Most rookie running backs aren’t known for the pass protection, especially speedy backs who are 5’7″, 183 pounds. However, Jeff Demps has received praise from former Florida Gators teammate and current New England Patriots compatriot Brandon Spikes for his work in pass protection.
“I remember him putting his head in there, being a smaller guy. He has great heart and a lot of fight. I’m just happy he’s on the team,” Spikes said.
Demps was in action today in blitz pick-up drills, and he is certainly a running back who plays with a lot of determination. He is indeed an above-average pass blocker, and drive and knowledge in pass blocking are far more important than size. The interesting thing is that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one of the top rookie pass blocking running backs in Doug Martin.
Anyway, it’s interesting to hear that a defensive player like Spikes would laud Demps for his pass blocking. It isn’t like he’s trying to “trump up” a friend and teammate, because athletes don’t normally give praise out of random, even to teammates. Demps can definitely hold his own in blitz pick-up, even tough he won’t be asked to do so as he primarily plays as the team’s returner (he will get some carries though and a few chances to catch some passes).
Besides talking about Demps’s pass protection, Spikes gave effusive praise about his speed, of course, saying “speed kills”. One knock on Demps coming out of college from some scouts is that he has poor lateral movement. While it’s not as impressive as his speed, I wouldn’t say it’s a weakness.
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