Dameon Pierce was selected by the Houston Texans with the No. 107 overall pick in the fourth round and he now joins a wide-open depth chart at the running back position. We've seen excitement build around Pierce who is shooting up rookie-only mocks in Dynasty leagues. Pierce was used more like an undersized change-of-pace option at Florida than the every-down workhorse he projects to be at the NFL level, and it certainly wasn't due to his commitment to the team or the game. Pierce played in Florida's 2021 bowl game despite having already solidified his draft stock. Coaching is to blame for Pierce's lack of opportunities at the collegiate level as far as I'm concerned, and Florida's decision to make a coaching change backs that up. On a per touch basis, Pierce was arguably the best running back in the class at creating yards after contact and forcing missed tackles -- and that translates to the next level.
What has me so excited about Pierce is that he not only has the build to operate in an every-down role at the NFL level, but he also has the skill set. Pierce has good tape as a receiving option out of the backfield and in pass protection. In fact, some NFL general managers will view Pierce's immediate fit as a passing downs back given his willingness, toughness and efficiency as a pass blocker. As a runner, his compact build (muscle hamster-esque), NFL-ready stiff arm and low center of gravity allow him to create as a rusher. His ability to stop and start at his size in combination with his power is why it's easy to see him emerging as a workhorse at the NFL level despite not being used as one at Florida.
We're breaking down everything you need to know about Pierce from a Fantasy manager perspective, including best fits, Dynasty outlook, measurables, scouting report, key stats and an NFL comparison.
The Texans offer an incredible opportunity for Pierce to do something he never got the chance to under the Florida staff -- operate in a three-down role. Pierce's underrated route running ability and his vertically-oriented running style make him a perfect fit to inherit a massive role in Year 1 if he can climb the depth chart in training camp and the preseason. Pierce will be targeted as an RB3 with easy to see RB2 upside if he does start climbing the depth chart in August.
Pierce was a major riser in Dynasty drafts over the final month of draft season. After landing with the Texans, he has seen his stock skyrocket. Pierce's ability to force missed tackles and potential to emerge as an every-down back make him an excellent target in your Dynasty drafts.
- Low center of gravity allows for Pierce to have excellent contact balance and the ability to run through arm tackles at a consistent rate.
- Despite his rocked-up build, Pierce has nifty footwork and the ability to stop and start on a dime.
- Elite level ability to force missed tackles -- Pierce forced the third-most missed tackles per touch, per PFF. Pierce is the most consistent tackle breaker in the entire class.
- One of the better stiff-arm moves in the entire class.
- A willingness and ability to stand up against all types of pass rushers in pass protection.
- Better than expected receiving ability and route running -- showed the ability to run a wider variety of routes than expected -- multiple examples of being used and succeeding up the seam as a receiver. Pierce's 1.8 yards per route run was 10th-best at the RB position.
- Protects the football -- zero fumbles in 2021.
- Better than expected short-area burst despite not having long straight-line speed -- 86th percentile 10-yard split.
- Quiet but efficient footwork -- very few wasted steps.
- Thick, compact lower-body build despite his lengthy frame -- could also be a factor in his plus durability.
- Very strong overall -- 21 bench press reps.
- Pierce has plus vision and punishes overly aggressive second-level defenders who are undisciplined with their run fits by finding and exploiting cutback lanes.
florida's dameon pierce plays w/outstanding patience & understanding of his team's run blocking scheme. his one-cut north/south style is made for the NFL— Ray G 🏁 (@RayGQue) February 20, 2022
he impressed during senior bowl week. he's going to be a productive player if he gets the opportunity. Im a big fan #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/tqLSibW4yL
Florida RB Dameon Pierce #27 brings a physical presence to the backfield— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) April 1, 2022
🔹 Presses the ass of PS OG (ACE combo)
🔹 Gets Dean (17) and Cine (16) to flow/fill B-Gap
🔹 Cuts BS off ass of OC - vision
🔹 Runs over #29
🔹 Falls forward through contact
Love that fight/tenacity 💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/ytW3ntrXce
- Breakaway speed is not there. Pierce ran a 4.59 40-yard dash and doesn't look much faster as a straight-line runner on tape.
- While there are examples of Pierce gaining the edge against SEC defenses, projecting his ability to do this at the NFL level gets trickier.
- Never carried the load at Florida (topped out at 106 carries in a single season) and hasn't proven he can do it (it's a projection I'm willing to make -- but a projection).
- While the burst is there in short field, Pierce isn't going to have major breakaway ability at the next level (17th percentile 20-yard short shuttle).
- Only average lateral agility -- he wins in other ways; 7.53 3-cone drill puts him in the 3rd percentile.
Advanced stats to know
- 39 forced missed tackles on just 100 total rushing attempts.
- 92.0 PFF grade makes him the third-highest graded Florida Gator since 2014.
- 4th-most yards created, according to Graham Barfield
- Most missed tackles forced per reception, per Barfield
- 2nd-most missed tackles forced per rushing attempt, per Barfield
When I watch Pierce, I see a similar player in run style and build to former Bucs and Raiders running back Doug Martin. He's not quite as fast as Martin was but he offers more strength and a more advanced passing downs profile (entering the NFL). If you're looking for a throwback comp, I see a little bit of former Chargers back Natrone Means in Pierce's game.