Jonathan Dwyer, RB - Georgia Tech
Weight: 229 pounds
40 time: 4.68
Jonathan Dwyer is a tough, physical power back who will be making the jump from playing fullback in a triple-option offense to being a potential starting running back in a pro-style offense.
A two-year starter for the Yellow Jackets, Dwyer leaves Georgia Tech having rushed for 3,226 yards and 35 touchdowns on 517 carries (6.2-yards per carry). In both 2008 and 2009 he rushed for an identical 1,395 yards; he had 14 touchdowns in 2009 with 12 in 2008.
A powerful running back who excels at carrying the ball between the tackles, Dwyer offers the combination of size, strength, and speed that I look for in a future starting running back in the NFL. He’s a strong, downhill runner who runs with forward body-lean which gives him momentum to drive through defenders at the line of scrimmage and at the second level; he also does a great job of keeping his legs driving with a motor that never shuts off. A balanced running back with good vision in the open field, Dwyer has shown that he’s capable of running through and around tacklers.
In the triple-option offense, Dwyer showed great patience waiting for the unique blocks in front of him to develop before exploding through the hole with a great burst and acceleration to run away from defenders into the open field. Dwyer typically plays faster than his timed speed (4.68 40) would suggest; while he isn’t a burner, he has enough speed needed to take the ball the distance when he gets the chance.
He also has some experience catching the ball out of the backfield, having caught 15 passes for 263 yards and one touchdowns during his college career. He also has some experience as a returner, having returned 22 kicks for 477 yards during his career. Jonathan has some experience as a pass blocker, and with his great size and strength, he has the potential to become a fine blocker at the next level, but he will likely need to be polished up in this area.
Dwyer is more agile than he is quick, and while he does possess some elusiveness, he’s not going to shake a lot of the faster defenders at the next level. He doesn’t offer a whole lot as an outside runner, as the only time he typically carried the ball outside of the tackles in college was on an option or a unique play that helped him gain momentum as he ran outside. Jonathan’s weight has been an issue in the past, as he’s had some trouble keeping his weight down at the proper level, so this is something that the team that drafts him will need to keep a close eye on. I project that Dwyer will be drafted in the second round.
He has the talent to be taken in the first round, but with how much depth is in this year’s draft class, he’ll likely pushed down a bit. Dwyer has the potential to develop into a quality starting running back for a team, however he’s going to need some time early in his career to become adjusted to running in a pro-style offense after spending two years in the triple-option offense. Dwyer could also make an impact on special teams as a returner. He’s a talented player with solid tools, but he doesn’t project as highly at the next level as his press clippings would lead you to believe.
Notes: Jonathan was named the ACC Player of the year in 2008 and was named first-team All-ACC in 2008 and 2009. Coming out of high school, Jonathan was rated as the No. 8 player in the state of Georgia and the No. 10 running back in the country by Rivals.com. He finished his high school career having rushed for 5,565 yards and 71 touchdowns. He was also a successful runner in track as a prep.
Dwyer offers a surprising amount of versatility for a triple-option fullback; note that he averaged better than five yards per carry backing up Tashard Choice as a freshman in a more pro-style offense. He’ll need work in both pass protection and as a receiver to stay on the field for third downs, but he does have the potential to be a feature back. Worst case, he’s the between-the-tackles member of a committee—a role that usually translates to getting the bulk of the goal line carries.
The good news for Dwyer and the fantasy owners who love him is that there are multiple teams looking for the “thunder” half of their backfield equation—among them the Texans and Chargers, two of the more potent offenses in the league. If he lands with one of those teams he’ll be among the first rookies off the fantasy draft board, with serious upside beginning in Year One. Dynasty leaguers have to hope he develops in the passing game to become a more complete back, but having the baseline of 15 or so between-the-tackles carries (and the short-yardage duties that come with them) at least provides a solid fallback level of productivity.