Tank Bigsby Draft Profile
In the NFL, there is a natural maturation process for every single player. When it comes to Auburn running back, Tank Bigsby, that process will not take too long. He is a high character guy who is very mature for his age; he has been handling himself like a professional since the moment he stepped on to Auburn’s campus. Bigsby has had to deal with high expectations since he was in high school, he was the number one ranked running back in his class and had a huge role for Auburn’s offense as a true freshman. In his freshman year, Bigsby had a lot of production; he ran for over 800 yards and won SEC freshman of the year. He followed that season up with a season of 1,100 rushing yards and ten rushing touchdowns. After his huge sophomore season, Auburn’s head coach Bryan Harsin was involved in an investigation regarding the maltreatment of his players. This led to over 20 players transferring, but Bigsby decided to stay true to his commitment to the Tigers and play out his junior year. Despite Harsin getting fired mid-season, Bigsby had a good year and set himself up to potentially be a day two guy in the draft. Like I said, Bigsby is a professional and it is going to come through during his pre-draft meetings and media interviews. For that reason, I could see Bigsby going a little higher than I have him graded.
One thing I appreciate about Tank Bigsby is that he’s not afraid to lower his shoulder and meet defenders in the hole. The initial power that he has is enough to knock the wind out of defenders. He makes defenders second-guess their decisions to play football. His instincts are sharp when he has to react to a defender coming at him from his periphereals. When he is carrying the ball, he keeps his eyes downfield which allows him to anticipate cut back lanes and position himself to make life hard on linebackers. His burst isn’t elite, but it is there; he has an above average second gear. He isn’t afraid to finish runs with his shoulder, which is why I would like to see him in a gap scheme where he can follow his lead blockers and make defenders try to thump him. He does a nice job at getting skinny through holes, and I like his downhill ability. I don’t foresee him being a starting running back in the NFL who takes a ton of carries, but I believe he can carve out a nice role for himself as a situational tone-setting running back.
While Bigsby is capable of providing the “umph”, he does not keep his feet churning through contact. That is the difference between power and strength. While he sets the tone with the initial contact, that doesn’t result in a ton of yards after contact. Bigsby has long legs and a short torso which results in a lack of “wiggle” and quickness. Despite having long legs, he has just average speed and not a lot of knee bend. As a runner, he tries to make moves before he closes space on the defender which results in wasted movement that causes him to get tackled. He needs to get better when the ball isn’t in his hands; he has poor spatial awareness as a receiver and has trouble identifying who to pick up in pass protection. Because of the power that he runs with, I believe he can get better as a blocker; but first he needs to get a better understanding for who to pick up, then get his feet under him so he can hold his blocks. If Bigsby is able to convert his power to strength and get better when he’s not running the football; he can be a productive player in the NFL.
From a character standpoint, I can easily see how a team falls in love with Bigsby as a human being. I don’t think he has enough suddenness or speed to be a legit thousand yard back in the NFL. He is going to need to round out his game, which won’t happen overnight. I believe his ceiling is being a guy like Brian Robinson; a dependable running back that can get you the tough yards when you need them the most. If he is able to land in a gap-scheme team that can help him improve as a receiver and blocker, I foresee Bigsby having a nice, long career. I believe the Saints, Lions, and Packer would all be good spots for him.
Play Strength + Toughness: 10.25/12
Long Speed + Lateral Speed: 8/10
Feet + Change of Direction: 8/10
Quickness + Open Field: 7/10
Burst + Acceleration: 6.25/8
Receiving Ability: 4/6
Athletic Ability: 3.5/5
Final Rating: 78
Pro Comparison: Brian Robinson Jr.
Draft Projection: Mid - Late Third Round Pick
Draft Grade: Mid - Late Fourth Round Pick
Team Fits: Saints, Lions, Packers