Tre Madden struggled with injuries throughout his USC career, which remains the biggest obstacle towards his pro future. At the 2016 NFL Combine he’ll need to reassure teams on his durability.
When he saw the field at USC, Tre Madden proved himself as an exceptional running back. However, major injury concerns have left his NFL hopes in doubt, making his showing at the NFL Combine all about the medical.
What did he do at USC?
Madden joined the Trojans as a linebacker, but after spending one season as a back up at the position he was switched over to the offensive side of the ball to help with depth. As it turned out, Madden was suited towards more than just being a space filler. Unfortunately during a standout spring camp he tore his ACL and had to sit out the season.
In 2013 Madden emerged as the top tailback for USC during the first half of the season. He became the first Trojan to open the season with three consecutive 100-yard rushing games since Marcus Allen in 1981 and had more than 100 yards in four of the first five games that year. As would be the trend for most of his career however, Madden suffered a hamstring injury against Arizona and was limited for the remainder of the season.
The following year he battled turf toe leading into the season opener and ultimately sat out the entire schedule.
Upon his return in 2015, Madden contributed four touchdowns in the opening three games on limited touches, then logged 120 yards on 17 carries against Washington. However, knee problems slowed him in the second half of the season and he underwent surgery before the Holiday Bowl.
All told, Madden finished his career with 1,155 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. He also added 32 receptions, 334 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns.
What’s his current draft stock?
There are two truths among NFL draft stocks with regard to Madden. First, he has the ability to be an NFL running back. Second, his injury record is a major red flag which may turn many teams away from spending a draft pick on him.
CBSSports.com lists Madden as a potential sixth round pick and the 18th player at his position. Despite taller than average height, Spencer Hall notes that Madden has a low center of gravity and great balance. Though he doesn’t jump off the charts in any one characteristic, he possesses all-around ability.
Hall compared Madden to T.J. Yeldon of the Jaguars: “Not the fastest, strongest or flashiest running backs, both do have the ability to get the job done.”
Matt Miller listed Madden as a Day 3 running back who could be a starter at the pro level.
Lance Zierlein praised the “hint of nasty” in Madden’s running, willingness to block and intelligence. However, in addition to the standard concerns with injury record, the NFL.com analyst raises an issue with Madden’s overall athleticism, calling him “more of a ‘get what’s blocked’ type of back than a creator.”
What can he improve at the Combine?
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The number one concern for Madden at the Combine is the medical. As Zeirlein points out, “If his medicals don’t check out, it won’t matter.”
Since he underwent knee surgery before the Holiday Bowl, Madden will likely be limited in drills but his ability on that front is not in doubt. A clean bill of health from the doctors in Indianapolis would go a long way towards keeping teams from striking him off their draft boards.
From there, Madden could focus more on making an impression in interviews, leaving the physical side of the game for USC’s Pro Day later down the road.