There are few true three-down running backs in the NFL these days, and Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden doesn’t seem to think Derrius Guice is one of them.
Washington was pleased to scoop up the LSU product late in the second round of April’s draft but has a clear vision about how to use him. It doesn’t involve doing much after the first two downs.
“He’s more of a first-, second-down banger,” Gruden said, per John Keim of ESPN. But I’ve seen him at his pro day catch the football. He can catch the football fine, but really, our role for him is quite easy to see. It’s first, second down.”
While the offense utilizes Guice as a “first-, second-down banger,” Chris Thompson will remain the team’s third-down back. It’s a role he is suited for, if not a bit more due to his explosive abilities in both the running and passing game.
Despite Washington’s plan for him, Guice has confidence that he’s up to the task of becoming a true three-down back some day.
“I’m a great receiver out the backfield, and I can block as well,” Guice said. “So I’ll be able to protect the quarterback as well. My will to hit really separates from anyone else. I’m very willing to hit and do what I have to do to stay on the field.”
Being that he slid so far in the draft, it’s going to be fascinating to watch Guice over the course of the next few seasons. He was thought by many to be the second-best back in the draft behind Saquon Barkley, but many others were taken ahead of him due to character concerns that he felt were completely invalid.
No doubt, Guice has a huge chip on his shoulder, but will that spur him to greatness or will the teams that passed be proven right?