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NFL Draft Prospect Preview - Rasheen Ali

by J.T. Toth


Photo courtesy of Marshall University 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 - Marshall, Running Back, Rasheen Ali


Name- Rasheen Ali

Pos- Running Back

Team- Marshall

HT/WT- 6’0” 209 lbs.

Born- 2/16/2001

Home – Cleveland, OH


Ali grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and attended Shaker Heights High School. He was rated a 2-star recruit and was not heavily recruited. During his senior season, he committed to Marshall over an offer he had to attend Hampton. 


His freshman season was cut short in 2020 due to Covid-19, but he played in 6 games before the season was canceled, mostly on special teams. He carried the ball 5 times for 22 yards and had 76 kick return yards.


Ali was one of the nation’s leading running backs in the 2021 season, finishing with 1,401 yards and 23 touchdowns on 250 carries. He had 8 games with multiple touchdowns and 6 games of 100 yards or more. His 23 touchdowns tied for the most in the FBS. He showed his versatility out of the backfield, catching 45 passes for 334 yards and added another touchdown.


His 2022 campaign did not go as smooth for Ali. He missed much of the season due to an injury, which led to a medical redshirt. He came back for the final 3 games of the season and ran for 273 yards and 1 touchdown. 


In 2023, Ali once again was healthy and productive for Marshall, starting 12 games and running the ball 212 times for 1,135 yards and 15 touchdowns. He snared 28 passes for 212 yards and 1 touchdown and announced he was entering the NFL Draft in December of 2023.


Rasheen Ali is a hard runner, who runs with a low pad level and has enough straight line speed to beat defenders around the edge. In the passing game, he is a weapon. He can be lined up in the slot, or run routes from the backfield. He has soft hands and a shiftiness to his lateral movement, making him a big play waiting to happen. One thing he has improved over the past couple of seasons is his patience and timing on counters, or misdirections. He has a hesitation/change of speed and allows guards to pull or linemen to set up their blocks better than he has in the past. 


Ali will not be a back that can create his own holes by running through tackles. Later in games, he runs more upright and loses power and balance. He’s not going to help much in pass blocking, he will need to refine his technique if he strives to be a 3-down back in the NFL. 


One major concern of Ali’s is his ball security. He fumbled 6 times in 2021, and has a bad habit of losing the ball while trying to get an extra yard or two while being held up. He can be overly patient at times and instead of taking what is given to him, he will hesitate and try to look for a different hole, taking an unnecessary loss.


When watching film on Rasheen Ali, Draft Nation was reminded of the running style of Alexander Mattison. Mattison was a 3rd round pick out of Boise State in 2022 and although Ali may have a bit more straight line speed, both backs have a patient approach and both are weapons out of the backfield. Ali will not get selected in the 3rd round but has a chance to be a quality draft pick later in the draft.


Strengths

  • Pass catching

  • Routes

  • Runs hard and low

  • Shiftiness


Weaknesses

  • Blocking

  • Ball security

  • Overly patient

  • Pass blocking


Final Analysis


Rasheen Ali is a dynamic and versatile running back who can add a lot of different options to a running back room. He will have to prove to the NFL brass that he has his ball security under control and that he has the power to break arm tackles. Ali is another prospect Draft Nation can’t wait to see at the combine in Indianapolis.


Draft 412 Draft Projection -  Round 5 or Round 6

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