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Falcons draft scouting report: RB Qadree Ollison, Pittsburgh

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The 2019 fifth rounder will look to add physicality to the Falcons backfield.

NCAA Football: Albany at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As the Atlanta Falcons look to insert some size and muscle into their running back group, let’s take a look at what rookie running back Qadree Ollison brings to the table.

Running the football was a stated desire by Falcons head coach Dan Quinn on numerous occasions this offseason. In order to do that, however, getting lead back Devonta Freeman 100% healthy is first priority. The team also needed to add some beef and aggressiveness to the offensive line, which they have obviously done this offseason period.

Going into the 2019 NFL Draft, it appeared to some extent that the Falcons were headed in the direction of adding another running back to the fray for 2019 and beyond. In the fifth round, they did, in the form of a big back with the ability to finish runs and provide some punch. Time to put the late-round pick under the microscope and get familiar with his skill set.

Qadree Ollison Scouting Report

Height: 6’1
Weight: 228 lbs
Career stats: 529 carries, 2,859 yards, 5.4 yards per carry, 29 rushing touchdowns
Games watched: 2015 vs. Virginia Tech, , 2018 vs. Penn State, 2018 vs. Virginia Tech, 2018 vs. UCF, 2018 vs. Syracuse, 2018 vs. Clemson

Strengths: When viewing Ollison, you immediately notice the size with a near 230-pound frame. Ollison filled in as a redshirt freshman for Pittsburgh in 2015 as the program endured the loss of former starter James Conner to illness. Ollison proceeded to post 1,121 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. He capped off his career with a team-leading 1,213 yards and another 11 scores in 2018, good to earn second-team All-ACC honors.

Ollison has a thick, compact frame that tends to bounce off defenders when he lowers his shoulder. Ollison displays good balance through contact and maintains active legs when meeting defenders. Ollison posted a 4.58 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, which is fairly impressive given his size and running ability.

Once Ollison reaches the second level of defenses, the power back displays a nice amount of burst to extend runs and shows a second gear. During his career, Ollison recorded touchdown runs of 67, 71, and 97 yards. He displays plenty of patience to allow blocks to develop whether it’s inside or outside zone runs. Ollison makes things very difficult for the ball carriers who choose to tackle him in the upper frame of his body. He shows no tendency to dance in the backfield and is your classic north-south runner.

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Clemson vs Pittsburgh Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Weaknesses: In today’s game, many backs have elusiveness and agility. Unfortunately, Ollison does not have that in his arsenal. His running style displays power but also stiffness in his hips. Ollison’s change of direction skills are lacking as well, as he is pretty much a straight-line runner. Slight promise is showed in the route running department, but his overall catching ability is average at best. Pass protection is also average as he shows at times the habit of lunging at oncoming blitzes.

Conclusion: Ollison was arguably the most surprising selection of the 2019 NFL Draft, not because of where he was drafted, but because of his overall ability and what many assumed the Falcons to be looking for. Ollison brings a physical style that the Falcons’ running back group has not necessarily had in the last few seasons. While he’s not lead back material, he is definitely a prospect who can ultimately carve out a role of 10 to 15 carries a game and someone who can be a late game closer for an offense that has the lead and needs to shut the door. Based on where Ollison was drafted, it is best to shelve any expectations that are simply unreachable. However, Ollison can provide some pop for a Falcons team that is looking to pound the rock a little more in the future.