The Cincinnati Bengals have been significantly linked to many of the top running backs in this year’s NFL Draft, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Bengals select two running backs, or at least pick up an additional one or two after the NFL Draft ends in undrafted free agency.
Indiana running back Devine Redding is a guy to watch in the later rounds of the draft, as well as in undrafted free agency if he fails to hear his name called. Hailing from Youngstown, Ohio, the 5-foot-10, 208 pound running back left college one year early after back-to-back 1,000+ yard rushing seasons, quite an impressive feat for a player who may go undrafted.
Redding ranks seventh in rushing attempts, 11th in rushing yards and is tied for 11th in rushing touchdowns and 100-yard rushing games among Indiana's all-time running backs. During his college career, he averaged 4.4 yards per carry and totaled 2,252 yards on the ground in three seasons. He added to his total yardage with 40 catches for 245 yards and two touchdowns through the air. In 2016 he received All-Big Ten honorable mention from both the coaches and media, was on the Doak Walker Award Watch List, was the IU Offensive Teammate of the Year and earned Indiana's Corby Davis Memorial Award for the most outstanding running back.
With such impressive college stats, you may be wondering why Redding isn’t receiving more pre-draft hype. Here’s a look at the weaknesses presented on his NFL.com draft profile, which could offer some insight in that regard:
Could use more weight on his frame. Runs with hip tightness that strangles his ability to make sharp cuts and directional changes. Has tendency to roll into cuts which puts him into harm's way prematurely. Lacks memorable power at impact and will lose more battles than he wins when challenging with force. Has very few clean broken tackles over last two seasons. Leg drives and contact balance are inconsistent. Quicker than fast. May struggle to keep runs play-side and out-race the defense to the corner. Primarily a check-down and swing pass option in passing game.
Still, there’s many positives to his game, and the production to back it up. So, let’s get to know the latest Indiana running back who’s hoping to follow in the footsteps of Jordan Howard (2016 fifth round draft pick by the Bears out of Indiana) and Tevin Coleman (2015 third round draft pick by the Falcons out of Indiana), who’ve already had great success in their young NFL careers.
Weight: 205 pounds
Arm Length: 29 1/4"
Hands: 9 5/8"
40-yard dash: 4.76 seconds
Bench press: 16 reps
Vert jump: 30.5”
Broad jump: 12'2"
3-cone drill: 7.18 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.46 seconds
60-yard shuttle: 12.03 seconds
Cincy Jungle: You’re from northern Ohio, did you grow up a Browns fan?
Devine Redding: I did grow up a Browns fan. Now that I’m in this position, I’m open to any team now. But, I have lived my whole life in Ohio, other than in college.
CJ: What do you know about the Bengals? Are they a team that interests you?
DR: They’re a team that interests me a lot just from everything I learned from the coaches. I spoke to the running back coach (Kyle Caskey) there and got a lot of information from him. He asked me some general questions, got to know how I know offenses and defenses.
CJ: How are you preparing for the draft?
DR: With my pro day, I’ve been putting in extra time working out. I’ve really put it all out there. I caught passes at my pro day and ran routes as if I were a receiver. I felt I did a really good job at that.
CJ: How would you describe yourself and the way you play to someone who had never seen you play before?
DR: I’m very versatile, I can run between tackles. I have better than decent hands and can line up as a receiver and I’m also a great pass protector. That’s one thing I pride myself in, my pass protection skills. Personally speaking, I’m a people person. I love talking and meeting fans and meeting people in general.
CJ: What are you hoping to prove to scouts and coaches ahead of the draft?
DR: There’s a lot I need to prove. One things it that I’m a multi-down back and that I can get the job done.
CJ: Is there anyone at the NFL level you would compare your game to?
DR: It’s kind of hard, I don’t really compare myself to anyone. Some people say I remind them of Devonta Freeman, but I think I base my style on Jordan Howard and Tevin Coleman who I played with in recent years and I take some of the things they did and incorporate that into my running style. They taught me to keep going at it and never give up and that’s one thing I’ve always had in my head since they told me it.
CJ: How about players you most enjoy watching?
DR: My two recent teammates, Jordan (Howard) and Tevin (Coleman), it’s great watching them and making the rest of us at Indiana proud. It’s a wonderful feeling to see their success.
CJ: What are you most proud of from your time in college?
DR: I’m proud of having the support and everything from the fans and coaches. And another thing is having back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons. That’s not easy and it’s one thing I’m very proud of.
CJ: What was it like working with former Indiana running backs coach Deland McCullough, who is leaving this offseason for USC?
DR: He’s the main reason that I am who I am and do some of the things that I do. He gave me a great opportunity as a sophomore and I feel like he prepared me well for getting to the next level. He taught me so much about getting to know opposing defenses and studying offenses and made me a better player overall. He’s a great coach no matter where he’s at. He has a new job but he’s going to go on and impact new players.
CJ: Does it instill any hope to see the success that Jordan (Howard) and Tevin (Coleman) have already had at the NFL level? Tevin even made it to the Super Bowl in his second NFL season.
DR: It just shows you what we have at Indiana and how we’ve been doing big things. We all try to win and you really can’t get what you want without winning. We’ve got some great guys, great running backs and Coach McCullough really helped us all.