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It’s time to do work on your upcoming fantasy football rookie drafts!  One of those potential diamonds in the rough is San José State’s running back Tyler Ervin. He did not catch my eye during thetervin regular season, but after participating in the Senior Bowl practices and game, there is a lot of potential in this smaller back.  When I watched his games against New Mexico, Oregon State, Auburn, and Senior Bowl (practices too), the back reminded me quite a bit of Patriots Dion Lewis.  Here are my thoughts with what he can bring to the NFL:

RB-Tyler Ervin, San José State 5′ 10″ 192 lbs. 

Cons: The runner played his college career on the small side (177 lbs.), but bulked up for the bowl season.  There doesn’t seem to be any more room to add more muscle/size him.  This lack of girth makes him a limited short yardage option at the next level.  Some might project him as a third down option back, unfortunately Ervin is a limited pass blocker, who struggles to set his feet and anchor against the pass rush.  He is a very patient runner, but maybe to his own detriment.  The former Spartan would be a good fit for a zone blocking team, and would be a poor fit for a power running team.  That reduces his options of available teams.  The back quite often doesn’t bother to change the arm he carries the football in, which could make him more prone to turn the pigskin over.

Pros: Ervin has elusive speed, agility, and quickness along with good wiggle that make him hard to contain in open spaces. He sees the field well (reading blockers and finding the cutback lane), gets small in the hole (only needing a sliver of space) and accelerates into daylight!  The runner has quick feet (starting and stopping at will) and sets up defenses by using a combination of spins, jump cuts, stiff-arms, and hurdles to get away.  For a back his size, Ervin runs behind his pads well, slices through the line of scrimmage, keeps his legs chopping, and does a great job falling forward for extra yardage.  Although his pass blocking game needs refinement, the athletic play maker has soft hands, runs crisp routes, and can catch the ball at its highest point. He was amazing on bubble screens and played well in the slot.  Teams will want to take advantage of his return skills (both kickoff and punts) that really use his side to side agility and downfield vision.

Outlook: His size may concern some, but I see an exciting play maker in the Dion Lewis/Darren Sproles vein.  Ervin should have more value in PPR and return yardage leagues.  I feel that he will be at his best in a West Coast zone blocking system.  The runner is my top twelve rookie running back.

Thanks for reading.

You can follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley or the site @Dynasty_Blitz. 

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