Last Updated: 8/1/2023

 

 

Rahiem Sanders exploded onto the scene as a sophomore last year for the Razorbacks. Sanders appeared in 13 games and produced 1,714 scrimmage yards, including 1,443 rushing yards, the fourth most in Arkansas history. 

Sanders stands an imposing 6-foot-2 and 237 pounds and runs with every pound behind his pads. His violent style of play is best when he gets north and south and doesn’t waste any time getting there. That said, he initiates contact more often than not, which works against him at times as his pad level could be better. His powerful lower body allows him to drag defenders and power through would-be tacklers. 

He presses the line of scrimmage very well and displays good patience to allow holes to open. Within this is creativity and vision to find cut-back lanes in all levels of the field. He has also shown the ability to sidestep defenders in the open field and force missed tackles with nimble footwork. He pairs this with good balance and center gravity to stay upright even when he gets his upper body in front of his feet. 

Sanders has good long speed, allowing him to rip off chunk plays regularly and making him a big play machine. He also has a great burst through the line of scrimmage and second level. He pairs this with a nice bend to accelerate through his cuts to get downhill quickly and fluidly. Now, if he is asked to change direction quickly laterally he does struggle to stay at top speed or reaccelerate. 

As a pass catcher, Sanders is above average but has a very limited route tree, mostly relegated to screens and check downs. After the catch, he is fluid in his transition to a runner which allows him to create a ton of yards after the catch. I hope to see continued improvement here to help prove he can handle a true three-down role at the NFL level. 

  • North-south runner 
  • Powerful runner who stays behind his pads
  • Good speed and burst 

  • Relies on his power too much in the open field 
  • Limited route tree 
  • Needs to improve pass blocking technique 

  • 2021 SEC All-Freshman (Coaches)
  • 2022 First-Team All-SEC (AP, USA Today)
  • 2022 Second-Team All-SEC (Coaches, PFF)

  • 40-yard dash: TBD
  • Vertical: TBD
  • Broad Jump: TBD
  • Three-cone: TBD
  • Shuttle: TBD
  • Bench: TBD

  • Three down workhorse 

  • Gap 

Sanders needs to land in a spot that will allow him to see significant touches to reach his high-end fantasy potential. With a lack of high-end pass-catching upside Sanders needs a heavy rushing team who can give him a Nick Chubb or Derrick Henry-like workload. If not, he could be relegated to early down work and struggle to make a huge fantasy impact a majority of the time. 

His devy outlook couldn't be better, the Razorbacks are steadily improving and Sanders is a huge part of this offense. It's likely we see another year of improvement from the offense which will allow Sanders to improve on his 10 touchdowns from a season ago. This makes him one of the best running backs to have in the format.