Kalen Ballage, RB
School: Arizona State | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21?
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 222 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 4th Round
NFL Comparison: Chris Ivory
Kalen Ballage was heavily recruited by Colorado and Colorado State as a 4-star recruit and a native of Falcon, Colorado. Ballage chose Arizona State over those schools and many others and has largely been in a timeshare with fellow NFL Draft prospect Demario Richard for most of his career. Ballage’s production has run the gamut during his career from games where he only has a few yards to games where he goes over 100. In 2016, he tied the FBS record for most touchdowns in a game when he scored 7 against Texas Tech. Ballage is going to impress a lot of people with his athleticism relative to his size as he already has created some buzz for himself from his performance at the Senior Bowl. He’s a large sturdy back who is capable chunk yardage, hauling in tough passes out of the backfield, and even hurdling defenders. He has the strength and power to win short yards and he excels at catching the ball out of the backfield. Ballage certainly has the physical traits to be a bruiser back at the next level but his critics will point to his limited college production as proof that he has to be in a timeshare at the next level.
- Thickly built with deceptive speed and athleticism.
- Excellent pass catcher. Natural hands and can make impressive adjustments to the ball.
- Has impressive power and can break tackles and churn out those tough short yardage situations.
- Impressive jump-cut ability and agility.
- Must get better at protecting the ball - he has at least 8 fumbles in his career.
- Neither traits nor production signal he can be ‘the guy’ but likely another nice piece in a rotation at the next level.
- Vision wasn't impressive and he isn't particularly elusive - he’s a north/south guy that will leave some yards on the field because of those limitations.
- Upright runner who is winning physical matchups in college purely because of his size. He must learn to run lower - in the NFL he’s going to be stopped on situations he’s used to winning if he doesn't.
Let’s see his work:
Kalen Ballage a 3rd rounder at worse just on his receiving ability alone. He's got better hands than Curtis Samuel, who went pick 40.— Fusue Vue (@lifesyourcup) January 26, 2018
Arizona State RB Kalen Ballage (#7) looks like an excellent back in a two-back rotation in the NFL. Three-down player who can do everything. #NFLDraft @polarcompound_7https://t.co/vEKxskifuX pic.twitter.com/IybO0ixoel— Kevin Brown (@nfldraftnik) January 10, 2018
Kalen Ballage, now you see him, now you don’t. pic.twitter.com/09I1KPoUhY— Bruce Matson (@BMatz08) December 6, 2017
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
Redskin opponents are going to have to tighten their chin straps next season if Ballage is added to the roster. Between him and Perine (pending a base number of carries each), defenses should be worn down late in the game and know that they did play the Redskins the day after. If Ballage can clean up some of his weaknesses particularly ball security and his upright running style he’ll be a solid contributor. I think Perine is the better runner of the two and should get the lions share of the carry attempts. I admit its a bit hard to place him in the game when he offers so much of what the two current Redskins backs already provide. I think Ballage would be a situation player who could be effective in goalline situations and in longer down and distance plays because of his pass-catching ability and depending on the call the chance for him to rip off a chunk play. I don’t think Ballage would transform the Redskins rushing game significantly but he would be a nicer piece in the rotation and could be a solid contributor on the ground and through the air provided he gets the opportunities.