Coming out of high school, Salvon Ahmed was a really good recruiting get for the Huskies. He was the highest rated player in the 2017 class to sign with Washington, coming from nearby Juanita High School in Kirkland. Coming in with an established starter at the running back position like Myles Gaskin didn’t stop Ahmed from making an impact from day one:
Gaskin still got the bulk of the carries, but Ahmed proved to be a fast and play making change of pace player. He finished the year with 74 touches and 6.4 yards per carry. The 2018 season, his sophomore year, played out similarly, but Ahmed got even more usage: 104 rushes and 21 receptions for 770 total yards and 7 TDs.
In 2019 with all-timer Myles Gaskin gone, it was Ahmed’s time to shine. He contributed exactly 1,000 rushing yards and 11 TDs, continuing Washington’s streak of 1000-yard running backs. His 89 TD run against USC was as exciting a play as we saw all year from the Huskies. As fun as Ahmed was - he was one of the best players on offense during his UW career - he never truly took hold of the running back position during his season as the lone starter. Coaches can take some blame here for his usage and overall offensive design, but he only had 188 rushes his senior year, compared to the 220+ that Gaskin received for four years straight. It always felt like there was untapped potential.
Despite that, I don’t think many Husky fans would have anything truly negative to say about Salvon Ahmed. If anything, they wanted to see the ball in his hands more. He was electrifying and could take your breath away every time he got on the field. Perhaps best of all, in three seasons and 353 career rushes, he did not once fumble the football.
Looking at Ahmed in a line up, he is nothing special physically. If anything, by NFL standards he is touch small. At the NFL Combine he measured at just under 5-11 and 197 pounds. That in and of itself won’t make any teams salivate, though his size was never what made him a great player.
For the rest of you nerds, here were his other measurements:
Hand: 8 6/8”
Arm: 29 2/8
Wingspan: 71 5/8
Unfortunately, his combine numbers didn’t do him any favors. The biggest red flag was his 4.62 40-yard dash time. That put him 19th out of 28 running backs present, which is surprising when he ran in the 4.3 range at UW. When speed is your calling card and the numbers don’t back it up, it doesn’t help a fringe prospect like Ahmed.
Let’s start with the good. He is an electrifying athlete who really stands out in terms of how quick and light on his feet he can be - it’s like he’s gliding down the field. His lateral movement and agility in tight spaces is also really nice. He’s reliable catching swing passes out of the backfield and numerous times in college those receptions yielded chunk plays. He has truly remarkable swiftness and can hit the big plays when the lane is there. At least on film, he has elite quickness and acceleration.
Despite those excellent attributes, he suffers from a lack of decisiveness and sometimes won’t hit the hole hard when it is there. At times he failed to even hit the clear hole right in front of him, showing a poor feel for his blocking. He left too many plays on the field - which is saying something for a player with Ahmed’s highlights - and didn’t have the “plant your foot and go” mentality often enough.
Draft Projection: Late Round/UDFA
If Ahmed gets drafted, it will likely be in the 6th or 7th round. Multiple projections have him going un-drafted and signing as an UDFA. He could always be drafted way higher by a team that falls in love with the potential spark he could add to an offense, but as NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein notes, Ahmed “faces an uphill battle to make a team.” Here’s to hoping his light feet and athleticism get him over the top.