Prospect: Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLAJohnathan Franklin

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 205 lb.


  • 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

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
  • 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.  He needs development in the passing game and as a pass blocker.  When that comes, he can start to make a big impact on passing downs or in other situations where he can use that open field speed.  It’s also important to note that he comes from a scheme which heavily utilized pistol and shotgun sets, very different from most pro-style running sets.  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.

Originally published at Johnathan Franklin Scouting Report