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ASU running back Kalen Ballage goes No. 131 to the Dolphins in NFL Draft

The Miami Dolphins selected Arizona State running back Kalen Ballage with the No. 131 overall pick (4th round) in the 2018 NFL Draft on Saturday.

The 6-foot-2, 228 pound Ballage rushed for 669 yards on a 4.3 yards-per-carry average as a senior in 2017, scoring six touchdowns for the Sun Devils.

The year prior was his most productive season in college. He recorded 536 yards on the ground and 14 touchdowns thanks to an eight-score game against Texas Tech. Ballage was also utilized as a receiver in 2016, where he caught 44 passes for 469 yards and another touchdown.

Ballage even had a brief stint as an edge rusher in his career for ASU.

Much of the running back’s production was limited with Ballage playing alongside Demario Richard in each of his college seasons — Richard twice eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark.

Questions lingered about Ballage’s lack of numbers throughout college, and he attempted to limit those concerns with a strong Senior Bowl performance. There, Ballage flashed a physicality that’d been missing from his college career and showed promise as a potential pass-catching back.

“He elevated (his stock) but he also has gotten people scurrying back to the tape and scratching their heads,” NFL Network’s Charles Davis said of Ballage in January on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta show. “He looks like a three-down back. In his college career, he’s played like a third-down back. That’s the issue with me.

“When you turn on the tape, my big concern with him is at his size, at his weight and build, why didn’t he break more tackles? Why didn’t he run through trash better inside? Why did everything have to be clean before you got a big run out of him?”


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