Senior Bowl Spotlight – Antonio Andrews, RB Western Kentucky – 2014 NFL Draft
Byron Lambert, Rosterwatch.com
Antonio Andrews, RB Western Kentucky University
Weight: 219 Pounds
Projected 40 Time: 4.55-4.65
NFL Comparison: James Starks
A prolific dual-threat quarterback in high school, Andrews led his prep team to two state championships- and was named “Kentucky Mr. Football” in 2009. He’s a fourth-year senior at WKU, who has broken every important single-season rushing and all-purpose record in school history.
Notably, Andrews led the nation in all-purpose yardage, back-to-back in 2012 and 2013. In 2013, he amassed 1,730 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. He was also a Doak Walker Awards semi-finalist. As a junior, Andrews tallied 3,161 all-purpose yards- 2nd in NCAA history to only the great Barry Sanders.
As expected, playing in a Bobby Petrino pro-style offense, Antonio Andrews predomintantly ran behind a man/power blocking scheme. It’s a scheme he looks comfortable in, and is probably best suited for. In the zone runs we’ve seen on tape, his first step isn’t that quick, and he doesn’t appear to read his blockers that well. Andrews loves seeing the hole behind a lead blocker. He’s most effective when he immediately gets his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage and heads downfield. He also shows good vision and decision making on delays and draw plays, where he tends to pick the right hole for big chunks of yardage.
On plays where his shoulders quickly go perpendicular to the line of scrimmage, such as outside-zone stretch concepts, he’s largely ineffective. Andrews is just not that nifty at hitting the cut-back, and he’s not explosive enough to turn the corner, which usually leads to him being strung out of bounds for a minimal gain. On the other hand, when he gets his momentum pointed downfield—even though he looks a little tall in the backfield at 6’0″—he’s good at running with some lean and falling forward for positive yards. He also has the power to break some tackles once he gets his momentum. Traits that should prove to be assets at the next level.
Andrews is not a quick-twitch game breaker, but coaches will love his predictability on early downs and in short yardage/goal line scenarios. Also, not to be forgotten, Andrews is surprisingly adept in the passing game. He’s good at finding lanes and levels out in the open field on screen passes. His hands are well above-average on tape. We do not see Andrews being the kick returner in the NFL that he was in college – he just doesn’t offer the big play ability necessary for that role. Another concern is the mileage on his tires. Coach Petrino lightened is workload down the stretch, mentioning it looked like Andrews had lost some zest as the season wore on.
All in all, we see Andrews a solid second-string backup in the NFL. Currently, we can’t slate him as a starter or even a 1B in a committee situation. All of that could change very shortly at Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, though—where his biggest test will be to prove to NFL brass that ball security will not be an issue at the next level.
Largely based on the de-valuation of the running back position, our pre-Senior Bowl draft projection is Round 6-7 for Antonio Andrews.