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Is the Guice Worth the Squeeze for the Redskins at Pick 13?

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Mark Tyler gives his take on why the Redskins should consider Derrius Guice at number 13.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Notre Dame vs Louisiana State Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

How can one not route for LSU running back Derrius Guice?

From this 2015 article by Ross Dellenger of The Advocate (a Louisiana based news paper):

His high school coach describes Derrius Guice as “a ball of butcher knives.”

He runs angry. He runs violent.

He’s a human pinball, bouncing off tacklers as if they were the walls in the arcade game. He runs with a passion, teammate Leonard Fournette said. He runs with emotion and conviction.

He runs because he doesn’t want to fall. He runs because he doesn’t want to fail. The ground — and everything it stands for — is his enemy.

He runs for his father, murdered when Derrius was a child.

He runs for all of those who have, for more than a decade, kept him from hitting the ground. He runs for his hard-working mother and his hard-driving coaches. He runs to relieve himself from his crime-riddled street and impoverished neighborhood.

He runs to prove there’s more than just one star running back on his team. And that guy runs like a crazy man.

Guice’s story is one that can bring tears to the eyes of even the most stoic of individuals. He has had to endure of lot of personal challenges for a young man really just beginning his professional life.

Derrius grew up in one of the more poverty-stricken areas of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. When he was just 6 years old, his father was murdered in a local Denny’s restaurant. He watched the story unfold on the local news stations, and to his horror, saw images of a man laying on the ground; his lifeless, bloody body covered by a black body-bag. His reaction was one of more anger than sadness - something he carries with him to this day. He was forced to become the man of the house as an elementary school student.

His mother worked various jobs to support he and his brother Derrick (he had another brother who was born when he was older). They moved often during his childhood, and sometimes he would go to bed not knowing where or when his next meal would come, or if he’d have a roof over his head the next week.

Guice began to excel at football in middle school, and was recruited to play at a local private nearly all-white high school in South Baton Rouge. Although it was an escape from the poverty-stricken public school, Catholic High was not a happy place for young Derrius. He had to endure racism and stereotypes even as the school’s star football player. He would gets rides to and from campus from coaches and mentors who acted as father figures for the impressionable teen. Despite all that he had to overcome, Guice became a national football recruit, and was rated a five-star prospect by most recruiting services.

He pledged his commitment to the local powerhouse university, LSU, and would enter college as a backup to star tailback Leonard Fournette. Despite playing in the shadow of one of the best college running backs in the nation, Guice still managed to play in 12 games, and ran for 436 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman in 2015.

Guice entered his sophomore season again as a backup to Fournette. Injury forced Leonard to miss some games that year and Guice stepped in and excelled. In 2016, just days before LSU’s big game against Alabama, Guice’s brother was arrested and charged with attempted second degree murder, after he was driving the getaway car that held two other men who were accused of firing 37 shots into a home just blocks from where the brothers grew up.

As if the chip on his shoulder wasn’t already big enough, Guice continued to harness all of this negativity into a positive vibe on the football field. To put it in better perspective - he ran ANGRY.

Angry at the death of his father when he was young. Angry at the poverty he grew up in. Angry at the struggles to fit in and racism he endured in high school. Angry at the situation surrounding his older brother...


So, is Guice worth a pick in the top half of this draft...more specifically, to the Redskins at number 13?

I say a resounding yes, and here is why.

First of all, Guice, at 5’10” 212 pounds, is an exceptional athlete. He ran an official 4.49 40 yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, and looked extremely light-footed, quick and agile in on-field drills. It’s been reported that last summer on LSU’s campus, he ran in the low 4.4’s. When you put the tape on, not many people are catching him from behind. He has naturally soft hands, and despite just 32 total collegiate receptions, he has the ability to run multiple patterns, both out of the backfield, and split out wide as a receiver. And guess what else...this kid can block too! These unique abilities are what make Guice one of the most complete 3-down backs in this draft.

Second, his production at running back was exceptional the last two seasons, as he put up 1387 and 1251 yards respectively against SEC defenses. What may be even more impressive, is that he played much of 2017 at less than 100 percent. However, unless you knew that from reports, you didn’t see any change to his physical, aggressive running style. In three years at Baton Rouge, he rushed for over 3000 total yards - two of those years playing mostly behind Leonard Fournette.

Finally, as we mentioned, Guice plays angry. He has an obvious chip on his shoulder for all the personal hardships he’s had to endure over his young life, and he carries that with him on the football field. But for as angry as he plays, he’s a warm-hearted kid off the field, who is a good teammate, and a person who likes to give back to the community.

The Redskins have not had a complete running back since they traded Champ Bailey for Clinton Portis back in 2004. Portis, who played for the Redskins up until 2010, had four seasons where he rushed for over 1200 yards and caught at least 25 passes. Guice can bring that type of ability as a running back, but may be even more explosive and violent as a runner than Portis was. I think he has more natural receiving skills, and could be a player who consistently puts up 1200 plus rushing yards and 40 receptions over his career.

It’s been mentioned in a few of Jay Gruden and Doug Williams’ recent press conferences, that the team intends to bring in a new running back during the draft. Both men made it no secret that upgrading the position is a focal point of the offseason.

So is the Guice worth the squeeze at pick 13 for the Redskins? With a kid like him and all he’s had to endure, I certainly wouldn’t bet against him.

Poll

Would Guice be a good pick for the Redskins at #13?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Yes - He’s just what we need at RB
    (586 votes)
  • 38%
    No - 13 is too high, but I’d take him in a first round trade-back
    (708 votes)
  • 28%
    Go defense with our first pick and draft a RB in the 2nd round
    (522 votes)
  • 1%
    We are fine at RB
    (21 votes)
1837 votes total Vote Now