2019 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Tony Pollard
School: The University of Memphis
Weight: 202 pounds
Round Projection: Day 3
Due to the various ways that Pollard touches the ball, he developed a natural feel for the run. Consequently, Pollard adjusted how he approaches the task. If he sees any sort of daylight, expect him to explode through. With the lack of hesitation, Pollard seizes the moment and bolts for daylight.
During his career in Memphis, Pollard lined up in the backfield, the slot, and the outside. As a result, he developed a quick stab at the ball. When the ball is aloft, Pollard extends to avoid the dreaded body catch. Plucking the ball in traffic, with the ability to turn upfield helps setup big plays.
With all due respect, to many of his draft class, Pollard is unique. Regardless of the method, he remains a threat to take the ball the distance. If you look at his resume, it speaks volumes. Not many can claim scoring at least five touchdowns each on kickoff, receptions, and rushes. When you look at how he scored, his burst jumps off the screen. Pollard will find an opening and accelerate right through. In the open field, he aims to outrun anyone trying to keep up. Regardless of angle by defenders, Pollard believes that his ability to streak to daylight will carry him through.
As a wideout, Pollard showed the ability to run most of the route tree. In the NFL, he will need to tighten up the deeper pattern. Meanwhile, he excels at the underneath routes, using his speed to churn out big plays.
With the ball, Pollard uses an array of jab step, stutters, and spins to create separation. Yet, none seems unnecessary. That is to say, that he will not uncork a move just because he has the opportunity. More importantly, Pollard’s balance helps him down the sideline. When defenders try to push him out of bounds, the ability to tiptoe and maintain equilibrium helps Pollard take the ball the distance.
For all of Jalen Richard’s 2018 success, as of this writing he does not own a single touchdown. Outside of the 75-yard scamper versus the Saints in 2016, what are the other memorable big plays? In Pollard, an option on the third day, the Raiders could land a playmaker. If you look at how Jon Gruden used the jet sweep, Pollard would turn those modest gains into chunk yardage and touchdowns. Additionally, the return game would actually improve. Instead of expecting nothing, the Raiders could put pressure on defenses. Back to the offense, Pollard could win in the slot, operate in the backfield, and work outside. In reality, the Raiders need an infusion of speed and playmaking.