INDIANAPOLIS — Derrius Guice's message to NFL teams this week is simple.
"If you don't draft me, I'm going to give your defense hell," the former LSU running back said.
Brash. Straightforward. Blunt. The words came out of his mouth the same way he attacked defenses in the Southeastern Conference the past few years. And now, he's looking to take that same style to the NFL.
Guice doesn't care where he ends up playing. While he didn't know which teams played in the AFC North, he said he would be fine with playing for one of them, Cleveland, and also spoke positively about the idea of going to Buffalo and playing behind LeSean McCoy for a few years.
He also doesn't care if he ends up on a team with a zone-blocking scheme or more of a man system. His only preference, if he has a choice, is to play for a team that doesn't have him running out of the backfield behind a fullback, which he often had to do at LSU.
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Guice noted that the Tigers used a lot of I-formations during his sophomore season and did not like it because he couldn't read the field and make the choices he wanted to make. Interestingly enough, he averaged 5.8 yards per carry on 67 attempts out of the look in 2016, and 7.6 yards per carry overall.
"I kind of just prefer single-back. When you have a lead blocking in a goal-line situation or something like that, the play can get distorted a lot easier and the track, if you're following a lead blocker, can mess you up if he gets distorted in the backfield," Guice said. "I would rather just be back there by myself and see everything and be able to make my own moves and cuts without having to worry about running into a blocker."
But Guice would find a way to figure it out if he plays in that kind of scheme in the NFL, though he probably doesn't have to worry about it. At most, it would be a wrinkle in whatever offense lands in (NFL teams only attempted 1,772 runs out of the I-Formation last season, according to Sports Info Solutions).
Derrius Guice knows all about the criticism surrounding his pass-catching ability; he also knows it's all wrong.
And while he didn't say it, there might be a piece of Guice that wants to be the guy to deliver the first hit, not the fullback. It would support his mentality.
He says he models his game after Marshawn Lynch, whom he referred to as "Skittle Man." Guice first grew up admiring Reggie Bush. Once he saw Lynch, and how physical he played, he saw a player who more closely resembled his style of play.
Since then, Guice prided himself on being an extremely physical player. It's no coincidence that 755 of his yards came after contact last season, which placed him within the top 25 in the nation, according to Sports Info Solutions.
"It's just one of those things that's how I run," Guice said. "I don't like going down on first contact. A lot of guys go down to protect themselves."
Fans of the LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints might want to set their DVRs and set aside some time to watch the 2018 NFL combine.
Guice probably doesn't have a lot to prove this week as a running back. He's considered to be one of the better prospects in this draft class.
Guice does, however, need to prove he can run routes and catch the ball. He caught just 32 passes during his three years at LSU.
He believes he has those skills. Guice noted the LSU offense doesn't pass very much and that he is looking to surprise teams this week. He'll have to overcome that stigma. On the other hand, he thinks LSU's offense has better prepared him for the NFL.
"I'm actually glad that I had to face a lot of loaded boxes because you get a lot of that in the NFL," Guice said. "I watch ... it's obviously more of a pass threat, but nine times out of 10, I watch a lot of Jacksonville, and Leonard (Fournette) was running against a lot of loaded boxes as well. I feel like it really prepared me for the next level."
We'll soon find out.