TJ Pledger is a tailback for the Utes offense. He is a good athlete with good agility, body control and quickness as a ball carrier. In the passing game, he has sufficient hands out of the backfield. He doesn’t project as much of a threat as a ball carrier but can catch the occasional check down and get up field. In the running game, he is a 1 cut and go, type of runner. He runs with sufficient vision and good footwork between the tackles. While he’s not overly elusive in space, he does show some straight line speed when out in the open field. On 3rd downs, he likely won’t be a primary target as a pass catcher and his lack of good size will be a concern in pass pro. He also projects with average special teams value as a backup player.
Ideal Role: Change of Pace, complimentary RB
Scheme Fit: Zone running scheme
Written by Drae Harris
Games watched: Wash St. (2021) Arizona (2021), USC (2021)
Best Game Studied: WSU
Worst Game Studied: USC
Vision: He demonstrates adequate vision between the tackles. He misses some cut backs which seemingly limits his big plays. He does a good job of locating in blitz pick up with regards to pass pro.
Footwork: He displays the necessary footwork to make defenders miss in a short area. Although he lacks hip swivel when out in space, he has the footwork that helps him move laterally to get past defenders
Contact Balance: He doesn’t have great size as a running back. However he runs with a low center of gravity which helps his contact balance. He has been taken down by arm tackles in some of the games observed.
Durability: Because he lacks great size, his durability is something to watch for. He has not been a lead back for an extended period of time in his collegiate career. Nor has he been the primary ball carrier. All of which bring concerns when projecting his durability for the next level.
Explosiveness: He demonstrates a sufficient amount of quickness and agility in a short area. When out in the open field he displays sufficient long speed as well. While you’d like a little more from an explosive perspective for a smaller back, he is sufficient in this regard.
Versatility: As it currently stands, he’s only proven to be a complimentary piece in a rotation. He has never been a lead back. He doesn’t give you much in pass pro nor is he a great catcher of the football-further diminishing his value
Elusiveness: He doesn’t have the hip swivel or loose hips to make defenders miss in the open field. He does have good footwork and can move laterally sufficiently. He doesn’t have great deep speed but has run away from defenders
Ball Security: He’s not a great catcher of the football out of the backfield. He also isn’t the biggest back. As a result, durability is a concern, which also can forge over into ball security.
Passing Down: He isn’t a great catcher of the football out of the backfield. He has shown the ability to catch the occasional check down and get up field. He is average at best as a pass protector, as well.
Discipline: He misses some cuts on zone runs. He does show adequate ability to stay front side of the run and get up field.
TDN Consensus: 68.00/100 (Sixth Round Value)