the 1st Round).

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