Sanders, 21, broke out during his junior year, amassing career highs in carries (220), rushing yards (1,274), rushing touchdowns (9), receptions (24), and receiving yards (124). Prior to his junior year, Sanders served as the primary backup running back to superstar Saquon Barkley in State College, so his role was obviously limited. With Barkley playing for the New York Giants last season, it was Sanders who shined in his stead.
At the Scouting Combine, Sanders was one of the clear winners at his position. His 40-yard dash time was tied for seventh among all running backs, as he clocked in at 4.49 seconds. His three-cone drill time led all running backs, as Sanders completed the drill in 6.89 seconds. At 5’11” and 211 lbs, Sanders has the athleticism and the size to succeed in the NFL.
Walterfootball’s Charlie Campbell sees Sanders as a second-day pick, and the analyst postulates that Sanders could go as high as 34th overall to the Oakland Raiders. Campbell compares Sanders to Cadillac Williams, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when current Oakland head coach Jon Gruden was in Tampa Bay. Before suffering a devastating knee injury, Williams was an excellent running back as a pro, rushing for 1,178 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie in 2005.
Sanders would add some much-needed youth to a Buffalo backfield that boasts the two oldest players in the league at the position currently on an NFL roster: LeSean McCoy, who turns 31 in July, figures to head the Bills’ backfield, while Frank Gore, who will be 36 in May, will be the primary backup.