Travis Dye NFL Draft Scouting Report
RB, USC Trojans
USC running back Travis Dye projects as a bottom-of-the-roster running back in the NFL. Dye has been a super productive running back in the Pac-12 across his career with the Oregon Ducks and the USC Trojans, but he likely falls into the bucket of devalued runners upon a pro transition.
Originally a 3-star recruit, Dye played his high school football at Norco High School in Norco, California. He committed to the Oregon Ducks as a member of the class of 2018 and spent the first four seasons of his college career with the Ducks before transferring to USC. Dye broke the freshman single-game rushing record with 199 yards for the Ducks in 2018 on his way to playing in 48 games for Oregon. His extra year of eligibility with the Trojans was a success until a gruesome leg injury cut his year short a few weeks before the end of the regular season—he was carted off the field against Colorado on Nov. 11. Dye is the brother of Minnesota Vikings LB Troy Dye.
Dye enjoyed several super productive seasons as a slasher-style runner who offers a bit of a unique build—his stride length is short and his step frequency is high. This allows for some sudden stutter cuts and shallow adjustments on the track to maintain his pace and clear early penetration. He’s a feisty runner, too. He isn’t built like your traditional back with a lot of mass below the waist and a low-cut build. Instead, he’s angular with some length, yet his foot-fire is tenacious and he offers a willingness to attack tacklers if called upon in the hole. While he isn’t going to flat-back any linebackers, he’ll confidently trust his pads and lean. Dye is likely a part of a stable of backs at the next level but he’s a natural pass-catcher, ran ample routes out of the backfield, and has abilities as a runner to pick his way through the front and key gaps out of the mesh point.
Dye’s high-cut build and lack of mass will make consistently pushing piles and falling forward on contact a challenge at the next level; he did benefit from playing in the Pac-12 in this regard, in my opinion. I did not see consistent long-speed on film, either. He’s a slasher capable of chunk gains but as foot races extend past 20-30 yards, I thought he was challenged from behind by pursuit. There’s a third-down skill set present here, but I don’t necessarily envision his pass-protection skills being a consistent staple of what his next-level role will be—there’s a better foundation to serve as a pass-catcher. While he has the step frequency to win in inside zone, I do feel as though he’d be best served filling a role in a gap system that is capable of winning the point of attack for him. I don’t have a great deal of faith in his short-area agility, so letting him build momentum through the hole is advisable for best results. Dye has not shown NFL contact balance and as a result, he’s very likely going to depend on the wins of his line up front to ensure he’s gaining yards. This isn’t a back I foresee creating a lot of extra yardage on his own.
Expectations for Dye should be centered around him finding his way onto a 53-man roster. I think he has the rushing instincts to be a rostered NFL running back, but his lack of physical skills poses a challenge for him pushing into a significant role. He’d most likely need injuries to push him into an elevated playing position at the NFL level.
Top Reasons to Buy In:
- Super-productive player with good running instincts
- Effective pass-catching skill set to complement rushing role
- Light on feet with high step frequency to adjust rushing track
Top Reasons For Concern:
- 24-year-old rookie with 770 career touches
- Coming off of a season-ending injury suffered in November 2022
- Lacks explosiveness or functional strength to move needle as a volume runner
Size (NFL Combine):
Height: 5′ 10”
Weight: 201 lbs
Arm Length: 28 7/8”
Hand Size: 9 1/4”
Athletic Testing (TBD):
40-yard Dash: TBD
Vertical Jump: TBD
Broad Jump: TBD
Bench Reps: TBD
Ideal Role: Depth running back, potentially as a receiving back in RB stable
Scheme Fit: Gap-heavy rushing systems
Prospect Comparison: Eno Benjamin (2020 NFL Draft)
TDN Consensus Grade: 67.00/100 (Seventh-Round Value)
- Crabbs Grade: 67.00/100
Written By: Kyle Crabbs
Exposures: Ohio State (2021), Washington (2021), Stanford (2022), Oregon State (2022), Washington State (2022)
Travis Dye NFL Draft Scouting Report. Add him to your big board here.