NFL Draft 2023 Scouting Report: RB Zach Charbonnet, UCLA

*Our RB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.

*We use the term "Power RB" to separate physically bigger, more between-the-tackles–capable RBs from our "Speed RBs" group. "Speed RBs" are physically smaller, but much faster/quicker, and less likely to flourish between the tackles.


If I had to sum up my scouting on Zach Charbonnet in a sentence it would be: Charbonnet is the Bijan Robinson everyone is looking for.

Bijan Robinson is EVERYONE'S #1 ranked/desired RB prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft class – except for us. He's thought to be that classic power runner with very good hands in the passing game -- the perfect storm RB for NFL head coaches -- the tough guy RB (like they thought Najee Harris would be but isn't). And I think Robinson is totally fine/solid…but not elite. In scouting his tape, I believe Bijan doesn't have high-end vision and running skills working the interior with his good-not-great speed/agility -- he too often stops in his tracks when things look congested and tries to kick runs to the outside…and it slows him down, plus he's not that kind of speed merchant, so he gets tackled for a minimal gain/loss more than he needs to.

Zach Charbonnet is a similar styled interior/between the tackles runner -- but where Bijan doesn't show a great/high-end penchant for reading holes and making yards out of bad situations (against top competition, I don't care what he does against the typical bottom quarter CFB defenses in the Big-12)…Charbonnet is supremely patient with great vision to find space to run through, whether making a few yards out of nothing or waiting for/finding the gap to pop through into the second level. Charbonnet is the superior runner between the tackles/the power run game compared to Robinson. Bijan isn't horrible at it…but Charbonnet is great at running the ball like a pro/NFL RB.

A Bijan v. Charbonnet comparison…

Charbonnet could come in 3-7 pounds heavier/thicker than Robinson at the Combine…but Robinson is trying to bulk up (from 215) to get to 220+, while Charbonnet is already 220+ (222 projected/listed).

Bijan is noted for his passing game work…60 career catches for 805 yards and 8 TDs. Charbonnet looks to me like a solid receiver as well with 75 career catches for 589 yards and no TDs. Edge to Bijan here.

Comparing the two RBs against top 40 defenses in their careers…


Robinson against top 40 CFB defenses in his career:

13-59-0 = v. Oklahoma State 2020 (#34 D) *As a freshman

12-113-0 = v. West Virginia 2020 (#21)

16-54-0 = v. Iowa State 2020 (#25)

20-103-1 = v. Louisiana 2021 (#11)

19-69-1 = v. Arkansas 2021 (#39)

21-135-2 = v. Oklahoma St. 2021 (#9)

17-43-1 = v. Baylor 2021 (#10)

18-90-0 = v. Iowa State 2021 (#21)

21-57-1 = v. Alabama 2022 (#9)

28-135-0 = v. Iowa State 2022 (#18)

30-209-1 = v. K-State 2022 (#19)


215 carries, 1,068 yards = 4.96 yards per carry (total of the 11 games above)



Charbonnet against top 40 CFB defenses in his career:

15-81-0 = v. Penn State 2019 (#8 D) *as a freshman for Michigan

15-74-2 = v. Notre Dame 2019 (#12)

13-84-0 = v. Alabama 2019 (#13)

21-89-0 = v. Arizona State 2021 (#22)

21-131-0 = v. Washington 2021 (#37)

11-65-1 = v. Utah 2021 (#35)

22-106-1 = v. Cal 2021 (#32)

13-78-0 = v. South Alabama 2022 (#26)

22-198-1 = v. Utah 2022 (#27)


153 carries, 906 yards = 5.92 yards per carry (total of the 9 games above)


You could interpret those rushing output numbers above anyway you'd like or throw them all out…but if you buy into any of it, then what this data points to is Charbonnet is the more efficient/effective runner of the two. I'd also argue that Texas had better offensive linemen over the years, but that could be debated. Texas gets better recruiting classes than UCLA…you'd have to figure. So in theory, Charbonnet was more efficient with lesser talent around him.

At a bare minimum, I hope you will consider Charbonnet in the Bijan range. If you do, then why is Bijan a top 10-20-30 projection…while Charbonnet is outside the top 50?

I think both will be fine for the NFL…with Charbonnet a bit better. My eyes tell me, and the data points to it too, that Charbonnet is just the better, more efficient power runner -- the style the NFL coaches love. Charbonnet is a great one-cut, downhill runner who runs tough and with nice balance and excellent patience/vision for reading holes. His hands are good+ in the passing game. He's going to be a quality pro…he's an NFL-styled/desired lead back runner.

Off the field, Charbonnet seems like a very content, personable, smart young man -- no character flaws detected. He was a 4-5 star recruit out of high school, he initially went to Michigan where he stole the main job as a freshman but then had it taken away his sophomore year, after a very nice freshman showing. He transferred to UCLA in 2021 and became a star/1st-team All-American.



Zach Charbonnet, Through the Lens of Our RB Scouting Algorithm:

 -- In 2022, Charbonnet posted a 7.0 yards per carry season…7th best in the NCAAs.

-- Charbonnet's YPC in his last two seasons: 6.3 ypc (Bijan 6.0 ypc).

 -- 100+ yards rushing in a game in eight of his 10 final season games…ten of his last 12 games played, as well. *Bijan hit 100+ nine of his last 10 games…and nine of his last 12 games.

 -- Three or more rushing TDs in a game six times in his career, including in his first real start for Michigan as a freshman. Bijan hit 3+ rushing TDs in a game three times.

 -- Catches per game the last two seasons: Charbonnet 2.77 per game, Bijan 2.05 per game.


2023 Measurables Projections:


9.5" hands, 31.5" arms

40-time: 4.5+

Three-cone: 7.0+



The Historical RB Prospects to Whom Zach Charbonnet Most Compares Within Our System:

I have thought Charbonnet was a Tyler Allgeier-alike all along, and I'm glad the computer models agree.

Charbonnet comps with 'no frills' between the tackle's runners…because it's the right comp. If he gets into a one-cut system, he's gonna thrive.


RB Score










Speed Metric

Agility Metric

Power Metric


























































S. Dakota St.









*A score of 8.50+ is where we see a stronger correlation of RBs going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL RB.

All of the RB ratings are based on a 0-10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.

Overall rating/score = A combination of several on-field performance measures, including refinement for strength of opponents faced, mixed with all the physical measurement metrics—then compared/rated historically within our database and formulas. More of a traditional three-down search—runner, blocker, and receiver.

*RB-Re score = New/testing starting in 2015. Our formula/rating that attempts to identify and quantify a prospect's receiving skills even deeper than in our original formulas. RB prospects can now make it/thrive in the NFL strictly based on their receiving skills—it is an individual attribute sought out for the NFL, and no longer dismissed or overlooked. Our rating combines a study of their receiving numbers in college in relation to their offense and opponents, as well as profiling size-speed-agility along with hand-size measurables, etc.

*RB-Ru score = New/testing starting in 2015. Our formula/rating that attempts to classify and quantify a RB prospect's ability strictly as a runner of the ball. Our rating combines a study of their rushing numbers in college in relation to their offense and strength of opponents, as well as profiling size-speed-agility along with various size measurables, etc.

Raw Speed Metric = A combination of several speed and size measurements from the NFL Combine, judged along with physical size profile, and then compared/rated historically within our database and scouting formulas. This is a rating strictly for RBs of a similar/bigger size profile.

Agility Metric = A combination of several speed and agility measurements from the NFL Combine, judged along with physical size profile, and then compared/rated historically within our database and scouting formulas. This is a rating strictly for RBs of a similar/bigger size profile.



2023 NFL Draft Outlook:

Charbonnet is tracking as a late 2nd-rounder…while Bijan is inexplicably 30+ spots ahead of him in consensus ranking. Worst case, they're the same guy. I think Charbonnet will end up the 2nd-4th RB off the board and he goes middle/late 2nd-round, about 20-30 spots behind Bijan.

If I were an NFL GM, I'd much rather have Charbonnet at 2nd-round money than Robinson at 1st-round money. I wouldn't take a running back top 100 in the draft unless they were undeniably elite. I would have gotten Pacheco-Allgeier day three last year, and they are both as good/better than Bijan-Charbonnet. Only an idiot GM would take Bijan (or any R from this class) in the 1st-round…but someone will.



NFL Outlook:  

Charbonnet should be drafted with the intention to start him quickly…you take a main carry, power RB in the 2nd-round to be your instant starter, typically. Charbonnet should be fine in the NFL for years…he'll produce higher output if he gets a great O-Line to let him work his hole-finding magic with.