Texas A&M running back Devon Achane has an excellent chance to be the third running back selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. Achane was absolutely electric throughout his final two campaigns as an Aggie en route to compiling an astounding 3,082 all-purpose yards and 23 touchdowns. Achane earned a plethora of accolades for his efforts, including 2022 All-SEC First-Team All-Purpose Player and 2022 Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Semifinalist.
Achane was outstanding at the NFL Scouting Combine. The Missouri City, Texas native exploded at Lucas Oil Stadium by recording a 4.32 in the 40-yard dash with a 1.51 10-yard split. Achane possesses game-changing speed.
Achane recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about his well-rounded skill set as a rusher, receiver, and returner, his experiences and performance at the combine, his patience as a runner, which schemes best suit his running style at the next level, and so much more.
JM: You had one of the most successful collegiate careers at the running back position in recent memory. You accounted for more than 3,000 all-purpose yards across your final two seasons. How do you look back on your time at Texas A&M?
Devon Achane: I’m very excited to have played at such a wonderful program like Texas A&M. I had so many great experiences. I feel like I made the best decision I could have made. I enjoyed my football there.
It was a great all-around experience. The fans and my teammates, they’re really who made it what it was. We had the best fans and teammates in the world. I’ll forever be thankful for my years at Texas A&M.
JM: It’s a terrific program. When we turn the tape on, we see a ball-carrier that displays terrific vision before showcasing burst through the hole. How did you become such a disciplined runner?
Devon Achane: I’ve always put the work in. I’ve been playing football since I was four years old. I’ve loved the game my whole life. I’ve never stopped working on my craft. I’ve never stopped learning. I’ve had so many experiences throughout my career that made me a better football player. I see the field from different perspectives now.
I’ve had such great coaching and trainers. I became the runner I am today because I’ve never stopped working on my game. I show up ready to practice every single day. I always wanted to do better for my team.
JM: It shows on tape. You recently participated in the NFL Scouting Combine and you showcased high-level athletic traits by recording a 4.32 in the 40-yard dash, which was the fastest time among all backs in attendance. Talk about an elite result. How would you grade your overall performance?
Devon Achane: I feel like it was a good performance. Like you said, I ran the fastest 40 of any running back at the combine. I feel like I looked smooth throughout the on-field drills. I didn’t drop any balls. I ran some routes like I was a receiver and proved that I could be an asset in the passing game.
The combine was an all-around great experience. I enjoyed being around so many great athletes. I spoke with so many great teams. I appreciated an opportunity to showcase my skills in front of the entire world. I feel like I had a good performance out there.
JM: Your elite top-end speed was on display. You destroy pursuit angles. Do you feel as if speed is your X-factor?
Devon Achane: I do. I know I’m very fast. Defenders are afraid of my speed but I also work on my so that I can be a more complete player. I can run the ball between the tackles as well. I can’t use speed all the time. You can’t run outside zone all the time. I can run the ball between the tackles and make people miss in a phone booth. Speed is definitely my x-factor though.
JM: Did you have many formal interviews at the combine? Any Top 30 private visits coming up?
Devon Achane: I had like 12 or 13 formals at the combine. I had a bunch of informals as well. That was a great experience. I loved every meeting, they all went great. I got to meet with so many coaching staff. Hearing from different coaches was exciting. I loved going through their schemes and hearing their opinion on how they evaluate me fitting into their offense. That was a great experience. I’ll never forget it.
I have a bunch of Top 30 visits coming up. I’ve already done one and I have another seven coming up. I’m keeping the teams private, but I’m making eight Top 30 visits as of now.
JM: There’s a lot of interest in you and it’s easy to see why. You’ve also been an asset in the passing game. You talked about going through drills at the combine. You had a career-high 36 receptions and three receiving touchdowns in 2022. I think there’s room for growth. Talk to me about your skills as a receiver, and how important that ability is in today’s NFL.
Devon Achane: I feel like I have great hands in the passing game. I’m very confident in my hands. Catching the football out of the backfield is so important at the next level. You have to be able to run effective routes out of the backfield. I feel like I can line up in the slot when necessary. I can run those routes into the flats.
I always want to be the most versatile player I can be. That’s how you stretch opposing defenses thin. It’s a bad look for the defense. I can create mismatches against linebackers. It creates a lot of opportunities for us in the passing game.
JM: It sure does. You were also an outstanding kick returner at Texas A&M. You averaged 30.6 yards per return and scored two touchdowns. Do you hope to keep returning kicks at the next level?
Devon Achane: I definitely do. Returning kicks is something that comes naturally to me. It’s always been easy for me in all honesty. I’ve been doing it for a long time. Defenders have to respect my ability to return kicks. I can definitely see a team asking me to play special teams at the next level.
JM: I’m going to put you in a scenario I enjoy putting running backs in. Which do you prefer, a 75-yard touchdown run, or carrying the ball six-plus times on a long scoring drive?
Devon Achane: I’ll take the 75-yard touchdown (laughs). If I carried the ball a bunch of times on one drive, it might mean I had a negative play or put my team in a bad position. I always want to be efficient and help the team win games. Speed wins every time.
JM: I’ve really appreciated your time today. I feel like this conversation has highlighted why you’re one of the few high-level ball carriers in this draft class. What kind of impact is Devon Achane going to make at the next level?
Devon Achane: I’m going to bring a lot of energy and leadership to the table. I’m going to make an impact as a runner, receiver, and on special teams. I’m capable of putting points on the board every time I touch the ball. I’m going to make a huge impact at the next level.
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