Former LSU Tigers running back Derrius Guice was selected at the bottom of the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Washington with the No. 59 pick.
Guice rushed for 3,704 yards and 29 touchdowns during his Tiger career over three seasons. His best year came in 2016 — a nagging injury hampered him a bit during his last season in 2017.
Projected by most to be a first-round pick, his slide to the bottom of the second round became a story on draft weekend. Reports came out that there were “accountability concerns” around the running back and that he was “immature and high-maintenance.”
That could be a problem for Washington or it could’ve turned him into one of the best value picks of the draft.
He shone during a season that wasn’t even supposed to be his.
In 2016, Leonard Fournette was in what was expected to be his final season of collegiate football, which it was. But Fournette, like Guice last season, dealt with an ankle injury that sidelined him for the majority of the year. Guice stepped up huge, and rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns — significantly more than what Fournette had.
Last year, Guice missed one game, and was limited early on in the year. His numbers weren’t as strong as his 2016 campaign, but he’s looking at an early-round pick in this year’s draft class. It’s pretty funny how similar both backs are:
Guice is not exactly like Fournette, but they bear similarities.
Guice is probably a more patient runner than Fournette, who’s more inclined to just take the ball and start ramrodding people. But both have built their games around power.
At the combine, Guice measured 5’10 (average for a running back) and 224 pounds (about 11 pounds higher than the historical position average). Fournette was markedly bigger when he came out, at 6’0 and 240. But both are big, and both ran within .01 seconds of an even 4.5-second 40-yard dash. They’re similar in style and in physical tools.
Both of them had their best seasons at LSU when they were sophomores. Fournette ran for 6.5 yards per carry in his sophomore year, Guice for 7.6 in his. They had similar numbers for their careers, with Fournette shouldering a heavier load and Guice being slightly more efficient. Both were power backs with plenty of speed, occasionally hobbled by injuries in college. Fournette missed six games as a junior, including LSU’s bowl by choice. Guice only missed one game in his last year but played hurt for much of the year.
Guice can pull some weight, too. Last summer, he was filmed squatting 650 pounds with what looks like ease.
Todays Freaky Friday so Derrius squats 650 @DhaSickest #Freaks pic.twitter.com/wtI9obhu6u— Aaron Moffitt (@AaronTMoffitt) June 23, 2017
But Guice has had more interesting off-field instances than Fournette did.
In March, he pulled a woman from her car after witnessing her car accident. Guice posted a video (though it’s since been deleted) of himself with the victim, and two police officers to show she was fine.
His early life wasn’t without tragedy — his father was sadly gunned down at Denny’s when he was 6 years old, something that drives him, rather than holding him back. Via a Bleacher Report profile:
“You see that stuff when you’re [that young]…that takes a huge toll on you,” Guice says. “That sticks with you forever.”
It’s enough to wreck a family. But it didn’t wreck Guice.
Instead, the trauma became the foundation for his future, for how he would escape a similar destiny and instead become what he is today, a star running back at LSU with a potentially huge NFL future.
”I’m not turning back there,” Guice says.
Not turning back there. It’s a mantra. It’s a way forward. For Guice, it’s the only way forward.
During a radio interview after the combine, Guice said that one NFL team asked him if he likes men. However, the NFL investigated the situation and could not confirm that any team had done so.
Guice could be the safest RB pick in the draft
Guice was both efficient and explosive in college, which should translate well to the NFL — especially the first part. He may not be the same running back as Fournette, but it’s certain that Washington is getting a talented back added to the roster.