NAME: Dameon Pierce
WEIGHT: 220 lbs
HOMETOWN: Bainbridge, GA
HIGH SCHOOL: Bainbridge
Pierce was the #8 RB in the 2018 recruiting class, which meant he virtually had his choice of college. With at least 17 offers, 5 of which came from SEC institutions, the Bainbridge standout took only one visit. That was to Florida, where he’d burst onto the scene as an impact player as a true freshman.
In 2018, the Gators had Lamical Perine and Jordan Scarlett running the backfield, so Pierce was limited to RB3 duties. Even so, the freshman racked up 424 yards on just 69 carries, good for third on the team. Scarlett’s departure for the NFL bumped Pierce to RB2 in 2019, but he actually touched the ball less as Perine grew into a feature back role and subsequently left for the league. That meant that in 2020, the RB position was Pierce’s to claim. He responded with a career high 503 yards on 106 carries while taking the bulk of the reps in front of Malik Davis and Nay’Quan Wright. 2021 brought more of the same, although Davis and Wright’s carry numbers jumped. Pierce took 100 carries for 574 yards and a team-high 13 TDs before declaring for the draft and being invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
GAMES WATCHED: 2021 – Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia
For an explanation of Alex’s grading scale, refer to this article.
Creativity – 40/80 (Below Average)
Vision – 60/80 (Above Average)
Contact Balance – 65/80 (Star)
Pass Catching – 55/80 (Above Average)
Long Speed – 45/80 (Fringe Average)
Power – 70/80 (Star)
Explosiveness – 45/80 (Fringe Average)
Blocking – 70/80 (Star)
Durability – 75/80 (Elite)
Ball Security – 75/80 (Elite)
Ceiling – 60/80 (Above Average)
Red Flags – 10/10
Final Grade (w/o RAS): 6.80
Round Grade: 4th
Summary: Pierce will likely sneak into a third round grade from me after testing results come back, which I think is well warranted. He does all the little things well: he hasn’t fumbled since 2019, he’s an excellent pass blocker, always falls forward for extra yardage. Pierce’s receiving chops are surprising for a guy his size; 45 college receptions for 422 yards and 5 TDs is nothing to scoff at. Pierce has nice vision at the line of scrimmage too – he’s a patient runner who knows exactly where the cutback lanes will be opening.
Pierce’s poor grades in some areas are less of an indictment of him as a player and more a result of comparing him to lightning-quick backs who essentially play a different sport than him. While I like his vision, he’s not a player that is going to create yards on his own with much frequency. I don’t think he’s a terrible athlete, but he’s not a fabulous one either. There were a few instances where he got chased down from behind or didn’t quite have the juice to hit the corner on outside runs.
Pierce reminds me a lot of Falcons RB Mike Davis, who’s both a similar size and has a similar playstyle. Davis has been at his best as an RB2 that comes in to punish opposing defenses who are already gassed from chasing quicker backs, and that’s the role I foresee working best with Pierce, too. I don’t think he’ll ever be an unquestioned RB1, but he can be a high end RB2 that continues to find work thanks to his attention to detail and pass blocking skills. In a hypothetical future year where his running mate gets injured or has a down year, I wouldn’t be surprised for Pierce to put up numbers that have people reconsidering his NFL standing, much like Davis had his final year in Carolina.
Follow Alex on Twitter @alexkatson.