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2019 Miami Hurricanes NFL Evaluation Profile: RB Travis Homer

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Miami’s leading rusher is set to embrace a new challenge

Notre Dame v Miami Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

With the NFL season in the books, it’s time to look to the stars in the years to come. Given the University of Miami’s penchant for producing pro talent, it’s only right that we cover UM’s draft prospects. The purpose of this scouting report is to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each player leading up the 2019 NFL Draft beginning April 25th.

The first player up in our Scouting Report series is RB Travis Homer.

Spending three seasons in Coral Gables, Homer emerged from a crowded depth chart to become the feature back for the Canes. A three-down runner that was a workhorse during his collegiate tenure, Homer was featured prominently on special teams throughout his career. A threat from the backfield on checkdowns, Homer exhibits the skill set to be a reliable option at the next level. A north-south runner, the underclassmen prospect saw a bulk of his carries come out of shotgun formation. After the handoff, with the ball in his hands, Homer provides defenders with one of two choices: Eating a mouthful of shoulder pad or grasping at his leg as he gallops past.

Above all else, Travis Homer is a high character man who evolved to become a vocal leader for the Hurricanes as a junior. Although noted for his quiet demeanor, the West Palm Beach native lets his play on game days do the talking for him.

Strengths

  • Homer does a good job of making sure that he falls forward on a carry and lowers his shoulder to finish a run.
  • Possesses excellent hands and saw a decent amount of targets in the passing game.
  • Nice burst through the line of scrimmage, and attacks the hole with the ability to make the first defender miss.
  • A one-cut runner.
  • Lowers shoulder against DBs and in the red zone to gain optimal yardage.
  • Initiates contact in the open field.
  • Employs a stiff arm that helps create enough separation to evade tackles right after handoff.
  • Carries the ball high and tight when in the open field.
  • Decent vision out of the backfield — he’s able to get to the open space in the defense.
  • Good center of gravity allows Homer to keep his feet under him when getting into traffic.
  • Works best when attacking the outside of the line of scrimmage where he gains the angle on the defense, often resulting in him racing up the sideline.
  • Loves to hurdle defenders when possible — not a big leaper, but can get over bodies on the ground.
  • Able to turn his shoulders down field and take off when running lateral to the line of scrimmage.
  • Works best on slip screens.

Weaknesses

  • Gears down to make a cut in the open field.
  • Shifty runner that can evade the opposition, but not a lot of wiggle compared to other backs in the class.
  • Will get tackled from behind far too often when breaking out in open space.

What the Experts Have to Say

“Run to daylight” back who excels as an outside runner with clear paths to follow. While he can make tacklers miss, his lack of vision sometimes takes him to trafficked areas when optimal routes are available. He’s a little undersized, but runs big and he already possesses NFL-level toughness in pass protection. Homer has his flaws, but he’s a smooth athlete with a chance to outplay his draft slotting. His value as a punt gunner and third-down option gives him a chance for early reps right out of the gate.

Round Projection: 5th—6th round

Lance Zierlein - NFL.com

Homer is an excellent outside runner who can set up shifty moves and then explode with home run speed. Where he struggles is between the tackles. He’s not afraid of contact, but his fumbling issues will give teams major pause when asking him to do more than run outside.

Round Projection: 6th round

Matt Miller - Bleacher Report

The Hurricanes’ leading rusher in each of the past two seasons, Homer features an all-around skill set. His blend of balance, agility, receiving upside and ability in pass protection gives him upside on every down. With that said, Homer’s field vision can disappoint and yards will be left on the field. In addition, Homer proved to have a bit of a fumble problem in 2018. I don’t think Homer will warrant a feature role but his versatility gives him a chance to provide quality depth and contribute in a variety of ways at the next level.

Round Projection: Mid Day 3 (round 4-7)

Joe Marino - The Draft Network

Homer is wired a little differently and doesn’t follow or watch football (NFL or college), but he is all business on the field. He anticipates run lanes before they expand and shows the instincts to zig when other runners would zag. Overall, Homer is a nifty upfield runner with his feel and plant-and-go cutting skills, but it is his versatility as a pass catcher, blocker and special teamer that will make him attractive to NFL teams, fitting best in a third-down role.

Round Projection: 6th or 7th

Dane Brugler — The Athletic

Homer comes off a terrific season and nicely projects as a situational runner or third-down back at the next level.

Tony Pauline - Draft Analyst.com

Homer is a talented, athletic back that can make a living at the next level catching passes out of the backfield or beating defenses to the edge on outside runs. He’ll need to improve his play between the tackles to find a primary role in the NFL. He earned 74.4 and 68.0 overall grades in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Pro Football Focus

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