There is no denying C.J. Spiller's freak athleticism and immense talent. He's a natural runner with excellent vision and game-breaker ability.
Spiller is unquestionably the top running back in this draft in terms of sheer athletic ability and explosiveness.
The problem is, people said the same thing about Reggie Bush.
While it's unlikely that he'll ever turn into a full-fledged starter at the next level, there is no doubt there is a place for his play-making ability and versatile skill-set.
Spiller has soft hands and excellent vision, which allow him to haul in passes as a receiver from virtually anywhere on the field. His size doesn't help him much as a running back, but it aids him as a receiver, as he has elite quickness and explosion, combined with perfect timing on his cuts and angles.
If he's not making a huge impact as a situational runner (à la Felix Jones, Darren Sproles, etc.), he should easily be able to change a team's image in the return game, while also being able to shake things up as a receiver, both out of the back-field and even lining up in the slot or in four-receiver sets.
For all the minor knocks he has, it will all inevitably come down to one thing: Spiller is the most explosive weapon in this draft, and he's worth the minor risk or reach. As it stands, he could go as high as the sixth pick to the Seattle Seahawks, while many mock drafts have him landing at the 13th or 17th pick with the San Francisco 49ers.
Spiller has just one season with over 1,000 yards rushing, which shows us he's unlikely ever to be able to handle a full rushing load by himself, and leads many to question his durability.
His rather small stature also makes it unlikely for him to transform into a successful in-between-the-tackles runner, and his moderate strength suggests he can't take the pounding like most 300-plus carry running backs are forced to deal with.
He's a freak athlete with a ton of upside, but he's slightly chained down by his size and strength.
The fears that Spiller could be a major reach and/or can't be an every-down back at the next level are warranted. But that doesn't mean it's written in stone.
Small backs have gone on to be solid (if not elite) starters in the NFL, and a player with his talent shouldn't really be discussed as a reach, no matter where he's taken. He's just that damn good.
NFL Player Comparison: Reggie Bush