Jonathan Franklin Scouting Report

February 8th, 2013

Jonathan Franklin is very dangerous in the open field (photo courtesy of

QB / RB / FB / WR / TE / OT / OG / OC / DT / DE / OLB / ILB / CB / SAF
Prospect: Jonathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 201 lb
Grade: 6.94 (Grading Scale)

+Calling card athletically is his open field speed, makes him a homerun threat
+Twitchy player with quick reactions to defenders in his area
-Change of directions skills well below par for a smaller running back, often uses 3 quick steps to cut where most backs use one hard plant step
+Strong for his frame, will hold up against NFL defenses

+Instinctive in the open field, runs back against the pursuit of downfield defenders
+Resilient runner who fights for every yard on every carry

Pass Protection:
-Inexperienced blocker who’s not called to do it all that often in the scheme
-His inexperience shows up often through indecisiveness and hesitation
+Very willing to put his body on the line and has physicality to get the job done
+Showed legit improvement and excellent effort during Senior Bowl week drills

Route Runner:
-Responsibilities as a pass catcher for the Bruins predominantly swing passes, very little route variance
-Lacks the feel for finding space after initial route breaks down

Hands and Carrying:
-Some history of fumbles throughout years at UCLA
-Holds the ball with a rather loose grip and not tight to his chest
-Seems to have an awkward feel for catching the ball with his hands, had some untimely drops as well

+Ability to get north and south and utilize his speed is what his game is centered on
+Has a developed jump cut to get to holes as they open up
+Accelerates and gets to the second level very quickly when given a crease
+/-Patient runner who stays behind his blocks at all costs, struggles to create plays when blocks in front of him fail
+Flashes necessary vision occasionally but ran through some huge holes more than not, transition to a pro style running attack needed
+Forces missed tackles well with proper leg drive and can spin away from contact
+Gets to full speed quickly when taking handoffs from the pistol formation
-Lacks desired elusiveness through foot quickness and ability to change direction that is often desired in smaller backs
+Bounces off of high tackles effectively with a strong upper body and ability to stay balanced through contact
-Tries to cut up outside runs on occasion which limits his ability to use his speed around the corner

Johnathan Franklin’s ability to take over football games as a back was very impressive as a senior. He recorded over 160 rushing yards in six games, with two over 200. At the same time, he had five games with less than 80 yards. That inconsistency could be credited to the fact that Franklin is a runner who is very reliant on the blockers in front of him to open up lanes for him. While that is true to a degree with every running back, he struggles to create yardage consistently without the benefit of open space to get into. That’s not to say there’s not a place for a guy like Franklin. He’s a proven playmaker with the ball in the open field. His UCLA nickname was “Jet Ski” for his ability to leave defenders in his wake. He needs development in the passing game and as a pass blocker, though he did show improvement in both areas at Senior Bowl week. When that development comes, he can start to make a big impact on passing downs or in other situations where he can use that open field speed. Because he has less every-down ability than a number of other prospects at a position that is losing value every year, a second day pick would be quite a stretch.

Scouting Notes
UCLA vs. Stanford (Pac-12 Championship)
• Catches a swing pass after going in motion, patient behind blocks but unable to make the safety miss in space
• Turns the corner following a pulling guard, spins out of a tackle momentarily at the second level to pick up a couple extra yards
• Keeps balance after nearly being tripped up on an inside trap play, hits the big seam and goes the distance for six points
• Fires his feet at the second level and makes a safety miss before carrying Chase Thomas a few extra yards
• Hides behind blockers well as they get good push but loses footing trying to make a cut and goes down
• Goes down again on a swing pass trying to juke a defensive back in the open field
• Impressive jump cut to elude penetrating defensive tackle and get into the hole, accelerates for a long gain
• Bounces a run outside of his kickout block unnecessarily, should have cut up inside of it
• Wins around the corner past an unblocked linebacker on consecutive carries due to pure speed
• Ugly drop on a swing pass on crucial third and long late in the game, looked up for defenders before securing the ball

UCLA vs. Oregon State
• Makes a decisive cut to bounce the run but can’t turn the corner on the defensive end
• Leverages a blitzing cornerback well as a pass blocker, forces a wide path
• Good concentration to catch a swing pass with his fingertips
• Unable to truly win over the top on a fly route up the sideline, small window for his quarterback
• Handles a free defensive tackle in pass protection rather well, stay upright and walls him off momentarily
• Unable to adjust to the ball on a swing pass, needed to turn hips and catch the ball around his head, off of his hands
• Accelerates through a hole on the inside quickly, unable to shake the first tackler though
• Nice effort play to push his quarterback into the endzone on a quarterback sneak

UCLA vs. Nebraska
• Wide open catch on a swing pass, barely has his heels clipped on a tackle or would have gone the distance
• Effectively turns the corner on a toss, keeps balance through awful tackle from a safety by putting his hand on the ground, gains a few extra yards
• Another open swing pass, spitting image of first play described, barely caught by the safety on the sideline
• Has the ball knocked out all too easily, not a tight holder of the ball
• Makes two defenders miss with subtle cuts on a swing pass, up the sideline and into open space before making a few more miss well downfield with inside cuts
• Aggressively picks up a blitzing linebacker, meets him early and puts his body on the line with a cut block, successful
• A rinse and repeat swing pass seems him slip out of one tackle before almost spinning away from a second

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