Possesses decent forward lean through the line of scrimmage, but still runs too upright for a guy his size inside and doesn't finish runs low the way you would expect for a big guy and allows defenders to easily get underneath his frame. Now he does possess some natural power to his game and can break a tackle at the line, shrug off a defender and accelerate into the open field. However, isn't a guy who is going to be able to reach the edge in the NFL. Isn't a real natural receiver out of the backfield either and seems a bit heavy footed laterally to pick up defenders on the blitz.
Has benefited by running behind one of the best offensive lines in the country over the past couple years and has carried a very heavy load during that time. However, takes his fair share of punishment, was slowed during the year with a knee injury and his upright running style and inability to make anyone miss leads me to believe he will be banged up throughout his NFL career.
Impression: Slow to reach the hole, can't make defenders miss, plays at one gear and runs too high in my view to be a consistent short-yardage back."
Clay is a tough bruiser with solid speed for his size.
Clay is a product of Park High School in Racine, Wisconsin. He was a four star recruit and a top 15 running back according to Scout.com.
Clay is a tough, punishing runner between the tackles. He fights for extra yardage and he does a nice job of lowering his pad shelf and delivering the big hit to opposing tacklers. He hits the hole hard and is a load to bring down. If you try and tackle him up high, you’re going to be taken for a ride on the Clay Train. He’s a pure north/south, downhill runner who has decent acceleration by the time he gets into the linebacker unit. His vision is solid, and his patience is above average.
Clay doesn’t offer anything in terms of third down ability. He’s poor in pass protection, and doesn’t catch much out of the backfield. His overall speed is low, most likely in the sub 4.70 range. Clay seems to benefit more from being huge and running behind a Wisconsin offensive line which is known for their mauling run blockers. He started to lose carries to some of the more agile and home run threat running backs in the 2010 season, which is most likely why he decided to enter the 2011 NFL Draft as an early entrant.
The New York Giants learned the hard way about drafting a one dimensional bruiser up the middle when they selected Ron Dayne in 1998. But Clay still has a lot of value, and bigger backs are still around, like Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jacobs. But Clay will be a goal line guy and a part of a tandem running back system after he’s drafted in the third or fourth round. Look for Baltimore, Denver, and Arizona to give him a look in those rounds.
NFL Comparison: Brandon Jacobs "
Positive: Massive, straight-line runner who is a battering ram between the tackles. Patiently waits for blocks to develop, does a good job following them, and is tough to bring down. Will carry the pile or pick up a lot yardage off initial contact. Falls forward when tackled. Consistently runs north/south, keeps his feet driving up the field, and runs over opponents. Finds the cutback lanes, always looks for an opening in the defense, and displays solid vision. Gives effort blocking.
Negative: Marginal burst of speed. Limited athlete. Cannot make defenders miss or avoid piles. Loses momentum when he must quickly change direction. Played at almost 275 pounds last season. Runs with an upright style and takes a lot of heavy hits.
Analysis: Clay has been a feature runner in Wisconsin's power offense the past two seasons and projects as a short-yardage runner in the NFL. He must dedicate himself to year-round conditioning if he wants a long career at the next level."
Negatives: Has great speed for his size at the collegiate level, but will be slow by NFL standards... Lacks moves in the open field, prefers to run over defenders which will be more difficult to do in the NFL... Stiff hip movement and struggles to change direction... Below-average vision, misses holes sometimes when he's trying to run straight ahead... Doesn't contribute as a receiver, hands seem to be made of stone... Doesn't extend his arms well or make any difficult catches... Has had some injury problems, had surgery on both of his ankles during the 2010 off-season, running style is very rugged and he will take a lot of big hits in the NFL... Struggled against good defenses last year, was held to 134 yards on 41 carries in his two games combined against Ohio State and Iowa in 2009... Wisconsin has a history of good college running backs that do not translate well to the pros (P.J. Hill, Brian Calhoun, Anthony Davis, Michael Bennett, Ron Dayne, Terrell Fletcher, Brent Moss)... Has never returned a kickoff or a punt in his collegiate career... Numbers may be inflated by the fact that he is running behind arguably the best offensive line in college football."
Weaknesses: Weight issues and injury issues are atop the list. Every spring it seems he's struggling to get his weight back down, and the weight clearly has had some influence on his legs as he's had surgery on both ankles and had an MCL issue. Despite his track background, isn't terribly fast and seems to only have one speed. Doesn't have great vision and isn't a patient runner. Knows where the hole is supposed to be and just tries to bull his way through. Ineffective in the passing game as a receiver with only 11 receptions in his career.
Projection: There's some thought that Clay might be another of the great collegiate RBs from Wisconsin who fail miserably in the pros (Ron Dayne, Michael Bennett, PJ Hill, Anthony Davis, Brian Calhoun). He's a one-trick pony who has excelled behind some tremendous offensive lines and a great power running scheme. He's still going to interest teams with his production and experience. Looks to be a borderline 3rd or 4th round player unless he really shows some straight-line speed at the Combine."
The University of Wisconsin is known for two things: offensive linemen and running backs. Clay fits right into that prestige. Unfortunately, since Wisconsin doesn't need to do a lot of traditional things on the field (they run the ball a lot), Clay doesn't have a lot of film catching the ball out of the backfield or doing much pass protection.
He is sometimes not even on the field on third-down or in other obvious passing situations. These sorts of things can be coached to him of course, but no team would ever consider using a running back as an every-down player if he didn't have these skills. This limits his immediate impact greatly.
Clay will likely need to lose some weight and try to improve his speed at the next level. He's a tough runner at 248, he can be a tough runner at 232. He lacks a second gear and rarely initiates contact to fight for extra yards.
Clay projects as a fourth or fifth round draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft."
As always, the preceding thoughts were regurgitated, derivative tripe, adding no value whatsoever, while in fact obliterating intelligent thought and offending the spirit of all decent men. You are now stupider for having read it, and are encouraged, in the strongest possible language, never to expose your eyes to this Site again.