In today’s installment of our Washington Huskies NFL Draft profiles, we turn our eyes to UW’s featured running back for the last four years. Myles Gaskin was a remarkably steady force for the Dawgs during his career, in which he became the program’s all-time leader in rushing yards (5,323) and total touchdowns (62). In 2015, Gaskin was named a freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America, and in 2016, he was named to the Pac-12’s all-conference first-team. In 2017 and 2018, he was recognized as an all-conference second-teamer.
It’s hard to imagine a player more consistent than Myles Gaskin, who seized the role of featured back several games into his true freshman season and didn’t miss a single game due to injury until October of his senior year. Gaskin also made the most of his opportunities, crossing the 100-yard barrier 27 times and scoring multiple touchdowns in 16 of his 52 career games. Arguably his best talent is one that doesn’t translate well to the stat sheet, but is of monumental importance to any quality running back: Gaskin seems to have an innate knack for falling forward and gaining an extra foot here, an extra yard there, and turning what should be a three-yard loss into a one-yard gain.
At last month’s NFL Combine, Gaskin acquitted himself well by posting (among running backs) the fifth-best time in the 20-yard shuttle, the fifth-most reps on the bench press, the eighth-best vertical jump, and the eighth-best time in the three-cone drill. He also ran a 4.58-second 40-yard dash, No. 9 among running backs. He measured in at 5-9 and 205 lbs., with 29 1/2” arms and 8 3/4” hands.
Despite becoming the first running back in Pac-12 history to earn four 1,000-yard seasons, Gaskin is viewed with a degree of skepticism by NFL scouts and general managers. Though his height and weight never seemed to limit his opportunities in the collegiate ranks, it seems possible — perhaps likely — that his frame and mediocre 40-yard dash time (56th percentile among running backs) will give pause to NFL executives. It’s also worth considering how much wear and tear Gaskin absorbed in college through his 945 career carries, and how much tread he has left on his tires for a career in the NFL at the position that historically has the league’s shortest lifespan.
That being said, few players in this year’s draft have demonstrated an every-down work ethic to the same degree as Gaskin. The patience he has shown in allowing holes to develop and his discipline to follow his lead blockers are enticing factors to any NFL staff that believes they can coach him into a specific role in their scheme. All told, Gaskin looks every part of a day-three selection; any team that gets him in the sixth round or later will likely feel that they received a tremendous value for their pick.