Washington Commanders rookie running back Chris Rodriguez is turning heads these days. Fans were finally able to see him on the field in action against Cleveland after many questioned the team’s judgment of selecting a running back in this year’s draft with other needs still not addressed.
Against the Browns, Rodriguez had five carries for 39 yards, which is 7.8 yards per carry. His percentage of runs that gain 5+ yards was a whopping 80%, by far the best in the NFL in the first week of the preseason.
Rodriguez Has Traveled a Long Road
For Rodriguez, this is about more than just football. His college offensive coordinator, Liam Coen, described Rodriguez as ‘a man on a mission,’ a phrase that encapsulates his relentless drive and ambition.
Rodriguez’s journey to the NFL has had its fair share of challenges. He played for three offensive coordinators at Kentucky, and over his past four years (he redshirted in 2018), he averaged 3.97 yards after contact per rush, which ranked seventh among qualified FBS players in that span. He also converted 66 percent of his third-down rushes, which ranked sixth. Robinson (79.5 percent) sits at the top of that list. After losing his mother to Lupos back in 2022, Rodriguez was arrested for drunk driving. That arrest led to him missing games at the beginning of last season and dropped his draft stock from a 2nd-3rd round guy to Washington being able to take him in the sixth round.
Since his mother’s passing, Rodriguez has made it his mission to honor her at almost every opportunity, raising money and awareness for the Lupus Foundation of America at the NFL Combine and wearing purple — her favorite color and the color for lupus awareness — at the Senior Bowl.
In addition to the video at the top of this post, I also did another film review of Rodriguez after the draft. You can watch that below:
Here’s a rundown of this show:
- I reviewed background information on Rodriguez, including stats and personal information about why he was suspended for four games last year (0:00 – 1:15 in the video).
- I discuss his ability to take hits and keep going, not to mention make good cutbacks and take off upfield (1:16 – 2:52 in the video).
- I talk about his sneaky quickness for a guy who rarely goes down after the first hit (2:53 – 5:17 in the video).
- I talked about his hands being a skill set that he had not been able to utilize very much while at Kentucky (5:18 – 5:50 in the video).
- I talked about how his idol is Marshawn Lynch (why he wore 24 in college; he’ll wear 23 in 2023 since Antonio Gibson wears it in Washington) and showed an example of some of Lynch’s characteristics in his game (5:51 – 6:28 in the video)
- I talked a little about what I look for when I watch RB film and then looked at some of Rodriguez’s long runs (6:55 – 8:05 in the video)
- I take a look at some of his film that shows his blocking abilities (8:06 – 11:17 in the video)
- I talked about something that showed up on film at the goal line, where he had some issues fumbling (11:18 – 12:54 in the video).
- I go over his scouting report while a collection of his college film plays (12:55 – 16:45 in the video).
- I give my thoughts on Rodriguez, including how he fits into the current running back room/depth chart while the collection of his college film continues to play (12:56 – 19:48 in the video).