Chris Varughese

The Bears Brawl Writer, Jr. Editor and Draft Expert

Bruce Anderson out of North Dakota State has been a rising favorite among Chicago Bears’ fans at the running back position and for good reason. He is an exciting prospect to evaluate and watch. However, the most exciting part about Bruce Anderson is his potential to be a number 1 running back. Although he brings a lot of excitement to the table, he also has some things that he can improve on in his transition to the NFL.

Positives:

Anderson has great power and strength and he was used that way mostly at North Dakota State. He was asked to run between the tackles and to gain move the chains on short yardage situation. Due to his superb strength, he excelled at this. However Anderson also showed a lot more than just power, and he also gained a lot more yardage than the play was designed to get. He showed surprising explosiveness and speed, especially after getting through the first level of the defense. He averaged 7.5 yards per carry in 2018, which doesn’t do justice to his ability to create after contact. He is a physical runner, who is capable of lowering his shoulder to gain more yardage or even using a stiff arm. The way he runs low to the ground gives him a low center of gravity and makes it hard for defenders to bring him down without proper tackling technique. He has great vision in the second level and shows it well when he bounces runs to the outside. Anderson is special because not only does he have a great north to south game, but his lateral game is very good for someone as big as him. He sells defenders really well, and is a master of the one-leg cut. He doesn’t waste any motion in getting by a defender, which allows him to gain as much yardage as possible. The one thing to look at above all, is how well-balanced he is for a power running back. He does a great job of maintaining his balance after the first and second hit. To add even more to his repertoire, Anderson also shows great catching ability.

Negatives:

Although Anderson has great catching ability, he needs to be able to run better routes out of the backfield. Even though he gets open well when it’s designed for him, he struggles when he comes out of a backfield against an athletic linebacker or safety. He also needs to improve on his patience and vision in the backfield. His second level vision is very good, but he often runs into the offensive line with a full head of steam hoping to get yardage just off of pure brute strength. That may work for him sometimes, but in order to be a true number one running back, he needs to slow down the game behind the line of scrimmage and be more patient. He needs to also improve as a pass blocker. He too often engages with the blitzing defender before they even engage with him.

Summary:

Bruce Anderson has all the potential to be a number one running back. Although he has some things he can improve on, his combination of strength and speed gives him a high floor to work with. If he works on his patience and adds that to his game he can become one of the best running backs to come out of this class. However, due to the fact that he played in the FCS he can fall in the draft. Especially with a questionable quadriceps injury that kept him out of the Senior Bowl. However, due to his rare combination of skills and his balance as a runner, he can emerge as a top player in an NFL backfield. If the Bears choose to draft him, at worst they are getting a power back that can break off chunks of yardage here and there. But his ceiling is very high if he can improve coming into the league.

 

Here are some videos of Bruce Anderson versus Colgate and Sam Houston State:

 

Colgate:

 

 

 

Sam Houston State: