2010 NFL Draft: Is C.J. Spiller the Next Chris Johnson?

Chris YoungCorrespondent IApril 22, 2010

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 28: Running back C. J. Spiller #28 of the Clemson Tigers rushes upfield against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the 2009 ACC Football Championship Game December 5, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

2010 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Is C.J. Spiller the Next Chris Johnson?

Plenty of comparisons are being made as we head to the draft, one of them being the comparison of Clemson’s C.J. Spiller's to the Tennessee Titans' Chris Johnson.

Looking at both players you see the size, speed, mobility, and the flash factor as an indication that both players are quite alike. Disregarding what Johnson has done in the NFL, when you look at the film of both in college, there is not much of a difference.

C.J. Spiller unofficially ran a 4.28, but at the combine he was a bit slower with a 4.37 (it translates to the field). When you run that fast does it really matter if you run in the 4.2’s or the 4.3’s? Either way, you will not catch him.

Spiller has some remarkable upside if a team can coach him up on several different aspects of the NFL game.

His speed may tempt some NFL GM’s and scouts to select him a little earlier than maybe he should be selected.

One question about Spiller right now is how high will he go in the draft? The ideal thinking is that he'll be a Top 15 pick, while he could easily end up in the Top 10 (Oakland, Houston, Cleveland, Buffalo, San Francisco, and Seattle).

Initially, he might be best suited (West Coast Offense) as a third down back in the National Football League, where a team can use him on screens and draws to capitalize on his speed.

He brings a lot of upside to the return game as well (seven kickoff return TDs are an NCAA record).

His blocking was a concern, but he has shown that he can block and actually will put forth the effort to do so, which makes him rise with the potential of being an all-purpose back in the NFL.

Spiller, being a smaller back, makes you ask the question: Can he be an effective runner in between the tackles? If you watch him on film and watched him talk with Jon Gruden you will see he has it in him.

As he enters the NFL, injuries will be a substantial concern, as you have seen with Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones.

Spiller and Johnson are both primarily outside runners, their ability to turn the corner and show a second gear when they get in the open makes them almost unstoppable in the open field. They show great directional change and have the ability to make multiple defenders miss.

Let’s jump to the passing game for both players.

No doubt about it, they are both difference makers as a receiver coming out of the backfield, while having above average route running skills for their position, and can adjust to the poorly thrown ball and displays steady ability to track the ball over their shoulders.

After the catch, both backs show exceptional acceleration and are a major threat on the run.

The only difference is Spiller has the upper edge as a pass blocker.

Chris Johnson made a direct impact with the Tennessee Titans in his rookie season.

He is an undersized running back in the NFL with exceptional speed, acceleration, and great vision; the same kind of material C.J. Spiller is made of, right?

So, will C.J. Spiller become the next Chris Johnson?