Johnathan Franklin: 5 Things You Need to Know About the UCLA RB

Shae CroninCorrespondent IApril 26, 2013

Johnathan Franklin: 5 Things You Need to Know About the UCLA RB

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    Coming on strong as a senior last season, UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin has positioned himself amongst the best running backs in the 2013 draft class.

    Despite lacking the ideal bulk that teams covet in the NFL, there's no denying Franklin's quickness and home-run ability, as he threatens to pull off a game-breaking play with nearly every touch of the football.

    There's starting potential for Franklin at the next level, given the right offensive scheme. At the very least, he projects well as a solid change-of-pace back. 

Background

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    Full Name: Johnathan A. Franklin

    Birthday: October 23, 1989

    Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.

    School: UCLA

    Major: Political Science

    Year: RS Senior

     

    After attending Dorsey High School in L.A., Franklin decided to stay close and don hometown Bruins colors.

    He would go on to redshirt his freshman year and earn UCLA's Charles Pike Memorial Award for Outstanding Scout Team Player.

    Over the course of his five-year collegiate career, Franklin's hard work and dedication is well documented.

Statistics

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    There's no doubting Franklin's work ethic over the years, and his statistics help prove it.

    The number that stands out the most is Franklin's lack of touches in 2011. Although he made the most of what he was given, the Bruins offense didn't work to get the most out of Franklin's ability and skill set during his junior season.

    Another positive bump for Franklin's stock comes by way of increased totals as a receiver out of the backfield.

    While he didn't receive much attention early on in his career (likely due to ball security issues), Franklin proved he could threaten as a receiver by catching 33 balls and recording two scores as a senior.

     

    Rushing

    2009: 13 games, 126 attempts, 566 yards, 4.5 YPA, 5 TDs
    2010:
    12 games, 214 attempts, 1127 yards, 5.3 YPA, 8 TDs
    2011:
    14 games, 166 attempts, 976 yards, 5.9 YPA, 5 TDs
    2012:
    14 games, 282 attempts, 1734 yards, 6.1 YPA, 13 TDs

    Total: 53 games, 788 attempts, 4403 yards, 5.6 YPA, 31 TDs

     

    Receiving

    2009: 6 catches, 53 yards, 9.5 YPC, 0 TDs
    2010:
    10 catches, 67 yards, 6.3 YPC, 0 TDs
    2011:
    9 catches, 74 yards, 8.2 YPC, 1 TD
    2012:
    33 catches, 323 yards, 9.8 YPC, 2 TDs

    Total: 58 catches, 517 yards, 8.9 YPC, 3 TDs

Draft Process

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    Measurables

    Height: 5'10"

    Weight: 205 lbs

    Arm Length: 30"

    Hand Size: 9 3/8"

     

     

    Combine Results

    40-yard Dash: 4.49 seconds

    Bench Press: 18 reps

    Vertical: 31.5"

    Broad Jump: 115"

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.89 seconds

    20-yard Shuttle: 4.31 seconds

    60-yard Shuttle: 11.33 seconds

     

    Although he may not wow scouts with his frame, Franklin did perform well at the combine by running one of the fastest 40 times at his position and posting some impressive shuttle numbers.

    On the other hand, Franklin's lowly 18 reps on the bench press was additional proof that his upper body strength isn't exactly what NFL scouts drool over. He's a guy that relies on shiftiness in his hips and lower body strength to find success on the football field.

    (Numbers provided by NFL.com)

Interesting Facts

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    While attending Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, Franklin played both ways, earning first-team All-City as a running back and third-team All-City as a linebacker.

    Franklin was also a member of the track team at Dorsey, where he was a part of the 4x400-meter relay team that placed first in the city meet and third in the state meet.

    While attending UCLA, Franklin majored in political science, aspiring to be a psychologist, teen mentor and motivational speaker.

    Franklin lists former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis as the athlete he admires most.

    Because of his record-breaking 1,734 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, Franklin was a 2012 Doak Walker Award finalist.

    Capping a brilliant collegiate career, Franklin finished as UCLA's all-time leading single-season rusher, all-time leader in all-purpose yards and all-time career leading rusher.

    (According to UCLA Bruins team site)

Observations

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    According to NFL.com, "[Franklin is] a one cut type of runner, who has impressive foot quickness, and the ability to explode out of his cuts. Presses the line before cutting to the play side and displays good vision and patience to find open running lane."

    B/R's very own draft expert Matt Miller compares Franklin to New England Patriots back Shane Vereen, noting that he relies on his speed and agility to gain yards.

    "Due to his one cut and go ability Franklin is a good fit in a zone blocking system, where he can use his patience and vision. He can get to the edge and break the long run once turning the corner," according to NEPatriotsDraft.com.

    You won't find many that are in disagreement with Franklin's weaknesses, as noted by B/R's draft expert Sigmund Bloom. "Franklin is just not big enough to push the pile or bowl tacklers over. He is a weak pass-blocker and will get exploited if he is used in that role in the pros. This might limit him to be a committee back at the next level. He had fumbling problems in the past but seemed to get that under control in 2012."

    "Franklin has real quickness and is shifty, but is more physical and tough than one would think. When he gets to the second level of the defense, he powers through defenders and finishes his runs well. Franklin has the ability to get some yards after contact," according to Walter Football.

    Franklin had an impressive Pro Day at UCLA, according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com (via CBS Sports). "Franklin did a 30-inch vertical jump, and stood by the rest of his numbers from the combine. Franklin looked really outstanding in the position drills. He caught the ball well with no drops. He had just one double catch and one chest catch."