Marc Tyler: 3 Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses of NFL Draft Prospect's Game

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIApril 21, 2012

Marc Tyler: 3 Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses of NFL Draft Prospect's Game

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    Marc Tyler's college career never quite lived up to the hype that preceded his arrival at USC. The running back battled injuries, off-the-field problems and a stacked depth chart. 

    Still, Tyler carved out a niche for himself during his final two seasons with the Trojans. Through hard work, he earned his way back into the good graces of coach Lane Kiffin. 

    He is a power running back who could have a future in the NFL if a team is willing to use a late-round pick on him in the upcoming draft.

    Here is a breakdown of his strengths and weaknesses.

Strength: His Pedigree

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    Tyler was a five-star recruit coming out of Oaks Christian High School in Westlake, Calif. His most famous teammate was much-heralded quarterback Jimmy Clausen. During his final high school season, Tyler was ranked as the No. 17 player in the nation by Rivals.com and the second-best running back.

    He is also the son of Wendell Tyler, who was a Pro Bowl running back for the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers in the NFL. 

    The younger Tyler has always been a part of winning programs. Thanks to his bloodlines, his natural football talent has never been in question. In addition, when he got in trouble for comments made to TMZ while intoxicated before his senior season, his father was a big part of setting him straight and getting him on the right track.

    He needs to improve in several areas (which will be highlighted later), but there is a lot to like about his background.

Strength: Power Running

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    After watching tape on Tyler, it is obvious that his biggest asset is his ability to run between the tackles. He's a strong, powerful runner with a wide base and great pad level.

    He lowers his shoulders when contact approaches and that helps him keep his balance when hit. Tyler is a competitive runner who pushes through contact and picks up extra yards. He also won't willingly go out of bounds and seems to enjoy delivering hits to defenders. 

    His vision along the interior is excellent as well. He can find small creases, cut through tight areas and push through when a hole closes suddenly. 

    At 5'11" and 219 pounds, he is on the small side for an NFL power back. But if he could put on some good weight, Tyler could churn out tough yards at the next level.

Strength: Versatility

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    It seems strange to say that a power back possesses versatility, but Tyler certainly does.

    While he only had 28 career catches at USC, he has extremely soft hands out of the backfield. He runs excellent routes and seemed to find ways to get open when his quarterbacks needed an outlet. 

    Tyler also played quarterback in USC's Wildcat formation during his final two seasons and was successful at that spot. While he lacks the kind of speed usually seen from guy who runs the Wildcat, his vision and power more than made up for that.

    That he is a solid pass-blocker with developing technique and awareness means that he could probably even play a fullback-type role in the right formation at the next level. 

Weakness: Durability

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    Tyler broke his leg during his senior year in high school and had to have a rod surgically implanted in his leg. That led to a redshirt during what would have been his freshman season.

    He missed time in 2008 thanks to a sprained hip. He sprained a toe before the second game of the 2009 season and missed the rest of the year after having surgery. He pulled a hamstring during spring ball in 2011 and also missed the Colorado game in 2011 with a shoulder injury.

    He was largely healthy during the 2010 season. As a result, he played in all 13 games and rushed for 913 yards and nine touchdowns on 171 carries (5.3 yards per carry).

    But thanks to injuries and off-field issues, he finished his senior season with just 568 yards and four touchdowns on 122 carries.

Weakness: Lack of Top-End Speed

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    At the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine, Tyler turned in a terrible 40-yard dash time of 4.76 seconds. He later turned in a time of 4.64 seconds at his pro day, but claimed his poor combine workout was the result of a pulled hamstring. 

    Tyler has the power to be a solid back at the NFL level, but he must improve his speed to become a solid prospect. According to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News, a scout in attendance felt that Tyler vastly improved his stock at USC's pro day.

    He has never been the kind of guy who would run away from defenders. His strength lies between the tackles. 

Weakness: Character and Issues off the Field

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    Tyler is well-liked by his teammates and the media, but his off-field problems certainly give reason for pause. 

    He was involved in two separate issues on campus during the spring of 2011. In one incident he allegedly spit on a female, and was accused of sexual assault by another. Then came the infamous TMZ encounter last July, where he drunkenly, jokingly suggested that USC was paying its players.

    Tyler had also shown up for spring practice overweight earlier in the year and likely injured his hamstring as a result.

    By virtually all accounts, Tyler cleaned up his act and earned his way back on to the team after being suspended indefinitely by coach Lane Kiffin as a result of his repeated offenses. Tyler had reportedly been struggling with drinking. But after the TMZ incident, he stayed sober.

    Tyler did work himself back onto the team and was a leader for a very successful Trojans team in 2011.

    Still his history of immaturity is troubling and will remain so until Tyler proves that he has moved on and matured.