5 running backs the Carolina Panthers could select in the 2023 NFL Draft
By Luke Gray
Carolina Panthers could draft Tyjae Spears
A player who burst onto the scene in 2022 was Tulane running back Tyjae Spears. As a junior, the former Green Wave star ran for a monstrous 1,581 yards, which ranked him fifth in the country. The player was also tied for third in scores as he piled in 19 touchdowns, leading his team to a surprise comeback win over USC in the Cotton Bowl.
Spears was offensive MVP in the Cotton Bowl and he finished the game with 205 yards rushing and an incredible four touchdowns as Tulane shocked Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams and the Trojans. Despite his smaller size at 5-foot-10 and 201 pounds, the prospect plays much bigger, not shying away from contact.
At Tulane, Spears played in a run-heavy scheme that made him the focal point of the Green Wave offense. Despite his impressive numbers at the collegiate level, he doesn’t have the frame to be an every-down back at the next level.
However, he could be used as a good complimentary piece early on his career.
Spears has been touted by many as a late Day 2 pick. With the Carolina Panthers sitting at No. 93, however, they may be hesitant to use that pick on the dual-threat presence.
If the player slides potentially into Day 3, he may be a viable option for the Panthers.