Scouting Report: Akrum Wadley, RB

 

Wadley has an interesting skillset, but is he an every down back in the NFL?

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

In what has become a weird tradition, I begin my scouting report series with a player from a team I hate, the Iowa Hawkeyes. I am not sure why or how this happened, but I figure why stop now. Before we get to the report, lets talk a little about the week that was in football. As a fan, it was nice to see the Patriots play better and get a good road win. By no means do I think everything is fixed and the Patriots will now just role through the rest of the season, but we did see a team play much better in all facets of the game. Injuries are an area of concern and seeing Marcus Cannon on the injury report is a bit scary considering the defense the Patriots will go up against on Sunday. That being said, I don’t think Houston has the offense to put up enough scores to win the game and the Patriots should come away with the victory.

We have two DVR’s, one for all the family shows and another that I use to record games. Occasionally I will record games on the newer, larger DVR if there are multiple games I want to record that are being played at the same time. It is a good thing that is the case because for some reason my DVR became unplugged at some point and I missed out on several games. Now, I don’t want to point any fingers, but my 13 month old loves to play in my office and tends to find everything he shouldn’t play with and of course, plays with it. Enough with the complaining, here is the first of many scouting reports.

Name: Akrum Wadley (#25)

School: University of Iowa

Height: 5’11” (unofficial)

Weight: 195 Lbs (unofficial)

What I Like:

I have seen my fair share of Wadley going back several years now and it has been interesting to watch him evolve. Last year to this year, you can clearly see that he has added some mass to his frame, which was needed. He is a patient runner with good vision. He has always been an aggressive runner, and with his added size this year, you can see it takes its toll on defenders as games wear on. Wadley runs with excellent pad level and balance. This allows him to bounce off defenders and create extra yardage after contact. He has shown the ability to make defenders miss with a variety of moves, especially in the open field. He has shown soft, natural hands as a pass catcher in the screen game. Wadley has an innate ability to lean and bend in a way that makes it difficult for defenders to get clean hits on him and he does not go down if they try to tackle him high.

What I Would Like To See:

While I think the added weight was necessary for Wadley to be considered a NFL back, it has had its drawbacks in the 2017 tape so far. When he was lighter, his footwork was better and he was a little more elusive at the line of scrimmage. In the three games this year, he seems to struggle maintaining momentum in his cutbacks and has not been able to create yardage like he has in the past. In that same vein, I don’t see the same bounce in his step and have seen him taken down by a single tackler more this year already than I can remember all of last year. This is something I want to continue to monitor and it may be something where he has to consider what is the right weight for him to play at. IT is a small sample size so far, so it could be an issue that corrects itself. The other aspect of Wadley’s game that I would like to see improvement in is his pass protection. For a guy who initiates contact when the ball is in his hand, he seems to shy away from it as a blocker. His go to move is to try and cut his guy, but his technique and effectiveness are not great. I would like to see more effort in that area going forward.

Overall:

There is a lot to like about Wadley, but there are some questions as well. Can he be a bigger back that handles 20 carries a game between the Tackles and be effective, or is he better suited to shed the weight and be effective as a complimentary back in a committee? I like his aggressiveness as a runner and I think his ability to run with great pad level and balance can be make him a good player in the NFL. If I can get the elusiveness and footwork that he showed at the lighter weight with the size and power he has this year, he could be very good. Time will tell if those two meet up.

 

 

 

 

75 Responses to “Scouting Report: Akrum Wadley, RB”

  1. Mike Gerken says:

    Sorry for the delay on the next scouting report. Look for the next to drop today hopefully

  2. Russell says:

    The Chargers waived OL Max Tuerk coming off a 4 game suspension. Worth a P-Squad spot if he clears the wire???

  3. EdgeX says:

    “Tom Brady has been sacked 13 times already this season. He was sacked 15 times total in 12 games last season.”

    Yeah that O-line needs to do better too.

    • Russell says:

      Brady is holding the ball longer. The run game blocking looks improved.

      • GM-in-Training says:

        Brady is holding the ball longer because no JE11.

        As encouraging as Cooks, Dorset and Hogan long are, we still need a quick twitch slot to cover all the snaps Amendola is unavailable for to allow the quick timing offense.

  4. steve earle says:

    This is crazy! The D-backfield was supposed to be our strength this year. Gilmore had 2 hands to the face penalty’s and I have a hard time thinking of any big positive plays he has made. Not letting the rest off the hook they all looked lost and confused most of the time. Looking more like some perennial high draft pick team the our Patriots. Jeeze!

    • steve earle says:

      Another Opps! Supposed to say “then” our Patriots, not “the” our Patriots.

    • GM-in-Training says:

      Maybe this explains why BB used to recruit the backfield almost exclusively from Rutgers…Rutgers recruited smart DB who were really coachable.

      • steve earle says:

        Hey maybe GM don’t know what is wrong with our DB’s? Gilmore looks like a clueless rookie out there. Couple talking heads were saying the problem is on the left side, seems it’s left, right and middle to me. Plus the pass rush is inconsistent. And as Edge points out, the O-line isn’t doing very well either in protecting TB12. Will we be a wild card this year? Do we even make the play offs? Does Brady survive the season?

  5. macspak says:

    I simply cannot remember the last Patriots team that was so poor on defense and made so many mistakes. Speechless.

    • EdgeX says:

      Yeah, they’ve got some work to do on defense.

      Actually…the more I think about it, you could say that all 3 phases of the game. Mental mistakes all day. I’m sure Bill will give them some humble pie come Monday.

    • Jeff says:

      It reminds me of of the team in 2010 and 2011 or thereabouts, when you’d routinely see opposing players catching passes with no one within 5 yards of them, sometimes no one on the screen! The past few years, even when guys are beaten for a catch, they have usually been right there to make a tackle, or the safety is coming up to make a hit. This wide open stuff is killer. Avoiding those types of plays is the real key. The Pats should have the personnel to do it, which is why it’s so concerning that they haven’t fixed it already.

    • steve earle says:

      Agree but not speechless. Just can’t print the speech I have in mind.

  6. Philip says:

    I am on holidays in Botswana and I have no access to the game .. .but WTF is going on right now? Why the F**K is Cam Newton the last time I checked the live ticker 21/25 and has already over 300 yards? I mean … it is Cam Newton? A guy who wasn’t able to throw a football into a receiver who was as open as the Gran Canyon?

    • EdgeX says:

      Because the defense is playing poorly – unpatriot like with a lot of mental mistakes / blown coverages that ended up giving the Panthers a lot of points.

      • Philip says:

        Thx.

        I don’t get it why the defense is playing so poorly now. They don’t lost mayor pieces and only added players (Wise, Gilmore – even though, he is playing poorly, Butler is supposed to play still strong which he clearly isn’t).

        BB plan to keep Garapolo was clearly a not so smart one. Instead of keeping him, he should have traded him for the 12th pick to the Browns and a 2nd next year and adding a CB like Conley, Humphries or White or SAF like Hooker or DE Barnett. And trading CB Butler to the Saints for a 2nd and a future pick. This pick could have been used for a player like McMillan, Cunningham to add youth to the LB or R.Anderson or Bowser to get EDGE players at this point. So the Rivers pick could have been used for RB Hunt or Foreman

        • Matt says:

          Do you think Butler is holding a grudge against the Pats for either not getting a new contact or trading him. That explain his poor play.

        • EdgeX says:

          I think they did lose some major pieces on defense:

          Losing Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, Shea McClellin, Vincent Valentine and Chris Long is having a major impact on the front 7 and more emphasis is being put on the secondary which is “not gelling” at this point. So teams are taking advantage of that and thus the results we are seeing.

        • Philip says:

          @Matt… Could be a possible reason

          @EdgeX … Rob is missed, Shea was more of a Specialteamer than a good LB, Valentines production is more or less replaced by Guy and A.Butler, Long and Sheard are replaced by Marsh amd Wise. So IMO the defensive losses are not that big and the dont explain the poor secondary play

  7. GM-in-Training says:

    What will fix the Pat’s defense?

    Here are my hopes/expectations.

    1. They’re starting youth to let them build experience and communication skills while resting veterans like Alan Branch, D. Hightower, and perhaps even David Harris. This should give them better depth later in the season.

    2. Their talented DB (e.g., Gilmore) need a little more time to gel.

    3. When Wise, Marsh, and Butler get a little better at sealing the edge and applying pressure, the DB will start to look better.

    4. By late in the season, I’m hoping some combination of Van Noy, McClellin, Harris and Hightower will make the LB unit a strength again.

    5. They only have $5 Million in cap space, but I could totally see them flipping an offensive player for a either a 230# RB, or a 275# DE to help shore up the line.

    6. I suspect early in the season they are working on fundamentals, and not scheming the D as much as they will in the second half. I guess it depends partly on their record.

    Any other thoughts on what might improve their D over the next 4 months?

    • Russell says:

      Good stuff GM, Given CB Butler’s contract needs next yr., I think the Patriots move him . BB is carrying 3 CB’s & 2 S, on the Practice Squad. A team with a need at CB, & salary cap space to sign him, should give a 2018, 2nd round pick for him. Beats waiting until 2019 3d compensatory pick.
      Move Hightower off the edge, back into the middle
      Get more production out of LB Harris , & LB Langi or move on from them.
      Cut S Richards, move S David Jones (6’3″ 210 lbs) up from P-Squad.
      Put CB Butler on slot guy only, move J. Jones to out side CB
      Rotate Harmon, and McCourty, Chung & D. Jones.

  8. Daniel Sullivan says:

    Patriots need ushers at games like Red Sox. Not so much what I had to deal with
    with 2 guys in front of me not sitting done while everyone else was but the 50 year
    Patriots season ticket holders next to me that the couple travels several hours to game and
    had guys that could not give them the respect to enjoy the game to. Mr. Kraft please consider
    getting ushers at the games were those that are abusing others rights to enjoy game is not being
    taken into account. At a Red Sox game you can tell a usher and they would be out of the game.

    Dan Sullivan

    • steve earle says:

      Good thought Dan. Nothing worse then jerks being jerks at events.

      • Daniel Sullivan says:

        Thanks Steve and I think I was wrong about one thing Pats Offensive Line in great
        shape so Brady could make that great drive to win game. It was extremely hot
        and I can’t image with football equipment on.

        Go Pat’s!!!!
        Dan S

        • steve earle says:

          Yea Dan, the line came through when it counted most. Hot ?90 degrees on the field. Think maybe it slowed down the rusk too just a bit?

  9. Daniel Sullivan says:

    Taking a Knee. I was at Patriots game today with my boys college students. We talked
    about this taking a knee. One explained how so many of these players friends and family
    have very tough lives and this is a dedication to them to speak up for a change in their lives.
    One son works with the blind, wheelchairs and other major struggles and the other works
    with those that have horrible starts into life and are struggling to make some sort of a life for themselves. I challenge the NFL players to do more instead of Hospitals and schools
    were they are major celebrities In challenge them to go into places that people have extreme
    odds against them.Once they are there tell them of there personal struggle and how they
    have reached such great success.Those stories I know are amazing. Go after people
    in prisons, Mental Health, and Homeless shelters. They can do more than give a knee.

    • steve earle says:

      About the knee thing. This has morphed from a black rights thing to a political commentary on Trump. Frankly I don’t want politics in my football. I hear enough of that political crap from both sides all year long on everything from news shows to TV dramas. Enough is enough! Give we football fans a break we watch football to get away from that crap.

      • GM-in-Training says:

        I don’t begrudge the players the right to take a stand by taking a knee. I agree that Trump is trying to hijack the conversation, probably largely to distract from his agenda failing yet again.

        Here’s the thing though. Trump basically picked the fight with the players, not the other way around. They are men, many of them proud men. What are they supposed to do when someone picks a word fight with them?

        I would prefer Trump stayed out of the NFL, because it is supposed to be escapism from “all that.”

        • steve earle says:

          Trump,Trump, Trump I don’t give a rat’s A$$ about any politician all any of them care about is themselves. All this knee thing was over a dumb thug who robbed a store then tried to kill the cope that killed him. “Hands up, don’t shoot” never happened. Now we have to put up with nonsense. If guys want to be politicians retire and run for office. If not that then play football.

  10. Daniel Sullivan says:

    Patriots Defensive Line really coming on strong. Marsh, Guy and Wise played very well.
    Gronk looked like the old Gronk very good game. Offensive Line seems like they good
    use some help as Brady took a lot of hard hits.

    • steve earle says:

      They didn’t stink anyway. I think there is hope but it’s hard to get a good grip on it right now. Wilson is a real up and coming QB and his runs can make defenses look a lot worse then they are. Hope we don’t see Houston in the playoffs where he has a year of experience behind him.

    • kevin z says:

      I think once the D get there legs under them, they will be fine. Pats scoring faster as well, giving the D less time to rest. I like the DL just not the depth of it. like Flowers wise marsh along with guy. Once we set the edge better, there with be more 3rd and longs to get more sacks.
      All 3 going on 4 QBS faced can move around, which makes harder for sacks
      Watson made us miss many of them had pressure just not results we all wanted

  11. Matt says:

    Well I think the Offensive play calling was bad. Don’t know why they didn’t run the hurry up. I think it would have bought Brady a little more time. I also think it would have effected the Texans D. Watt was dragging a little from the heat.

    • steve earle says:

      Disagree, nothing to do with play calling it all had to do with Texans def line. If they stay healthy they are a FORCE.

  12. EdgeX says:

    I got to ask after that Brady performance today…who’s ready for Jimmy G time?

    Who still thinks he can replace Brady?

    No takers? I didn’t think so.

  13. macspak says:

    Watson has the makings to be a top QB. Hopefully his running won’t get him injured.

    Football begins up front. I think many forgot that or ignored it when thinking the Patriots were going to go 18 and 0. There is much more to football than the skilled positions. Right now the Pats are weak up front on offense and defense. Change and improvement must begin there. There is lots of room for improvement in so many facets of their game. Like 3rd and 1 both ways. Blocking. Getting off blocks. etc.

  14. macspak says:

    Nate Solder. I trust people finally are coming to understand this guy just is not a very good LT. Mediocre at best. IMO, always has been over rated and his production never has matched his size or athleticism. No idea if he plans on continuing his career but I hope it is not here. Let some other team over pay him and be disappointed when they watch him under perform game in and game out and get his QB killed.

    • steve earle says:

      Although I agree about Solder I have to ask just who can we expect on our current roster can do a better job at LT? I mentioned not so long ago that both our OL and DL’s have been neglected for some time now. Next draft is next year and I’m hoping instead of trading away most of our picks BB will add a couple of really good linemen for both sides of the ball.

      • macspak says:

        For now, and probably this year, we are stuck with him. But you can’t trust him. He needs help with chip blocks, line slides, double teams etc. Maybe Fleming can take over. maybe Waddle. Next year by giving him an extension at top LT is another story but I would hate to tie up a huge amount money pay. Anybody know what the non football injury is to Garcia? Is he able to weight train and learn behind the scenes?

        • steve earle says:

          Agree he needs help with a chip block but so did our RT today. How do they chip or D Team both DE’s? Texans have what many believe is the best front 4 in the NFL that our O-line managed as well as they did surprised me. I was really worried about this game in spite of all the pundents hype.And yes we’re stuck with this line this year why I said it’s been neglected and next draft Bill needs to address both lines.

        • steve earle says:

          About Garcia, no idea what his condition is. As usual Pat’s are closed mouth on such things. I do believe he can work on his strength and conditioning under the umbrella of rehab and probably study and learn from the def play book but not sure if he can attend team meetings and activity’s? I kind of doubt that he can.

    • EdgeX says:

      I think you are insane.

      Solder was facing off against JJ Watt – who is literally the reincarnation of Lawrence Taylor – and Jadeveon Clowney, who’s also a stud and Pro-Bowler, at different times during the game.

      Not to mention Whitney Mercilus, Christian Covington and Carlos Watkins are on that defensive line.

      The Texans defensive line is STACKED.

      I don’t care if you have Jonathan Ogden out there – you are going to have trouble against that defensive line.

      Solder may not be the best LT ever, but he’s a top 10 LT right now in the league.

      • macspak says:

        Which game were you watching? In fact have you watched the S Bowl and the first three regular season games? I saw little of Solder on Watt today. I’ve seen everybody he has played for the last four games easily and repeatedly beat him. Prior to those 4 games I have seen him struggle not just as bad or obvious. Very, very obvious. He is not a top ten tackle. Not even close. He can’t run or pass block successfully or consistently.

        • Philip says:

          Solder is a more than usable LT .. there are many teams that wish for smb like him. He will never be an elite LT but he is servicable. And keep in mind, that he faced one of the best pass-rushers in the league. Even Joe Thomas had given up sacks last games and he IS elite.

          Regarding future … To bad that Garcia is on NF-ILL and I think he’s not allowed to return … So I hope he will develop the same way Flowers did on his first year when he was on IR

  15. Russell says:

    I agree with Mike; many prospects to look at this time of year, & the Patriots will be building a draft board around talent, and system fit . A good group of QB’s this year, but nothing I would say is great.
    A Jr. QB I like is Andrew Ford U. Mass. 6’2″ 210 lbs., plays behind a poor O-line, and with limited WR help. Good looking foot work, Pass placement, D- reading, leadership, & toughness. Likely undrafted IF he enters the draft.

    • Russell says:

      The NFL should add a rule that allows teams to protect one player on their P-Squad. This is the best way to develop QB’s without the worry of losing them to another team.
      QB Henkie is an interesting prospect, but can the patriots develop him without losing him?

      • steve earle says:

        Well it sounds good to us right now but teams that are desperate for qb’s might not be so hot on the idea especially if they get an injury in that position. That could go for ant team for that matter I guess still a good thought.

  16. steve earle says:

    Lamarr Houston reportedly in for a workout. Has had knee problems and Chi gave up on him it seems. Wonder if his knee is back to 100 %? If it is he could add much needed reinforcements to OLB position. We’ll see?

  17. GM-in-Training says:

    Riley McCarron added to PS?
    https://nesn.com/2017/09/nfl-rumors-patriots-sign-spitting-image-of-wes-welker-to-practice-squad/

    He’s interesting. He’s got good traits for the slot. My only concern is that he’s 185# and I don’t know if he can get YAC or take the pounding of working over the middle.

    There’s also a room Grissom is going to be promoted to the 53. So, whose spot does he get?

    • steve earle says:

      Well Grissom does know the system and McCarron at 185# is not ideal but would be only a temp rental. Still sometimes even smaller guys can be effective and stay healthy for a season or two. Who either one would cause to be cut is anyone’s guess? Expect it would be one of the two or three speculated on already.

      • steve earle says:

        After quick check on McCarron he could work out. 4.41/ 40, 6.59/ 3 cone & 4.16 short shuttle. Noticed he’s only 5-8/5-9 which if anything like Welker or Edellman makes it hard for defenders to get solid hits on them.

    • GM-in-Training says:

      Looks like Valentine’s spot goes to Grissom. Makes sense. Butler can play inside our outside, and Grissom is versatile for edge.

    • Ryan says:

      Good. It was stupid to cut Carr with injuries mounting, but this addition should remedy that.

      • steve earle says:

        Don’t know about a remedy Ryan but if he can get in and make some plays in releaf of Amendola it would be a help. Hope he can, I always cheer for an under dog.

    • kevin z says:

      mayb he can be Beasley from dallas that be his upside here

  18. steve earle says:

    Reading through the comments so far seems to me Mike has the best advice. It’s way to early to start deciding we should draft this player or that position in any order. Give the the season a chance to develope both at the collage and Pats level.

  19. kevin z says:

    thinking if pick a RB will be in round 3. most teams in need picked one this past draft.
    Tackle and LB a big need, don’t know about Rivers injury, how he will bounce back.
    getting a rangy saf to learn from dmac important. I like travis taking the Chung roll as a box saf.
    our tackles are older while our guards are youngsters, that the reason why need tackles

  20. Russell says:

    Can’t see BB drafting a RB this year.

    • Philip says:

      Me neither…. This year would have been “the” year where I expected him the most to draft one untill M.Gillislee was signed.

      LB/DL/SAF are the pos I think will get focus.

      LB because we have only Hightower as a real playmaker
      DL especially interior, because M.Brown will be in his 4th contract year and to groom a young one behind and A.Branch isn’t living up to hiscontract

      SAF McCourty and Chung get older

    • Jeff says:

      They only have 2 running backs under contract next year as of today – White and Gillislee. Foster has been poached as well. It would actually be a great year to draft a guy. They’ll need to sign at least one running back before the draft, but a free agent and a draft pick should nicely round out the depth chart with 4 players.

      • Turbo says:

        I’m with you Jeff. White for the passing game, Gillislee for short yard situations, i would re-sign Burkehead cuz he can do a little bit of everything and finally i would draft a pure runner Royce Freeman or Ronald Jones maybe.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      When it comes to these reports, especially this early in the season, I am not picking guys or positions that I think the Patriots will go after. I try to watch as many guys at all the position so I have every possible option covered.
      Right now, I would say RB is not high on the list of need, but as of right now, the Patriots will go into next season with just 2 RB’s, so it is not out of the question to draft the next guy.

      • GM-in-Training says:

        Mike,
        I agree RB is not high on the list. Mostly because the Pats will likely go UDFA, FA for $1Mil/year, or trade a 6th rounder for some other team’s young, low-miles depth player. There’s too many ways to do it well without having to use a 1-4th round pick.

        • Jeff says:

          This year, when they only had White and Lewis on the roster, they signed a couple guys to 3+ million dollar contracts (and had to give up a pick), plus they brought back Bolden, so while it’s possible they could trade their 6th round pick or draft minimum contract guys, they certainly invested more highly in the position this off-season, so recent history shows that they may go in a different direction. Additionally, if they’re drafting for the following year’s team, only White is under contract, so they’d really be leaving their cupboards bare for the following season if they don’t draft or sign a long-term contract. While I believe the highest draft priorities are DE, SS, LB, OT, and CB based on what we know now, RB would make lots of sense as well. The Pats may also pick up some extra selections in the draft if Butler and/or Garapollo are dealt at some point.

  21. Russell says:

    Look for FB Develin to play a lot, very few empty back field sets. TE Allen, lining up next to the right Tackle. Run the ball mostly away from Watt, make him chase.
    Dion Lewis big game in the slot.
    Bolden big in the passing game for 2-3 plays, on a LB match-up.

  22. td says:

    I actually believe BB passes on guys he thinks that will be stars because at some point you have to pay them. He always seems to build a backfield with a group of guys that can do a bunch of different things as one guy that does it all in the backfield costs a whole lot; like David Johnson of Arizona.

  23. steve earle says:

    Oops! Short term memory faulty. Cannon on DNP list, at least today. Now I need a shower.

  24. steve earle says:

    Me Too Mike! Seeing Cannon on injury list scares the heck out of me because I can see JJ Watts lined up on his replacement, at least in my paranoid imagination. Yea he was on limited, not out but that’s enough to make me sweat.

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