In one of the more highly touted running back draft classes in recent memory, a group that featured Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey, Saints third-round pick Alvin Kamara has been a multi-faceted producer for New Orleans.
Let's examine Kamara and his path to being the do-everything runner in the Saints backfield.
He spent two years at Tennessee, and was one of the most productive and versatile running backs in the SEC during his time there.
In 2015, Kamara racked up 141 touches for 989 yards with 10 total touchdowns. In 2016, he touched the ball 143 times and accumulated 988 yards with 13 scores. The Georgia native averaged 6.2 yards per rush and 9.2 yards per reception on 74 catches in two seasons with the Volunteers.
Before that, Kamara was a four-star recruit and was ranked the No. 9 overall running back in the 2013 high school class, one spot ahead of Ezekiel Elliott per 247Sports.com. He redshirted as a true freshman at Alabama then transferred to Hutchinson Community College in Kansas for his redshirt freshman season. After running for 1,211 yards in nine games there, he was one of the top junior college prospects in the country and landed at Tennessee.
How does Kamara stack up athletically?
Here's his comparison profile.
|Saints running back Alvin Kamara||Eagles running back Jay Ajayi|
*Figures taken from a pro day, not the NFL combine
Kamara is clearly an explosive, well-rounded athlete. To have comparable numbers to the shift and powerful Ajayi is impressive, as is his broad jump that was 10 inches longer than Ajayi's.
His high usage as a pass-catching running back at Tennessee prepared him well for the Saints offense, one that, under Sean Payton, has been known for featuring ball carriers on a variety of screen plays.
Through eight games this season, Kamara has toted the rock 52 times for 311 yards (6.0 yards per carry) with three touchdowns and has accumulated 341 yards on 31 catches (9.0 yards per catches) with two scores as a receiver. Against the Buccaneers in Week Nine, he had 10 carries for 68 yards with one touchdown and six catches for 64 yards with another score.
According to Pro Football Focus, he's forced 17 total missed tackles (10 rushing, seven receiving) on 82 touches in 2017. His 3.52 yards after contact per rush (on 52 rushes) rank third in the NFL among 50 qualifying running backs.
The Buffalo Bills will have to place a high priority on limiting Kamara's efficiency in Week Ten.