Throughout his career, Bryce Love was one of the best running backs in college football, but the former Stanford player may have to wait to hear his name called at the NFL draft. Love is projected to be a fifth-round pick at No. 162 overall in Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller’s latest mock draft.
Why could Love fall in the draft? Some teams are skeptical as to whether Love can return to the player he was prior to sustaining injuries. Love tore his ACL in his final college football game. Love’s numbers his final season at Stanford also took a hit.
“Forgot how much I liked Bryce Love in 2017. Master of the chunk play. Hope he can get back to that level of play,” Miller tweeted.
After rushing for 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2017, Love had a disappointing 2018 season with just 739 rushing yards and six touchdowns. One of the challenges with Love’s game is he was not heavily utilized in the passing game, something that has become a priority for NFL teams. Love only had one season where he had more than 100 receiving yards.
If Love Entered the Draft After the 2017 Season, He Likely Would Have Been a Day 2 Pick
Love likely would have been at least a Day 2 pick if he had declared for the draft after his junior season. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler spoke with The Mercury News about his outlook.
“I think he would have been somewhere in the second round,” Brugler told The Mercury News. “Coming back for his senior year, I don’t think that he’s drastically hurt it, but he certainly hasn’t helped it . . . . If he goes to the Senior Bowl, combine, workouts and tests like we think he’s able to, he’ll be just fine.”
Love discussed why he decided to return to Stanford through an open letter published by The Players’ Tribune.
Many athletes might have been content with that resume. But not me. I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted more. And I feel that 2018 made me a better all-around player. So that’s what I’d like to talk about here. Because while it may not have always shown up in the box score, I grew a lot this past season. And I’m an ever better back today than I was in 2017.
The Bucs, Bills, Texans & Eagles Are Some of the Possible Landing Spots for Love
Love starts out the letter with a declaration that he is the best running back in the draft.
“My name is Bryce Love, and I’m the best running back in this draft,” Love noted in the letter.
Given Love’s low asking price, nearly any NFL team could opt to take a chance on him in the later rounds, even if the they have depth at running back. Teams that could be looking to add a running back include the Bucs, Bills, Jaguars, Texans and Eagles. With only one running back taken in the first round, it does not help Love’s chances of going early as other running backs get pushed back in the draft.