NAME: Tony Pollard
POSITION: Running Back/Wide Receiver
CLASS: RS Junior
JERSEY: No. 1
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
Rushing and Receiving
Kick and Punt Returns
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Tony Pollard had a productive three-year run as a unique, versatile weapon in the Memphis offense. He was a triple threat and played running back, wide receiver, and was the primary kick returner with the Tigers. He ended his collegiate career as one of the best return men in the nation, returning seven kickoffs for touchdowns during his career.
As a runner, Pollard shows natural contact balance and does an excellent job of setting up blockers in front of him. He thrives in one-on-one situations with a defender. Effortlessly glides past defenders, can set them up with a juke move, or get vertical when necessary. Not overly shifty, but has some elusiveness. Not afraid to stick his nose in there and pick up the tough yards. Excels as a “gadget” player on jet sweeps, end arounds, and reverses.
Pollard has the ability to be a weapon out of the backfield or split out wide as a receiving option in the NFL. Versatility to line up all over the formation. Can extend and contort his body to balls thrown outside his frame. Solid route running ability that should improve with time and better coaching. A threat to take it to the house anytime he gets the ball in space. Shows good effort when stock blocking and in pass protection.
Despite Tony Pollard’s unique, versatile skill set, finding a defined role for him in the NFL may prove difficult. Had limited reps at Memphis as a runner and receiver because of better talent. Might just be a “gadget” player. He is a tweener prospect and will need to play in the right scheme in order to have success at the next level. Is a jack of all trades, master of none.
Pollard has only average speed and agility. Not going to be able to run away from defenders in the NFL. Doesn’t have the strength to pick up the dirty yards or push the pile as a running back. Can be impatient as a runner. Runs too tall and doesn’t fall forward. Struggles to change directions due to hip tightness. Takes time to break down and alter his course.
Pollard is a work in progress as a receiver. Has a tendency to fight the ball, causing him to double catch it. Showed too many drops on film. Don’t know if it’s because of lack of focus or catching technique. Really needs to improve his route running. Will run rounded routes and telegraphs his slant patterns. Also has a tendency to break off routes too soon. Willing blocker, but not physical enough.
It was interesting to see the Dallas Cowboys show an interest in Tony Pollard and bring him in as one of their 30 pre-draft visitors. When I think of Pollard and the skill set he could provide with the Cowboys I immediately think of Tavon Austin. Both players are kind of a hybrid running back/wide receiver, and both of them excel in the return game. The only difference between the two is Pollard is a little bit bigger, but doesn’t have Austin’s top end speed.
If added to the Cowboys roster, Tony Pollard would likely play a similar role to what Tavon Austin has during his time in Dallas. I don’t view either as a full-time starter, but more as a “gadget” player to be deployed in certain situations as both a runner and receiver. Pollard’s value as a rookie would be in the return game as the Cowboys return specialist. His Swiss Army knife skill set could prove valuable, but finding a defined role for him with Tavon Austin still on the roster is difficult.