In our Scouting Reports, we will give you a quick debrief to get you the information you need to know. We go a step further, providing an in-depth review showing off examples of what we do and don’t like. We’ve included a date from the initial scouting report. Updated notes may get added and dated over the course of the the year. With that, welcome to the Tank Bigsby scouting report!
If you’d like to see more, below are all the completed scouting reports for this season:
|Spencer Rattler* (2024)
|Michael Penix Jr.* (2024)
|Blake Corum* (2024)
Tank Bigsby’s freshman season put him on the devy map in a huge way. He fell off a bit during the 2021 season after a string of rough games. He’s languished ever since, watching other names go on the rise. Let’s dive into Bigsby and see where he really belongs.
Details: Tank Bigsby | RB | Auburn #4
DOB: 08.30.2001| 21 years old
H/W: 6’0” | 210 lbs
NFL Combine results (updated 03.06.2023):
40-yd dash: 4.56s
10-yd split: 1.54s
Vertical jump: 32.5″
Broad jump: 9′ 11″
NFL Draft Projection (updated 03.06.2023):
2nd to 3rd Round Pick – Bigsby is one of the better pure runners of this draft class. He lacks elite athleticism, with good-not-great burst and long speed. Though his outstanding contact balance, strength, and vision make up for that. He additionally possesses good patience, a propensity to make the first guy miss, and an excellent ability to press a gap and set up his runs. However, his relative lack of involvement and excitement in the passing game may limit him to a two down runner, and could push his draft stock into the 3rd Round. Keep an eye out for fumbles, as he often carries the ball loose. While the combine didn’t knock his stock in any way, it may have helped others climb above him. I still don’t see him making it past Day 2 though.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Projection – 1QB (updated 03.06.2023):
Mid to Late 1st Round Pick – If it were based purely on running talent, Tank could go as high as 1.04. Though a noteworthy lack of involvement in the passing game, along with some other solid RBs to compete with, means he could slip later in the first round – especially in PPR leagues.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Projection – Superflex/2QB (updated 03.06.2023):
Mid 1st to Mid 2nd Round Pick – Assuming two, up-to four quarterbacks go early, I would still expect Tank to go in the pick 8-16 range. If you somehow happen to get him in the mid second round, consider it a steal.
The first full game I watched of Bigsby was the Auburn vs Arkansas game in 2020 where he ran for 146 yards on 20 carries. In one drive alone, he took four carries 48 yards, broke five tackles, showed good vision, great strength, excellent contact balance, and solid long speed.
I took note and was on high alert for the rest of his games. Unfortunately, the next three games were a different story:
- Against Alabama in 2020, he only hit 39 yards on 11 carries…a long run of only six yards.
- Against LSU in 2021, only 27 yards on nine carries.
- Against Arkansas in 2021, 68 yards on 18 carries.
What’s the deal?
Tank would occasionally ignore the inside lane, preferring an opportunity outside. This was especially prevalent early on. Without great acceleration and speed, this is likely to produce more losses than wins even in college. It’s a recipe for failure in the NFL.
There’s a noticeable improvement when watching games from 2022. Bigsby shows a greater proficiency in squaring with the line and getting north/south. This improvement will help him at the next level since he doesn’t have the speed to win the corner consistently.
Tank is a strong runner – while he doesn’t run as violent as Charbonnet (scouting report here) – his strength and contact balance is phenomenal and nearly on par. However, Bigsby has better lateral movement and regularly makes the first guy miss.
He also sets up his blocks. Bigsby regularly presses one gap to attack another, an outstanding trait for any runner to possess.
Though well built, he looks like he could add even more to his frame, especially in the quads/hips/hamstrings. These muscle groups should help stabilize his knee during hard cuts and provide more drive and explosion.
An NFL weight room could benefit him more than most in this class. He has good speed thanks to long strides, but his initial burst is good-not-great. Improving that would take his game to the next level.
His ability in the pass game is adequate. He’s comfortable getting out into routes, even occasionally lining up out wide, though I wouldn’t call this a strength of his. He’s fine, but he’s not going to light up a receiving stat line from game-to-game.
Bigsby’s pass blocking isn’t the best, but overall he’s not bad. He knows his responsibility, squares to the defender, sets a nice base, sinks his hips, and tries to punch the defenders chest. His punch isn’t great and he should keep his head up more, but he should be adequate.
However, Tank does need to address his ball security. This was my biggest concern when watching him. He carries it loose and, given his comfort navigating traffic and his running style, it’s going to be a focus for NFL coaches.
Without showing improvement, ball security could hinder opportunities early in his career. His average abilities blocking and receiving may also limit him to a two down role.
I’d like to start this detailed breakdown with the drive that put me on notice to Bigsby’s talent. In one drive against Arkansas in 2020, Tank runs the ball four times, gains 48 yards, breaks five tackles, and shows a ton of quality running.
In these four runs we see phenomenal contact balance, great strength, good vision, decisive running, long strides and long speed, and nice pad level into contact. All these traits show up consistently when Bigsby has the ball in his hands.
Unfortunately, we also see Bigsby’s propensity to unnecessarily bounce it wide, as well as poor ball security. He doesn’t outright fumble in these clips, but he shows a few issues which will cause some concern.
Take note of how low he carries the ball and how wild he swings his arm, especially prevalent when carrying with his right arm. Also, note how he never covers the football.
At the time of this writing, Tank has had five fumbles in college. However, in the six games I watched, I saw the ball come out after he was down an additional two times. Not technically a fumble, but not exactly a glowing representation of good ball security either.
Thankfully, as we’ll see shortly, these traits have both improved by the 2022 season.
The beauty of Tank is, for as much power as he has, and for as well as he absorbs contact, he can be incredibly shifty too.
This next run, also from the 2020 season but against South Carolina, shows off precise footwork, fluid hips, more of the trademark power and drive, and strings it all together with a nasty juke to make a guy miss.
Off the snap we’ll see the 3-technique loop around the 1-technique to get playside, nearly blowing Tank up in the backfield. With just one plant step, Bigsby redirects himself 90 degrees to his right, angling behind his right tackle.
His right tackle gets really good push, knocking the backer on his behind, and opening the slimmest of lanes between defenders for Bigsby. Once again he plants and redirects, then he lowers his shoulder to power his way through the defenders.
Bigsby doesn’t just get through this lane, he shrugs off three different defenders and – just as he gets his footing again – has to immediately jump cut to avoid another defender.
For those at home counting, he’s narrowly avoided the 3-technique, drove through tackle attempts from a linebacker, safety, and the aforementioned 3-technique, and nearly snapped the other safety’s tibia.
To top it off, when two defenders wrap him up, he’s able to churn and fall forward for an extra three yards. Truly outstanding run here.
Another trait I love to see is when Bigsby sets up his runs. Tank does an excellent job pressing one gap only to plant and attack another.
Pressing the hole forces defenders – especially second level defenders – to respect the threat. This can either pin defenders in place which leaves another area of the field vacated, or outright move defenders out of their gap which leaves it empty and ripe for attack.
For a running back, this requires vision to the second level, timing, and precise footwork to pull off effectively. Not only did Tank press the hole often, he would often press it as much and as long as he could before gashing the vacated lane…making it nearly impossible to defend.
Below, I’ve compiled a few runs to show how Bigsby does this. I chose one from 2020, another from 2021, and a third from 2022 to show this has always been a consistent asset to his game.
While I like the production Bigsby creates while behind the line of scrimmage, I love that it’s coupled with his abilities in the open field and when taking on defenders directly. He’s a force as a runner.
Bigsby is also fleet footed in one-on-one situations. When mano-a-mano, he’s able to force a missed tackle by utilizing any number of moves.
Earlier, we saw a great jump cut to get past a charging defender. Below, we’re going to see a couple really nice crossover jukes from his game against Arkansas in 2021.
In the first run, we see split zone as the H-back comes back across the line, the offensive line washes the defensive line down, but the defense is able to keep a helmet in every gap. This makes frontside difficult, but opens the backside with only a single force defender to beat.
Bigsby feigns/presses inside before throwing a crossover to cut across the defender. From here, Tank shows decent acceleration and great speed to gain the corner and nearly gets in the endzone.
Before moving on to the second run, take note of how he carries the football with his right hand. It’s held very far away from his body where it is prone to getting punched out. Savvy defenders will take advantage of this early and often.
In the second run, it’s nearly the same scenario without the split flow action. The H-back takes on the linebacker and provides Bigsby opportunities off either hip.
Tank chooses to attack outside where, once again, there’s a backside force defender to beat. Once again he throws a crossover and cuts across the defender nicely. Bigsby tries it a second time, but the DB is able to make the shoestring tackle.
Arguably both of the above runs had lanes available inside, especially the second clip. It’s worth noting that I saw much more patience and desire to get north/south in 2022 than in either prior year. On the surface, this may take some opportunities away, in the long run this is a greatly beneficial skill for his future on Sundays.
I won’t touch on this too much, I’ll just grab a quick clip from 2022 to show the difference. If you compare the below snippet to any of the clips from previous years, it’s pretty noticeable the improved patience and reduced desire to go wide.
Here, we see Bigsby get into a pocket behind his line, keep his feet active, and wait for even a slight opening in the line to attack. There’s an opportunity to go wide behind his right tackle, but he chooses to trust his blockers and attack north-south.
This is definitely an improvement over previous year. Tank simply doesn’t have the acceleration to gain the edge consistently on Sundays. Plays like this may look boring, but I see this as a step in the right direction.
If you’ve gotten to this point you’ll notice I haven’t really touched on Bigsby’s ability as a receiver or as a pass blocker. The cliffsnotes are as follows: pedestrian.
Seriously though, his skills as a receiver and pass blocker are very…average, especially when compared to his ability on the ground. I don’t think he’ll be a liability for the pass game (see Kenneth Walker 2022 NFL Draft), though I also don’t see him being heavily involved in the pass game.
There are other guys in this class who present a higher pass-catching ceiling: Zach Charbonnet has better hands, Sean Tucker (scouting report here) is much better in space, etc. I don’t think this is worth knocking him too much, though it does lower his ceiling.
Guys like Nick Chubb have no issues producing for their teams (fantasy and IRL) with limited capacity through the air. I think there will be plenty opportunities for Bigsby on the ground, but may be limited to a 2-down role.
The only really concerning aspect I’ve seen from Tank’s game are the potential ball security issues, especially when he’s carrying with his right arm. He swings it wild and rarely covers the ball, so you better believe NFL defenders will look to punch it out.
All told, I see an extremely strong runner with areas of improvement; a serviceable if uninspiring running back for the passing game; and a potential 2-down bruiser who can be extremely successful toting the rock in the NFL.
Where is Bigsby in your running back rankings? Drop a comment in the comment box below to let us know your thoughts!
For more scouting reports, click any of the links below:
|Spencer Rattler* (2024)
|Michael Penix Jr.* (2024)
|Blake Corum* (2024)
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