Colorado State had Kapri Bibbs for just one season, but it was a damn fine one. The running back logged 31 touchdowns in the books, putting him third on the list of running backs who scored more than 30 touchdowns in a season. (If you're curious who's ahead of him, it's some pretty good company - Barry Sanders and Montee Ball.) Despite such an impressive showing, Bibbs went undrafted before being picked up by the Denver Broncos. Jeremy Maus of the Mountain West Connection tells us why "King Bibbs" just might be in a Broncos uniform for real come September.
MHR - As a local boy, Kapri Bibbs was an easy favorite for Broncos Country once Bibbs signed as an undrafted free agent. Why should Broncos fans be excited about a running back who played at a school not too well-known for its football program but who ran for a school-record 1,741 yards and 31 TDs on 281 carries for a 6.2-yard average?
Jeremy - He has not take too many hits or had an abundance of carries in his career. He went to Snow Junior College for one year and amassed only 74 carriers and he wasn't even the starter for Colorado State until a few games in. So, his mileage, or lack there of, is a good sign that he is fresh and not worn down with a huge carry load in college.
While he played behind a great offensive line that allowed for him to get big holes, Bibbs was patient with finding a hole, and once he found it, he was good at making the most of it. He is smart at finding the best angle to elude defenders, but he is also not afraid to take a hit or make a good attempt at running over a linebacker. He also just had a knack at making big plays, and it showed with being just the fourth player ever to get 30 touchdowns at the FBS level.
MHR - And why should fans not be concerned that Bibbs had just six 100-yard games and he only caught eight passes and never more than one in a game - or should that be a red flag?
Jeremy - There should not be a concern for the lack of sub-100 yard games. He was not officially the starter until the fourth game. He started the season as the third-string and early injuries pushed him up the depth chart. The Alabama game with 13 yards is a concern, but Colorado State was forced to pass a lot so the chances were slim. Once he was the starter, he did very well. The Boise State and Utah State games were not the best, but both of those teams have very good defenses and shut him down. The Air Force and San Jose State games were just some bad games, and he should have been able to put up more yards, but he averaged five and six yards per carry in those games, so the average run was still at a high quality.
As for the passing game, Bibbs was just not asked to do that and the opportunities were slim. I am not entirely sure if that is because he can't catch since the Colorado State scheme did not ask too much of the running backs to catch the ball.
MHR - Bibbs is obviously talented and is seemingly pro football material, but do you agree with his decision to come out for the draft after only two seasons of college football? And what could he have gained from another year or two in college ball that could end up being a disadvantage for his pro career?
Jeremy - Part of the reason he came out early is because Colorado State's offensive line is completely rebuilding in 2014 - their center Weston Richburg was drafted by the New York Giants and there is just one returning starter. His stats likely would have taken a huge hit and made his first year at Colorado State seem like a huge fluke. This was the right time for him to test the NFL even though he was not drafted. Doing what he did with more than 30 touchdowns and 1,700 yards would have not been able to be duplicated in 2014, so he would have gone undrafted had he stayed.
MHR - Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase mentioned that while Montee Ball has the first running back spot, the second one is wide open. What do you think of Bibbs' chances not only to make the team but to fill that second spot on the roster?
Jeremy - I felt Denver was a great spot for Bibbs to fall due to the lack of experienced running back depth at the Broncos. The backup role seems a bit much come September, but he could easily be the third back to start the season and then maybe move up to a co-backup once mid-season comes around.
MHR - Montee Ball said he's approaching the season like he's fighting for the No. 1 spot, "which will make the offense better, which will make the team better, and make the running backs behind me better." How do you think Bibbs will both respond to that approach from Ball and also learn from it?
Jeremy - Bibbs started Colorado State as the third running back, so he is familiar with competition. He did move up due to injury but he was going to get about five carries a game had he stayed as the third back. He will respond fine because he has nothing guaranteed given to him as an undrafted free agent. Plus, out of high school he had a detour to go to a JUCO due to grades and was determined to keep his commitment and make it to Colorado State, so he will be determined and hungry to make the roster and then build up from there.
MHR - One local sportswriter said before the draft in a scouting report that Bibbs was a "patient runner...who could find small creases" to run through, who didn't hesitate when running but always runs "north and south." What would you say about that assessment? As a running back, what do you think Bibbs' greatest strengths and weaknesses are?
Jeremy - That assessment is spot on. Bibbs had the offensive line to be patient since it was very good. Patience is one of his best assets and he does not just run the play because that is the play. He waits for something to develop and can change if he see's something on the field.
His strengths are that patience, and he has some speed to go downfield. He is not a huge back at just under 6-feet and a hair of 200 pounds, but that is not too much of a disadvantage. He is just not going to be this huge bruiser at the next level.
MHR - As a potential teammate, what can Bibbs bring to the Denver locker room?
Jeremy - My impression is that he's a guy who lets his work ethic and play on the field speak for what type of player he will be.
MHR - Fun Fact about Bibbs?
Jeremy - He holds the Illinois high school record for most yards in a game with 520.
520 ... yards???
Jeremy - And 7 touchdowns.