Phillip Lindsay | Running Back | Colorado
Height: 5’7” | Weight: 200 pounds
CU Pro Day Stats:
40-yard Dash: 4.39 seconds
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 14
Vertical Jump: 35 1⁄2 inches
Broad Jump: 10’4” feet
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.31 seconds
3-Cone Drill: 7.12 seconds
There’s not much to say about Phillip Lindsay that hasn’t been said already. Always undersized but forever a ferocious runner, Lindsay came to CU as an accomplished but unheralded recruit; Mike MacIntyre almost cut his scholarship offer after Lindsay tore his ACL his senior year. After three seasons working tirelessly on the scout team and as a backup, Lindsay finally broke out during CU’s famed 2016 run to the Pac-12 Championship. As part of a dual-threat backfield beside fellow legend Sefo Liufau, Lindsay had a career-high 1,745 yards from scrimmage and 17 total touchdowns. His best game as a junior was his 219-yard outing against Arizona State, but his most iconic was his 2-touchdown performance against Washington State (watch for Gus Johnson) that signified the Buffs were back.
In the following season, Lindsay was tasked with being the leader and focal point of the offense. It turned out to be a disappointed season for the Buffs — and especially disappointing for the offense — but Lindsay got better each game and had arguably CU’s best single-season offensive performance since Chris Brown in 2001. As the only consistent player on the offense it seemed, Lindsay totaled 1,474 rushing yards, 257 receiving yards and scored 15 touchdowns. Linday’s most famous game of the season was his 41-carry, 281-yard, 3-TD showing against Arizona, a game he tried to win all by himself but was outdone by Khalil Tate roasting CU’s porous defense. With games like these, Lindsay etched himself into CU history by setting the career record with 4,598 yards from scrimmage and 5,675 all-purpose yards (847 yards above second-best Rodney Stewart). He also finished second all-time in rushing yards (3,635) and rushing TDs (35).
Phillip Lindsay isn’t exactly Saquon Barkley, but there’s no reason to think he won’t break into the NFL. Undersized he may be, he uses his lack of height to hide behind blockers, then at the point of attack, his quickness and tenacity make him difficult to tackle, especially in open space. Countless times has Lindsay kept a play alive and turned nothing into long gains. His elusiveness and sub-4.4 speed make him a big play threat, which combined with his solid hands and smart route-running would make him a quality third-down back at the very least. If he took on a bigger role than that, he could handle a sizable workload as he led the nation with 301 carries and never seemed to be effected by fatigue or injuries. He’s also a surprisingly effective short-yardage back given his size, which you could probably credit to his sheer determination to score. Related to that, his biggest strength isn’t necessarily his speed or quickness, it’s his leadership and relentless work ethic that separate him from equal draft prospects.
Lindsay is a bit old and will be 24 when the NFL season kicks off. He’s also had knee injuries that may scare teams off considering his workload at CU and his small stature. It’s also curious to see if his attitude will translate to the next level; it seemed often that in college he would win a battle because he just wanted it more, but that may not work against bigger and stronger athletes. There’s a chance that his fiery spirit and desire to lead will rub teammates the wrong way, because no matter how great of a leader Lindsay is, veterans may not welcome a rookie trying to pump them up. (Hopefully this doesn’t happen.) The last thing, which may be the most concerning, is that Lindsay tended to struggle against CU’s toughest opponents, particularly those with NFL size in their front seven. It’s hard to tell, however, if those struggles were because he wasn’t big or athletic enough to shake those defenders, or if the problem was rooted in CU having overmatched offensive linemen and a predictable offensive gameplan.
Draft Projection: Round 5 or 6
NFL Comparison: Danny Woodhead, Jacquizz Rodgers, Duke Johnson (but less athletic)