2020 NFL Draft Prospect – Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB LSU

John Hesterman

Our NFL rookie profile series continues with this analysis of 2020 NFL Draft Prospect Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB from LSU. We will continue to provide you with these in-depth rookie profiles and a ton of other fantasy football rookie analysis right up through the NFL Draft. Stay tuned, and stay ahead of your league!

LSU is the only team in FBS history to have a 5,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,500-yard receivers in the same season.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire finished his 2019 season with 1,414 rushing yards, which was good enough for third-most in a single season in school history. He had a good showing at the NFL Scouting Combine and is drawing some attention in a very talented and deep rookie class.


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Statistics from sports-reference.com.

Spending most of his freshman year as a special teams player, Edwards-Helaire showed enough to earn a larger role for the 2018 season. As a sophomore, he finished second on the team with 658 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. He only had 11 receptions during that season, but was productive with them, gaining 96 yards.

He was named the starting running back for the 2019 season and excelled with the opportunity. On 215 attempts, he finished with 1,414 rushing yards, good enough for a healthy 6.6 yards-per-attempt average and hit paydirt 16 times on the ground. As the target share rose, so did his productivity. He finished with 55 receptions for 453 receiving yards and one score.

During this season, CEH had some monster games, including the title game against Clemson. In that contest, he finished with 164 yards from scrimmage. He also co-led the incoming rookie class of running backs with an average of 30 receiving yards per game.

Edwards-Helaire did not just excel against poor run defenses either. He posted games of 100-plus rushing yards against Clemson, Auburn, Alabama, and Florida.



Our DLF film crew has done a great job compiling several games of film for review.

One of the first things to note is that CEH is not a big, bruising style of back. Standing at 5-foot-7 and 207 pounds, he falls a little short of the prototypical NFL running back. While this may initially be seen as a negative, there are plenty of truly good traits and aspects to focus on.

First on that list is quickness. Check the clip starting at 44 seconds. CEH makes a quick cut, finds the hole and accelerates quickly through it for a chunk gain. He is very quick both off the start and cutting towards an opening. He has both patience and good vision to see the hole develop and then quickly and smoothly accelerate through it.

Second, he runs low to the ground with superb balance. Coupled with his quick-cut ability, this allows for a bob-and-weave approach around corners or through tight lanes.

The third thing to note from some of the film study is the ease at which he catches passes. His ball control and security are top notch. He catches passes almost effortlessly and his ability to cut and accelerate typically allow him extra yards before contact.

He is fair in pass protection and seems to have good, natural instinct and aggressiveness when asked to block. However, his number was not called for that task all too often.

While lightning quick, he seems to lack that second gear or top-end speed in the open field.


His 4.6 40 places him in the 33rd percentile per MockDraftable.

He draws some comparisons to players like Damien Harris and De’Angelo Henderson. However, he is quicker off the line and through the hole, and has superb balance by comparison. Most teams would not be looking at CEH as a primary ball-carrier. He would profile more as a change-of-pace back who can line up wide if need be.


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When sampled simply among his class, CEH lands as the tenth rookie off the board overall. Among running backs, he would place as the fifth taken.

When analyzing startup data, (compiled from six startup drafts) CEH lands as the 60th player taken. That places him at the top of the fifth round, sandwiched between Tyler Lockett and Robert Woods. The running backs closest him in that range are David Montgomery and Kenyan Drake.

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Clyde Edwards-Helaire has closely followed in the cleat-prints of Derrius Guice since high school. Once again, he will be following a near lifelong teammate as he heads to the NFL. He will be a change-of-pace back with some immediate PPR value, depending on landing spot. He has exceptional instincts with the ball in his hands that make up for what he lacks in overall size and top speed. Despite his diminutive stature he forced 70 missed tackles on 214 carries. If there is an immediate comparison that comes to mind, it would have to be Ray Rice.

Make no mistake, Edwards-Helaire is not a tier-one running back like Jonathan Taylor, JK Dobbins, or Cam Akers. However, that does not close out his path to carries and plenty of receptions. Fun fact: he finished the 2019 season with more receptions than wide receiver prospect Henry Ruggs.

john hesterman