Home » NFL Rookies » Khalil Herbert 2021 NFL Draft profile: Fantasy Football outlook, pro day stats, 40-yard dash, scouting report

Khalil Herbert 2021 NFL Draft profile: Fantasy Football outlook, pro day stats, 40-yard dash, scouting report

Khalil Herbert is a bit of a late-blooming running back prospect whose breakout didn’t come until the 2020 season after transferring from Kansas (where he first arrived in 2016) to Virginia Tech. But don’t let his age, diminutive size (which actually works his favor, but more on that later) or late breakout lead you astray, Herbert can ball and in my mind, he’s the most underrated prospect at his position in the entire class.

Herbert is used to being underrated and unheralded. He never topped 1,000 rushing yards in any season out of American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla., so he entered CFB as a three-star RB recruit (247Sports). In fact, Kansas was his only Power Five offer. While Herbert showed some signs at Kansas, his breakout came at Virginia Tech once he got into the right system and environment. Some may view that negatively, but I take the opposite approach, leaning instead on his untapped upside.

We’re breaking down everything you need to know about Herbert from a Fantasy manager perspective, including best fits, Dynasty outlook, measurables, scouting report, key stats and an NFL comparison.

Fantasy fits

San Francisco 49ers

I really like Herbert as a one-cut-and-go runner, so that naturally makes him a near-perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan’s system in San Francisco. In addition to joining a system that fits his skill set, Herbert would be joining a plus offensive line with a tried-and-true run blocking scheme from an effectiveness standpoint. And while the 49ers did extend Raheem Mostert last offseason, they like to rotate RBs.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Although he at one point looked like a likely long-term fixture in Pittsburgh, James Conner remains unsigned and unlikely to return to the Steelers. If Herbert joins this backfield, his main competition will be Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland. Herbert’s patience, quick and choppy footwork and vision are somewhat reminiscent of Le’Veon Bell, and this would make him a nice system fit as well.

Dynasty outlook

Herbert’s age, late breakout in college and size will all be used against him in the Dynasty community. I get it — it’s the nature of the game, and generally speaking, prospects who have those factors working against them have to be outliers to succeed. But let’s not leave out the fact that Herbert has legit mid-4.4s speed and game speed that allows him to break away easily on film. You’ll likely be able to grab Herbert at the back end of your rookie drafts overall, and he’s a prospect I’ll be looking to acquire in every rookie draft.

Scouting report


  • Runs incredibly low to the ground and has a great center of gravity, making him extremely difficult to tackle in the open field.
  • Herbert has a thick lower body and derives a lot of strength from his lower half.
  • Contact balance is one of the most important traits for any RB, and Herbert demonstrates a borderline-elite ability to stay balanced on contact.
  • Herbert is more than just timed speed fast — he consistently breaks long runs and has breakaway game speed.
  • A broken tackle machine who creates yards after contact with ease. 
  • Displays excellent patience and vision as a runner while also maintaining plus burst.
  • Although he’s being billed as a one-year wonder, he found his stride in 2019 with Kansas before transferring (over a small four-game sample size).
  • Offers immediate upside on special teams as a returner.
  • Light on his feet, and this is most noticeable in his cuts in space.
  • Impressive ability to stop-and-start once he gets rolling.
  • Demonstrates the traits and toughness necessary to hold up in pass protection.


  • Herbert will enter the NFL as an older prospect for the position and in general (fifth-year senior).
  • Not much production or experience as a receiver — just 34 receptions in 46 career collegiate games. 
  • It’s not clear why he ended up transferring from Kansas midseason in 2019.
  • Although he has the traits to become a serviceable back in pass protection, there are times on film where he looked disinterested and unaware of where to be in pass pro.

Stats breakdown

G Att RuYds Avg TD Rec ReYds Avg TD
2020 11 155 1183 7.6 14 10 179 17.9 1
2020 v top 25 2 29 145 5.0 1 2 8 4.0 0
2019 v top 25 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Career 46 475 2918 6.1 22 34 297 8.7 1

Advanced stats to know

(all from 2020)

  • 19 carries of 15-plus yards — sixth-most in the nation
  • 782 yards after contact — eighth-most in the nation
  • 42 missed tackles forced — 14th-most in the nation

NFL comparison

When I watch Herbert, who earned the nickname “Juice,” and it’s not hard to see why, I see shades of former Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew. He’s not quite as powerful in the lower half as MJD was, and he’s not quite as fast, but he has similar traits to the ones that made Jones-Drew such a special back in the NFL for a short period. 


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