Scouting Report: Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington

Scouting Report: Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington

Sankey's an NFL back
By: Pete Davidson : April 15, 2014 9:40am

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Bishop Sankey is a player who will play a long time in the NFL if he can stay healthy. He’s got a well-rounded set of next level skills, and he’s coming off a very impressive 2013 campaign. Bishop is the kind of back who does a little bit of everything, though some might argue that he lacks a signature skill. He’s the kind of back who could benefit from the new trend to shared backfields in the NFL, because he might be a little quicker with less than a full workload. Not to mention that backs no longer benefit from high carry totals, especially early in their career when they are still under their rookie contact. Having said that, while at Washington, Sankey showed he can handle the full load when called upon.

Sankey was asked at the Combine about his experience as a pass protector, and his answer was worth repeating. "Yes. My freshman and sophomore years, we ran more of a Pro-style offense--a lot of Pro sets, a lot of pass protection. Same thing my junior year. The only difference was that we set up the offense and went at a quicker tempo. So I feel pretty comfortable pass protecting and I have had some experience doing that."  He’s not a plus pass protector on film, but just having experience is helpful. It’s not going to be culture shock for Sankey as it is with some backs.

Sankey mentioned that he has studied Giovani Bernard’s running style and when asked about similarities between Giovani and himself, he gave an interesting answer. "I think we both have field vision ... good field vision. We're able to see what's happening in front of us and be able to make the proper reads and cuts based on what the defense is doing. I also think my agility, my lateral quickness and my elusiveness is something I take pride in. And I think it's one of my strengths."  If you watch Bishop’s film, you can see that reading defenses is definitely part of his game. He plays the percentages very well and is not bent on hitting the big play.

Bishop’s Combine numbers.

  • Height - 5’9”
  • Weight - 209
  • Hands - 10”
  • 40 - 4.49
  • Bench - 26 (2nd)
  • Vertical Jump - 35.5
  • Broad Jump - 126” (tied 4th)
  • 3-Cone Drill - 6.75 (1st)
  • 20 YD Shuttle - 4.00 (1st)

Bishop was obviously impressive at the Combine. He’s been a riser on mock drafts ever since, and he was already a well regarded talent going in. The 3-Cone time is probably the biggest takeaway and we saw no real weaknesses or red flags.

Things we like about Sankey.

  • Build - Sankey may lack ideal size, but he is at least well-proportioned for the position. That is to say, his weight is in the right places and he has a low center of gravity.
  • Speed - He’s fast on film and he ran a 4.49, so there’s no worry here. He’s got the speed you need though he’s not a burner.
  • Patience and vision - Sankey trusts the play and he trusts his own eyes. He’ll use blockers very effectively until he sees an opening. He’s very well coached in this regard and we think NFL evaluators will like what they see here.
  • Quickness - As his 3-Cone time indicates, Sankey is very quick, and you see that on film in the way he tends to make the first man miss.
  • Tackle-breaking ability - For a 209 pound runner, Sankey breaks a lot of tackles. He does it with strength, a forward lean and outstanding quickness. He avoids the clean oncoming hit very well and turns them into glancing blows. It’s subtle and it’s easy to miss sometimes, but that’s how he escapes a lot of would-be tackles. He will get tripped up with an ankle-tackle at times due to the forward lean.
  • Receiving ability - Sankey looks solid on film as far as receiving is concerned. He’s got good hips and solid hands. He’s athletic enough to adjust to the poorly thrown ball.
  • Pass protection - While Sankey claims to be proficient in this area, we see some things to clean up. We’d like to see him do more hitting and recoiling or redirecting and less cut blocking. Undersized backs need to use a varied approach or they’ll end up getting abused. Sankey flashed excellent upper body strength in Indy.  He needs to show more of it on film in pass protection. On the plus side, Sankey does do a good job with the cut block, but he needs the full repertoire. He’s still ahead of the curve as far as collegians go.
  • Efficiency - Bishop tends to trust the play and use his blockers effectively. He finishes runs very well for his size. He very rarely takes losses when there is something there--almost always getting what’s blocked. Sankey does not over-cut and gets north-south quickly. Even when he bounces outside, he is always looking for a chance to get upfield. He’s no nonsense and it all adds up to efficient play.
  • Production - With 1,870 yards on the ground and 20 rushing scores, Sankey was beyond productive as a senior. Here’s a link to Bishops career stats at Washington.

Here’s a look at one of Sankey’s signature games. He gets 27 carries and scores twice while racking up 241 yards on the ground.

Here’s Bishop is his final college game against BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl.

While Sankey compares himself to Gio Bernard, the player I think of most when I watch Sankey is Ahmad Bradshaw. They both have the ability to make people miss in tight space, but primarily like to get north-south. Bradshaw, at his best, was also more quick than fast and got a lot of tough yards for a smaller runner. Sankey has also proven to be durable over his two years of heavy usage. He was a team leader and team Captain at Washington, so he’s a kid with some good character traits. That leads me to another player that might be a useful comparison: Bilal Powell. Powell has had some success with the Jets the last few years and he’s a similar back in that he’s trustworthy and he runs it like it’s coached. Powell has a nice all-around game and he’s a leader.

So, we see a player that reminds us of a current Jet and an ex Giant. The thing is, Sankey, if he can stay healthy, could be significantly better than Powell and even a notch better than Bradshaw. He’s quicker and more sudden with his cuts than Powell and has slightly better speed as well. He’s faster than Bradshaw and may be able to avoid all the injuries that have plagued the former Giant. However, like both Powell and Bradshaw, Sankey’s fantasy upside will be directly proportional to his role. Will he be this year’s Christine Michael and get drafted behind an All Pro or will he be Gio Bernard or Le’Veon Bell and get a lot of work right away? We’ll update all of that after the draft and place a more exact value on Sankey for both dynasty and redraft purposes.

One thing that I am comfortable saying now is that Sankey has NFL chops. He can produce if given a shot in a decent offense. 


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