Name: Devin Singletary
SCHOOL: Florida Atlantic
CONFERENCE: Conference USA
POSITION: Running Back
JERSEY: No. 5
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
WT: 200 lbs
Feet – Operates from a balanced base with good width. Consistently keeps his feet moving through contact and works for extra yards. Makes smooth cuts and gets outstanding width on jump cuts. Does not illustrate consistency altering his tempo and burst off his plant foot is underwhelming for his style. Doesn’t have desired acceleration for his profile. Does he have game-breaking speed?
Vision – Sees the field cleanly and always has a plan with the ball. Has outstanding vision in the hole, makes good decisions and strings together moves naturally. Has a knack for finding space and making something out of nothing. Most of his runs are horizontal and he does a terrific job of finding creases. Has excellent spatial awareness.
Pass Protection – Is a willing pass protector but doesn’t have the frame necessary to absorb contact and his anchor is questionable. It’s difficult to determine what he is coached to do in pass pro, but there were times that he ignored interior threats to work back outside and chip. Doesn’t have a skill set that translates favorably to being an impact blocker in pass protection in the NFL.
Receiving – Surprising that catching the football wasn’t a bigger component of his collegiate utilization. Production decreased significantly every year with only six receptions in his final year. Didn’t illustrate any limitations when tasked with catching the football and his elusive traits should be favorable for developing a route running skill set.
Balance – Has eye-popping moments of sustaining himself through contact and absorbing contact. Has smooth and easy body control when executing and stringing together moves. Bounces off defenders and has no issues gathering himself to continue up the field.
Elusiveness – Rare elusive traits and agility in space. Smooth and easy change of direction skills that take advantage of his creativity as a runner. He does well to glide and make cuts but his modest quickness is odd for profile.
Power – A bit of a finesse runner but he isn’t shy of contact. Does well to set up tacklers and make it difficult to square him up, creating advantageous scenarios for him to win after contact. Runs with a low center of gravity and low pads. Willing to drop his shoulder and challenge tacklers.
Competitive Toughness – Not a power runner but truly battles. Does well to slip out of and wiggle through contact. Does well to keep his legs churning and compete for yards after contact. Finds ways to get skinny and fall forward.
Versatility – Has mostly been utilized as zone runner. Receiving skill set is somewhat incomplete and he doesn’t project well to pass pro. Has the traits to evolve but is unproven is some critical areas.
BEST TRAIT – Elusiveness
WORST TRAIT – Burst relative to size/skill set
RED FLAGS – None
Singletary projects most favorably to a zone scheme where he elusive traits, agility and ability to find creases is maximized. While he hasn’t been a standout receiver, evolving that component of his game will be critical in carving out a prominent NFL role. For a player of his stature and style, Singletary lacks true game-changing speed and quickness that would be preferred for his profile. His ability to find space and make tacklers miss should warrant touches, but how he develops the rest of his game will define his career and role.
Vision – True full-field vision in every sense of the phrase. Constantly reading through the first level and into the second level. Pulls linebackers and overhang defenders every which way he likes, like a marionettes with his puppets. Able to string together incredible third-level runs, not as a product of elite physical traits (like speed), but rather more so as the product of instincts tethered to body control and great vision.
Burst – More so sudden than he is springy, which leads to some disappointing runs in which pursuit gets to him. Can slice quickly into space on outside zone flow but lacks the ability to get vertical in a blink when running with power. Prefers to pick his way with patience through angles and work to the backside, rather than hit the designated hole and beat tacklers to the spot. Has a second-gear when he gets into space but again, not overly explosive for an undersized back.
Change of Direction – Wonderful footwork in the hole and in space to generate advantageous angles to make tacklers miss. Regularly dangles eye-candy in front of would-be tacklers, fooling them into believing he lacks the explosive cuts or sudden wiggle to make them miss. Can jump-cut multiple gaps at the first level and use jump cuts again at the second level to break pursuit angles and work to the backside. Has stop-start ability to die for when working in space. Short stride length a huge benefit here.
Power – Willing to put an exclamation point on the end of his efforts, which is great to see. Maximizes the decent measure of power in a compact frame with great angles and an understanding of space; forces larger defenders into awkward tackling positions, and he’s able to lower his pads and run through arm tackles accordingly. Not a short-yardage back capable of moving a pile, but more than capable of finishing a run falling forward.
2nd Level Speed – Lacking, which puts a big dent in his eval. Struggles to hit the next gear when he breaks through the box and will fail to hit as many explosive, house-call runs at the NFL level given the improved pursuit speed of defensive backfields. Tough to piece together an ideal NFL role for him given lack of breakaway speed.
Contact Balance – Footwork, instincts, and great spatial awareness all marry into a wonderful profile for contact balance. Regularly anticipates contact and angles himself into hits to survive them. Small target area and constant state of motion make him as slippery as all nothing to bring down — this is where I see the Shady McCoy comparisons. Can take a full, head-on blow and remain upright. Improved lower-half thickness would add only more to this aspect of his game.
Decision-making – Pleasantly surprising in his discernment. Always wants the home run but doesn’t work himself into bad spots by attacking backside lanes/space too eagerly. Willing to take what’s blocked for him, especially on zone flow, and live to see another down. Patient style gets him in trouble with backside pursuit at times; could be more decisive attacking space on power concepts instead of looking to create more by vanishing/reappearing behind offensive line.
Pass Catching – Tape is generally positive, but lack of usage is a bit noticeable. Hips are loose, feet are quick, and burst is enough that he should be able to develop into a strong underneath route runner, and would likely turn swing/screen touches into 10+ yard gains given elusive ability. However, lack of usage in this role in college does offer a question mark (only six receptions in 2018).
Pass Protection – Does not project to this role at the NFL level. Lacks ideal size, mass, and length in the arms all to exchange power with closing linebackers. ID problems also abound on film, which further adds to the idea that he should be used more so as a scat protection back than a true sixth body in the backfield.
BEST TRAIT – Vision
WORST TRAIT – 2nd Level Speed
RED FLAGS – Success v. Power 5 competition
PLAYER COMPARISON – None yet
Devin Singletary is a mighty tricky eval — one of the toughest I’ve hit this season. You’d like to project him to a zone style of play at the next level for his foot speed, change of direction, and vision — but his lack of elite burst and NFL level long speed limit his role here. Again, he’s strong on power concepts — but his lack of elite burst and speed again give me a nagging doubt as to his NFL transition.
If Singletary had been more involved in the passing game for the Owls, then I’d feel better about him as a change-of-pace scatback in Year 1 — and if you’re comfortable projecting that role for him by working him out in the passing game, then go for it. But as it stands, Singletary just seems to be missing that ideal home run piece to his eval. His testing interests me tremendously.
Vision –He’s almost preemptive with a lot of cuts, showing tremendous anticipation for where defensive flow is going to declare at the point of attack and sliding laterally to work himself into a soft bubble at the LOS. Great second level vision and open field skills.
Feet/Change of Direction –Feet are rapid fire, smooth and confident. Does a really nice job varying his step cadence in order to keep himself balanced and ready to react as action unfolds in front of him. Really sudden with his lateral step and is quick to hop back into position to make another cut.
Durability –An absolute hammer. He toted the ball in high volume during college career and consistently provided the death blow in close games with chunk runs late in the game. Mileage is high, so that’s something that may turn off some teams for an early evaluation.
Balance –His transitional balance through cuts is terrific. So, too, is his contact balance when he’s challenged above the waist, especially in lateral challenges. He’s almost moving at a different speed in tight spaces but his feet are always set.
Pass Protection –It isn’t for a lack of effort that there are some struggles. He steps out and looks to bump and go toe to toe with defenders in the backfield. But hand blows aren’t always there and more importantly it appeared there were misreads, passing over interior gaps to step outside.
Elusiveness –The dude is a Yo-Yo. He’s tied on a string, able to start/stop, pivot, juke, side-step and straight up embarrass defenders. Brings great contact balance and will shrug off soft tackle challenges. Only downside is he seems to run out of gas after about 40 yards.
Receiving Ability –Pretty underutilized in this area. He’ll need to show more if he’s going to really take over a backfield in the way his running skills suggest he should. He’s a little bit of a body catcher over the middle and doesn’t have the biggest catch radius on mis-placed throws.
Short Yardage Skill –Lateral quickness with his cuts and foot activity to press up into the hole are effective in getting into the LOS before crashing defenders can stuff up his legs at the mesh point. Leverage is strong and does well to get underneath the pads.
Football Intelligence – Some questions will linger over level of competition but he dominated the opposition. More of a concern is limiting factors in the pass game and pass protection, which could prevent him from getting into the action quickly as a rookie.
Effort –The dude’s nickname is Motor. Runs hard and makes chicken salad out of chicken expletive on plenty of occasions. A wizard in the phone booth. Must be willing to live with the negative plays as a byproduct of his big play mentality.
BEST TRAIT – Elusiveness
WORST TRAIT – Long Speed
BEST FILM – UCF (2018)
WORST FILM – Oklahoma (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
Devin Singletary is one of the most fun prospects you’ll watch. Singletary pairs a high volume workload with tremendous contact balance, lateral agility, vision and an aggressive running style to really put defenders in a bind. Singletary is something of a one dimensional player currently, but make no mistake, he’s got ample upside and at the very worst is an early down and short yardage option who would thrive in either gap/power or inside zone rushing offenses.