2018 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Kalen Ballage
School: Arizona State
Weight: 229 pounds
Kalen Ballage is a big- bodied back takes a hit and keeps churning. The Raiders enjoyed that with Latavius Murray. In 2016, Murray helped the Raiders to a 12-4 record and making the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. Ballage also catches passes out of the backfield. In addition, he possesses the size to pick up blitzes in pass protection. The running back class is deep this year. If his stock rises, he should be a day 2 or 3 pick.
Ballage owns a distinctly different running style than other backs in this class. He looks to hit the home run on most plays, which kills his yards per touch. Additionally, the fundamentals are not there just quite yet. However, a back with his frame has a unique opportunity to become something special. While he profiles as a power back, Ballage can get to the corner. A team can mold him into a starter, if they do not overwhelm him early.
For standing 6’2” and weighing 230 pounds, Ballage shows nimble feet. Above average speed and can break away from defenders, as shown during the Senior Bowl. He cuts with ease. Although at times, he misses open lanes and runs into defenders.
Ballage displays decent burst for a big back. He gets upfield in a hurry and turns on the burners after the catch. Given his frame, he can play the role of either starter or at the very least, a third down back.
During his tenure at ASU, he developed into a great pass catcher, especially during the 2016 season. That season, he caught 44 passes for 469 yards and 1 receiving touchdown. For his career, he posted 82-684-2 in 4 years. Blocking- Ballage is an average to above average blocker. His unique combination of size, strength, and speed should make him a very valuable asset at the next level to provide an extra blocker. His willingness to block is key and he has shown the ability to do so.
For all of Ballage’s positive traits this is where he needs the most work. Occasionally, he misses cutback lanes. His athletic prowess makes up for it. He needs to show more decisiveness with the ball. Under the sound coaching, which the Raiders should offer, Ballage could eventually inherit a meaningful role on the team. In reality, a year behind Lynch on the depth chart helps.