Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Matt Asiata NFL Draft Overview


Utah's 2010 season didn't go exactly as planned, and after multiple injuries, Asiata knows the feeling. A broken leg derailed his first season in Salt Lake in 2007, and a torn ACL shelved him for all but four games as a junior. He led the team and finished seventh in the Mountain West with 707 rushing yards in 2008, and he won a WSFL rushing title at Snow College before coming to Utah.

Asiata might have tired after six years of playing the position. One thing he hasn't lost, however, is his nose for the end zone. Asiata scored eight times as a senior, though only one scoring of more than a yard. Consistent lower-body problems robbed him of his explosion, and although he averaged a tough 4.5 yards per carry while accumulating 695 yards last season, he was playing at a lower gear, going over 20 carries and 100 yards only once.

There's hope for Asiata at the next level if he's open to a position switch. Although he's light on blocking experience, his solid build and ability to lower his shoulder and barrel through the line should earn him a few looks as an NFL fullback or a situational short-yardage option.

Strengths: Thick, strong build with a powerful lower body. Consistently lowers his shoulder and churns legs to pick up yards after contact. Has a nose for the end zone and flashes the nimbleness to find openings near the goal line. Maintains balance and absorbs hits by protecting his body. Does not fumble and shows awareness in open field. A willing blocker who has some potential to contribute in the passing game as a receiver. Was a two-year captain at Utah.

Weaknesses: Lacks explosiveness and is not quick enough to consistently hit the hole before it closes. Does not maintain acceleration when changing direction or run away from defenders. Injuries have robbed him of his second gear, and he struggles to turn the corner. Gets impatient as a runner and will not wait for blocks to develop. Is not a strong route runner and fights the ball when catching it. Suffered a broken right fibula and tibia in 2007 and tore the ACL in his right knee in 2009.

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