by Zachary Somma
Photo courtesy of UCLA Athletics.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - UCLA, Running Back, Carson Steele
Name- Carson Steele
HT/WT- 6’1” 225 lbs.
Home- Greenwood, Indiana
Carson Steele is a 3rd year junior running back entering his first season in the Power 5, transferring to UCLA after spending two seasons with the Ball State Cardinals. Steele was dominant in the MAC for the Cardinals, rushing for 2,414 yards and 20 TDs.
At UCLA, Steele will stay in a zone-heavy running scheme and is a decent athlete with quick feet and a solid frame. He possesses a very high motor and competes on nearly every play, regardless of circumstance. A downhill-focused runner, Steele refuses to shy away from contact. If he sees a hole, he will try and hit it whether there is a defender there or not. That’s not to say his vision is bad however, it’s just inconsistent at times. He will have good moments and is willing to make cutbacks if he sees a better lane, but he can have just as many misreads as well. Steele’s contact balance is solid, and he will routinely bounce off of tacklers near the line of scrimmage and will run through arm tackles and diving defenders with ease.
However, he is not a very shifty athlete out in space and can be tackled one on one. He runs with power for the collegiate level; however, he may not see the same success rate with it at the NFL level. Steele will occasionally pop for a big gain but relies more on down to down consistency over explosive plays. Steele often desires contact and almost always falls forward when going down.
In the passing game, Steele is an adequate receiver. He has decent enough hands to make most catches but can struggle with his routes. His acceleration allows him to be dangerous after the catch. He struggles in pass protection and blocking, though. While the effort level is there, he needs to learn technique to sustain blocks better and for an extended period of time.
- Strong contact balance
- Very high motor and compete level
- Good acceleration
- Pass protection
- Inconsistent vision
- Rigid running style
Overall, Carson Steele is a high effort, downhill rusher whose contact balance and burst can make him a solid contributor at the next level, despite a limited ceiling athletically. Steele projects to be a low-end starter or good backup at the NFL level in zone running schemes. He can be an option on 3rd downs, at least as a receiver. However, his pass protection will need to be improved to become a true 3rd down option.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - Round 4-5