Before the start of Missouri's season, many people were questioning whether or not senior running back Tyler Badie would be able to take on the responsibilities left behind by Larry Rountree of being the lead back who could take a bulk of the carries.
Badie only had 48 attempts in 2020 for 242 yards and though he has always been a factor catching the ball out of the backfield as he also had 28 catches for 333 yards last season, the main concern surrounding Badie was if he could break through as a consistent rusher.
Well, through three games in 2021 Badies has completely silenced those who doubted his ability to be a bell cow back.
Badie currently leads all of FBS in yards from scrimmage with 48 rushing attempts for 345 yards rushing and 15 receptions for another 142 yards. That's 487 yards from scrimmage. To put that into perspective, Tyler Badie's career high in scrimmage yards in a season was in 2019 where he had 813 yards. He's already on pace to shatter that in just the first few games.
While many may not be surprised by Badie's stellar beginning to the season, I don't know how may people expected him to be just as good as he's been to this point.
Looking back at Larry Rountree's career, he accumulated over 4,000 yards from scrimmage and 40 TD's and was able to turn that into a roster spot on the Los Angeles Chargers of the NFL as a late round pick. However, Tyler Badie is more of a modern NFL running back than Rountree and for that reason, there's no reason Tyler Badie shouldn't be a top-100 pick.
Even though Badie probably won't have the career numbers of Rountree in the Mizzou record books, Badie's usage to this point will actually bode better for his NFL stock going forward because one thing Badie will have going for him is fresh legs. He won't have a lot of miles on him going into the league.
Badie differs from Rountree because yes, he's not as big. Badie is only 5'8", 195 lbs, but he has game breaking speed to go with his athleticism and is a much more versatile player than Rountree in the passing game.
Not to mention Badie is also just under 100 yards away from being the first running back in Mizzou history to have over 1,000 yards receiving.
Rountree could catch when needed to but he wasn't asked to do it often. Badie has been lethal for the Tigers as a route runner out of the backfield and in the slot and he is one of those special players that the defense has to account for every play he's on the field. He warrants that extra attention.
Badie might not run you over but he will run past you if you're not ready and he has underrated ability to make defenders miss on their tackles.
Badie's best trait, though, is his intangibles. One of which being his clutch gene. It's something not many players have and it's not a trait you can say a lot of running backs have, but they call him "bailout Badie" for a reason.
Every time Mizzou needs a score Badie seems to be there to deliver. How about the Arkansas game last year when Mizzou was down 14 late in the game and Badie exploded for a 40+ yard receiving touchdown with an additional 4th quarter touchdown? Or just last week when Badie had a 16-yard TD catch and run to tie the game against Kentucky?
NFL teams will notice that ability and value that when deciding whether or not to take Badie as every team can use a go-to guy that is a consistent threat to score.
You can make an argument Badie is underappreciated and it is somewhat disappointing that he didn't get the opportunity to produce earlier in his career, but NFL teams will find good players and luckily for Tyler Badie, he has all the tools to become a complimentary back at the next level and adapt to modern-day offenses that are continuing to ask their running backs to catch the ball more than ever.