Scouting Report written by: Jimmy O'Brien
At just over six feet tall and 218 pounds, Pierce has good size for an NFL running back, with thick, muscular legs, and the frame to additional weight in the upper body without sacrificing quickness. He ran a 4.49 at the combine, and plays at that speed, despite the 4.34 that he was timed at during Temple’s pro day. He’s a patient, one-cut runner, who’s not laterally elusive or dynamic in open space, and is ideally suited for a zone blocking scheme. Pierce isn’t flashy (he’s more of a glider, in the Matt Forte/Arian Foster mold), but he moves faster than he looks, and can take the ball the distance. He won’t be a fit for every team, and is definitely scheme dependent, but in the right setting, he’s a three down back, who can carry a full load, and should be a mid to late second round selection.
Pierce is a smooth runner, with natural agility and top flight balance. He demonstrates plus body control, with defined burst; Pierce has a patented move where he challenges the corner of the defense and leaps over the edge defender attempting to go low, without breaking stride, with hurdler-like fluidity. He’s patient, with exceptional vision and the acceleration to bounce inside runs to the corner, when available. He’s quick to recognize and utilize cutback lanes. Here, he’s not a dancer; it’s one cut and go, followed by notable burst. Pierce is a solid inside runner, with decent power and sustained leg drive. He will run through his share of tackles, and has goal line carry potential. He possesses a strong base for blitz pick -up, and is a willing blocker in such situations.
Pierce displays only modest change of direction ability, and is not elusive in the open field. He “reportedly” has good hands, but he only had three receptions in 2011, and is a virtual non-factor in the passing game. And, although he has the frame and mentality for pass blocking, his hand placement is often poor, and he tends to overextend, reaching for the opponent, and not keeping his weight over his feet. If he is to develop into a three down back, he will have to demonstrate more proficiency in catching, route running, and blitz pick-up.