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Is C.J. Prosise the versatile back the Redskins need?

Mar 30, 2016, 2:40 PM EDT


Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 29 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how he might fit in Washington.

J. Prosise
Running back
Notre Dame

Height: 6-0
Weight: 220
40-yard dash: 4.48

Projected draft round: 3-4


What they’re saying

Ascending running back prospect with the physical build to handle a workload, the athleticism to create for himself and the hands to keep stacking total yardage up. While Prosise has the acceleration and play strength to fit into an NFL offense, he needs to become a shade more decisive and has to improve in protections if he is to become a three-­down option. Prosise looks like an immediate “committee” runner with future starter potential.

Lance Zierlein,

How he fits the Redskins: With Alfred Morris now wearing Cowboys colors the Redskins need a running back to pair with Matt Jones. One of the reasons they let Morris go is that they want a more versatile back, one who is a threat to catch passes out of the backfield.

Prosise certainly has pass catching on his resume. He started out at Notre Dame as a slot receiver. In 2014 as a redshirt sophomore he 29 passes for 516 yards (a team-leading 17.8 yards per catch) and two touchdowns.

He switched to running back during spring practice last year and he caught on well enough to be the team’s leading rusher with 1,029 yards on 157 carries and 11 touchdowns. But he didn’t forget how to catch passes and move up the field (26 receptions, 308 yards).

Prosise ran a 4.48 in the forty-yard dash at the combine. That’s not blazing speed but it was faster than the times recorded by over three fourths of the other backs who ran. However, he can operate between the tackles as illustrated here.


Potential issues: He has logged just that one season at running back and various nagging injuries limited him to 10 of Notre Dame’s 13 games. Prosise was rarely asked to do anything in pass protection so his abilities there remain to be seen.

He decided to come out after his redshirt junior year when another year of experience as a running back could have helped his draft stock a great deal.

Bottom line: If Scot McCloughan agrees that Prosise will be able to be a part of a running back by committee as a rookie he could come under serious consideration in the third round, although the lack of experience may make him a better consideration in the fourth round.

The lack of pass blocking ability is not as alarming as it may seem. Most college programs don’t ask their top backs to do much pass protection and most who come into the NFL have to be brought up to speed to some extent before taking the field.

In his own words

On his transition to the NFL:

“I know it’s going to be a tough transition. I’m still new at this position and I’ve still got things to learn, and I have to learn fast. I want to fly, because these guys are moving a lot faster than in college. I’m really excited for that challenge, and I just can’t way for it.”

Previously in Redskins draft countdown:

  1. renhoekk2 - Mar 30, 2016 at 3:21 PM

    #4 RB on my wish list

    1. K Drake ALA
    2.. J Pressley New Mexico
    3. K Marshall UGA
    4. J Prosise ND

    Like Prosise, I just question his instincts and ability to take the RB pounding. It’s a big change in the amount of punishment taken game in game out from WR to RB. Missed a few games with injury already the first year as RB. I know Drake has been injured but that was broken bones, not the nagging injury type ailments.

    • pdxskin - Mar 30, 2016 at 5:10 PM

      An interesting list, but I would put Prosise at the top with Drake as my fall-back option, then Marshall and Pressley as late round flyers…what is your reasoning to have Pressley as your #2, I can’t even find any solid draft evaluation data about him out on the web? (I suppose he could be a 7th rounder/undrafted prospect?).

      • renhoekk2 - Mar 30, 2016 at 5:31 PM has a scouting report on Pressley. For some reason he wasn’t invited to the combine and just now is starting to get some hype. He should be drafted in the middle rounds. 4th-5th I would guess. The fact that Prosise has only played RB for one season is what concerns me. He did really well that one season but I’d feel more comfortable with a guy who has played RB his whole life. I want guys who are a threat to take it to the endzone every time he touches the ball, but are true running backs not glorified track guys who end being KR specialists. That is what I based my rankings on.

        • ET - Mar 30, 2016 at 9:52 PM

          The “ability to take an RB pounding” is a major plus—and unknown in this case. In short, we already have one Chris Thompson, we need backs (even in RB-by-commitee) with Alfred’s toughness. I miss that lil’ so-so already.

      • Trey Gregory - Apr 3, 2016 at 5:02 PM

        Well we’re most likely not going to carry a full back. So I don’t think Drake would make sense in that aspect. But he has a ton of potential. It kind of sucks because he looks like he could be pretty good but Henry got most of the carries and Drake mostly ran special teams. So it’s hard to say.

        My thing is, this is a great time in the NFL to get a good running back in the 3rd – 5th rounds. Plenty RBs proved that we don’t have to draft the top prospect to get an impact player. Like Duke Johnson or Jeremy Langford. I love that people are looking at smaller programs, like New Mexico, for talent. It’s where we got Morris and where Arizona got Johnson.

  2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 30, 2016 at 5:02 PM

    If it’s the 3rd round and we’re picking Prosise or Sean Davis (safety from Maryland), I’d have to go with the local boy.

    I don’t super-hate the idea of Prosise at 84, but I do suspect McGlue will be going DB.

    • pdxskin - Mar 30, 2016 at 5:12 PM

      Just want to add agreement on this – I don’t see us spending another 3rd round pick on an RB with so many other needs to address – an RB will most likely be a Day 3 section.

  3. smotion55 - Mar 30, 2016 at 5:42 PM

    I like this guy a lot and if he is there with the original late pick in the 4th jump on him , I think he is well worth a late 4th round pick. If GM trades back and gets a couple more then maybe he takes another back in the 3rd . I would not want a back before the 4th round because Elliott will be gone when we draft in the 1st. all the other backs are pretty much the same to me ..I would draft best available back that fits needs in the 6th or 7th .I like Smallwood out of WV in late rounds. Way to many needs including a upgrade at Center and D-Line before a RB for me

  4. wncskinsfan - Mar 30, 2016 at 8:20 PM

    I am sure that Scot M. has his eye on a few RBs in the draft. Not sure about this guy. One year as a back, an NFL pounding could drive him back to the stone age. I do hope we draft a back, or find a nugget or two as a UDFA. I am also hoping that maybe we get Pierre Thomas into camp. I think we should consider giving him a year if things look good. He could be a great veteran presence to these young backs, like Morris was, and i think he still has some good gas in that tank.

  5. goback2rfk - Mar 30, 2016 at 10:23 PM

    RB is not a big need here. Lets talk about positions that we need help in. Matt Jones is the new hog. He will be getting 20+ carries a game. Chris will come in now and again with 6 – 8 carries with 4 – 5 catches out of the back field.

    • Trey Gregory - Apr 3, 2016 at 5:04 PM

      I don’t disagree, but, they both have injury histories. What if one of them goes down? Not a lot of depth.

  6. kenlinkins - Mar 30, 2016 at 11:44 PM

    The Draft is where you have to trust your GM. Many had Matt Jones going much later in the draft (5th / 6th round) due to small hands (fumble concerns) Bull running style (drops head and runs) and didn’t see holes well. The Redskins took him much earlier and while the jury is still out on Jones he has flashed and could prove to be worth the pick and maybe even a steal. IMO the GM saw value in Jones and took the gamble and I see no reason to think that the GM will change. He will look for value with each pick and use “need” as a tie breaker. Like many on here I have tried to out guess Redskins GM’s with mixed results. IMO this new GM has a very good read on college players and I am looking forward to seeing his work again this year. Now be honest, how many of us had Smith as the 2nd pick and Jones as the 3rd pick in 2015? (Eddie Goldman was still there before we picked Smith and most had him rated much higher). IMO we should give the GM this year and next before reviewing the rebuild and seeing just what shape the roster talent is in. As for C.J. Prosise, he just doesn’t standout on film after Oct 17, Injury? took a beaten? was not there when it counted? what ever is was, it just didn’t look good later in the season. Not worth the risk before the 6th round IMO.

  7. John - Mar 31, 2016 at 2:45 AM

    Not a bad kid to go after.Looks like he has the ability to cut and has sufficient speed and some power. Considering he would be mixed in with Jones and Thompson, he’d get the ball 10, maybe 15 times a game as a compliment to Jones. It would make teams have to prepare for more than 1 running style (beat them up with Jones and juke them with Pro side) like the Skins did back in 1991 with Byner and Ervins or back before that with John Riggins and Joe Washington . The kid has not been a running back for long, so he’s not worn out before you get him. He is also able to catch it out of the backfield. Not a bad idea at all. Archives

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