Dominick Bragalone is one of the most consistent running backs in college football. Over three seasons at Lehigh, he has put together an extremely impressive body of work that shows he belongs on the radar of all 32 NFL teams heading into the 2019 NFL Draft. however, much like South Dakota State University running back Zach Zenner, who went undrafted and proceeded to lead the NFL in rushing yards in the preseason as a rookie, so far Bragalone is flying under the radar. It's time for that to change, since Bragalone has shown that he has the talent to warrant an opportunity to play at the NFL level.
Bragalone has decent size for a running back at 5'11 and 228 pounds. As a freshman, he ran for 1008 yards on 179 carries with 7 touchdowns and 6 100+ yard games with an average of 5.6 yards per carry. He also caught 14 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown. As a sophomore, Bragalone ran for 1171 yards on 206 attempts with 14 touchdowns and 4 100+ yard games with an average of 5.7 yards per carry. He caught 10 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. As a junior, he ran for 1388 yards on 247 carries for 17 touchdowns and 7 100+ yard games with an average of 5.6 yards per carry. He also caught 13 passes for 224 yards and 4 touchdowns. Statistically, he has consistently made the most of his opportunities, and has been extremely productive. From a scouting perspective, it would be good to see him increase his yards per carry as a senior; this is an opportunity for him to showcase continued growth, and will be something to watch as he heads to the next level. Has he peaked? Will he plateau? Or will he continue to develop as a player? These questions are important, and his senior year will be telling. One thing that is notable is that he has showcased consistency as he has earned a larger share of touches each season. This shows that his talent and production are not the result of a small sample size; instead, he has the ability to be consistent as a lead back at the collegiate level. If this trend continues to the NFL, then he has the potential to be a steal in the draft.
On film, Bragalone has shown the tools necessary to make explosive plays against FCS competition; on some plays, he breaks 4 or 5 tackles in route to a huge play. There are games where he will be stifled by competition and only rack up 1 yard per carry or 3 yards per carry. However, these games have steadily declined since his freshman year and as a junior, he only had two games with fewer than 4 yards per carry. He is clearly showing growth on a game by game basis. Has good enough hands to stay in the game on passing downs. Some of his catches are the result of defensive miscues, but he makes the most of every opportunity that he is given. Showcases solid footwork and good hip positioning on runs, and has the ability to make defenders miss. A player at a top tier football program with his record would be in the discussion as a day 1 or day 2 prospect in the draft, but given the questions about the competition he has faced in college, he will likely be, at best, a day 3 pick.
Why is a player with Bragalone's talent and ability likely stuck with a day three ceiling in the draft? Scouts will criticize him because of his level of competition; he simply does not have film on record against top tier football programs in college. He is being knocked as a prospect because of his program. Yes, the competition will be much tougher in the NFL than it is at Lehigh, but throughout his collegiate career he has shown that he warrants a chance to compete. The Senior Bowl would be a perfect opportunity for Bragalone to showcase his talent as a running back and might just make the difference between being undrafted and being drafted. He is the type of player who would strongly benefit from this type of event, and I believe that NFL scouts would be extremely interested to see him perform in person against players from all levels of competition.
How do I project Bragalone's career as a player? Perhaps his best NFL comparison is Zach Zenner. Like Zenner, he plays for an FCS school and has been extremely productive; in fact, Bragalone led the FCS in rushing yards in 2017, and should continue to improve in 2018. This might put Bragalone on the radar in the draft as a late round pick, while Zenner went undrafted. Much like Zach Zenner, Bragalone is being pigeonholed as a potential fullback in the NFL by some analysts, although he has been extremely productive as a running back out of the backfield throughout his collegiate career. However, like Zenner, Bragalone flashes the tools and production to succeed as an every down back in the NFL if given the right opportunity. Zenner has faced limited opportunities in the NFL but has shined for the Lions when given a chance, leading the league in rushing yardage in the preseason as a rookie and recording 92 total yards and 2 touchdowns when given a chance to start against Dallas in December 2016. I think Bragalone has the tools to be a solid NFL player and make an impact in the league if a team is willing to give him the opportunity to win a role. He will likely be a later round pick or UDFA, so a team will not have to invest a high draft pick on him. In return for a small investment, they might just be getting a starting caliber player. He deserves to be on the radar, and should at the very least make an NFL roster and compete for touches early in his career. There is upside as well; Bragalone has the potential to do much more in an offensive system that uses his talents properly. If given an opportunity, he has the talent to potentially emerge as an every down starter in the NFL. He is an FCS player to watch in 2018 and in the 2019 NFL draft. --Mike B., Matt and Mike Sports. firstname.lastname@example.org
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