In recent years, there has been a paradigm shift in the NFL. We are seeing increasing numbers of dynamic, all-purpose athletes that function as hyper-lethal and hyper-aggressive weapons. Demetric Felton is the ideal “gadget” player, someone who can effectively produce at running back and wide receiver.
SPY 1: WHO is the prospect?
Demetric Felton Jr. was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but grew up in Temecula, California. While he was a two-sport athlete at Great Oaks High School (track and field and football), Felton made a name for himself on the gridiron. In three varsity seasons, he recorded 380 carries, 2,950 yards, and 32 touchdowns on the ground as well as 67 receptions, 1,110 yards, and 9 touchdowns as a receiver.
Felton ended his senior year as a top-50 prospect in the state of California, earning an invite to the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl and a three-star recruit rating from Rivals, 247 Sports, and MaxPreps. He received offers from eight Division I schools (Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Michigan, UCLA, Utah, Washington, and Washington State), but ultimately signed with UCLA.
SPY 2: WHERE did he come from?
Felton redshirted in 2016 and saw limited action in 2017 and 2018, recording just 412 all-purpose yards and two total touchdowns in those two seasons. Then, in 2019, he got an opportunity as both a running back and wide receiver. He tallied 86 carries, 331 rushing yards, and a rushing touchdown as well as 55 receptions, 594 receiving yards, and four receiving scores in 12 games. He was second on the team in rush yards, receptions, receiving touchdowns, and scrimmage yards and third in rush attempts and receiving yards.
He was a bright spot on an abysmal Bruins offense in the abbreviated 2020 season. In his only year as a full-time running back, Felton had 132 carries for 668 yards and five rushing touchdowns, leading the Bruins in all three categories. He was 14th in the country, fourth in the Pac-12, with 111.1 rush yards per game. Additionally, his 165.8 all-purpose yards per game were sixth-best in the nation and led the Pac-12 conference. He earned All-Pac 12 honors both as a running back (Second-Team) and an all-purpose player (First-Team) as a result.
His most productive seasons (2019 and 2020) came in Chip Kelly’s high-tempo zone-run, spread offense. The run game revolves around mobile quarterbacks and quick running backs who execute inside and outside zone runs as well as read-option concepts. Meanwhile, the passing game relies on quick backs and wide receivers to stretch the field vertically and exploit openings on underneath routes/in open space. Having played both positions, Felton has a distinct advantage as a receiving back.
SPY 3: WHAT are his attributes?
Felton is known for his elite dual-threat capabilities. His combination of speed, explosiveness, contact balance, and control makes him a potentially lethal weapon. Furthermore, The Draft Network projects Felton to become a slot receiver in the NFL. It is difficult to cover him in the passing game due to his elusiveness and shockingly refined route running abilities. He is the type of player that shows up on those “ankle-breaking” clips we often see plastered on social media. There seems to be a general consensus on Felton’s overall skill set. He is a decent pass blocker but will be more efficient in an attack role.
The following clip from the Senior Bowl shows Felton’s elite route running in action.
SPY 4: WHEN should he be drafted?
A great NFL comp for Felton is Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines, who was drafted in the 4th round (104th overall) in 2018. While Draft Scout projects him as a 5th-6th round selection, we at BF give Felton a 4th-5th round grade. Given his exceptional performance at the senior bowl and pending interviews/pro days, his stock could rise. If Buffalo does not draft this type of player in earlier rounds, it would be advantageous to take him in on day three.
SPY 5: WHY Felton is a fit for Buffalo’s offense?
Given the similarities between Kelly’s and Daboll’s systems, Felton would be an excellent addition to Buffalo’s offense regardless of position. (Both run three and four wide receiver sets the majority of the time.) He has the speed, elusiveness, and vision to execute the outside zone runs as well as the hands and route-running skills to be an effective receiving back/slot receiver. He can be dangerous both lined up in the backfield and out wide. Furthermore, it would behoove Brian Daboll to utilize Felton’s positional flexibility as a gadget player should the Bills lose Isaiah McKenzie in free agency. He could also develop into Cole Beasley’s successor at slot receiver.
DARKHORSE BONUS POINT: Prospect Fun Facts
- Temecula, California, Felton’s hometown, is five hours away from Firebaugh (Josh Allen’s hometown) and just over an hour away from Bellflower (Wyatt Davis’ hometown).
- Felton is the son of a retired Navy Chaplain.
- Tavon Austin is his favorite NFL player.
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