Jumps Off the Tape, Bishop Sankey: Making people miss

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Danny Kelly's "Jumps Off the Tape" series continues with a look at Washington's Bishop Sankey, who possesses the kind of agility and vision that will make NFL teams notice.

When scouting NFL Draft prospects, there are always players who "jump off the tape" to me more than others. Why? It's tough to say -- "draft scouting" is a subjective field and there are hundreds of variables to consider. Within, there are going to be different biases and different priorities in terms of which skills or tools to look for at the different positions among evaluators.

This series of short scouting reports will aim to pick out a play, or a couple of plays, that jumped out to me as representations of why I am in a certain prospect's corner. It's incomplete evaluation, but meant to highlight what a player can do and why those skills might project to the NFL level.

RB Bishop Sankey, Washington: 5'9, 209

Sankey is a polarizing prospect in that some analysts view him as a second-rounder and some believe he should fall into the mid-to-late rounds. I fall somewhere in the middle, but may be higher on him than many. Sankey is knocked for his size and lack of explosive athleticism, but when I watch the play below, it's very difficult to buy that he lacks lateral agility and vision, which are two extremely key components to running back play in the NFL.

(Via DraftBreakdown)

This run reminds me of a run that Marshawn Lynch made in the 2012 NFL Playoffs vs. the Redskins:

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Breakaway speed and pure power are nice attributes in a running back, but an ability to make people miss is important, and having the vision to set up blocks and run to daylight is key. I'm not suggesting that Sankey is Marshawn Lynch redux, not at all, but one of Lynch's strongest attributes is his short-area agility. I think Sankey has that.

Bottom Line:

Sankey has work to do in some areas but overall I believe he has a skill set that translates to the professional game, at worst in a committee role.

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Final note: When building their NFL Draft boards, scouting departments watch every single snap of a particular draft prospect's season. Within those hundreds of snaps, there are likely some great plays and some bad plays, and a multitude of nondescript plays in between. Scouts must determine how consistently a player can display the good traits and figure out how easily coaches can mitigate or coach out the bad. This report is just a jump-off point.

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