The Michigan Panthers season was definitely disappointing in some regards during the 2022 USFL season, however, one of their bright spots Reggie Corbin gave fans hope week in and week out that they had a competitive chance each game. Corbin despite all his success throughout the USFL, unfortunately Corbin had limited NFL interest post the USFL season.
Reggie Corbin needs to take a step back if he wants to be an NFL player and that isn’t a slight on him whatsoever. The All-USFL running back was well on his way to being the leading rusher in the USFL, however a few injuries left him not at 100% for the rest of the season. Despite all of that Corbin displayed the abilities of a top a tier running back, but is that enough?
What it really comes down to is what do NFL teams need. When looking at Corbin do they need him to be an All-USFL back? Probably not. During training camp five running backs were signed to NFL rosters. Two were Corbin’s back-ups, BJ Emmons was a platoon back/3rd rushing option, Dexter Williams was a late signing who had service time with the Packers, and Matt Colburn was the only legitimate number one running back however, he also had the most film due to his time with the Rams, Guardians, Blues, Argos, and Stars. So what did these guys have that Corbin didn’t?
Well, it probably is a simple as this, Special teams. Because Corbin was a “star” in the USFL, he really only returned kicks for the Panthers, thus possibly leaving NFL coaches wanting more. Now Corbin was a pretty decent kick returner putting up 297 yards against 22 returns but that was really it. He wasn’t much of a threat out of the backfield catching 6 passes and recorded 1 tackle that wasn’t on special teams. Compare that to Stevie Scott who had 4 and Cameron Scarlett who had 6, both of whom were used on kick-off, and as a personal protector.
It’s awkward situation, Corbin may be an RB2 in the NFL. He may be able to carry the ball 4-8 times a game for about 3.5 yards, but NFL running backs are asked to do so much more. Former AAF legend, D’Ernest Johnson who is now known for having a breakout game for the Browns in 2021, is now a special teams guy playing almost 20 snaps a game on the Kickoff, Punt, and other facets of the kicking game. For Corbin the transition of being able to be a third down back, catching more passes, in addition to running down and covering kicks is probably what he should be focused on in 2023.
Moving forward I’m curious to see if Corbin changes his role in USFL season 2. Does go all in as an RB1 and try to simply blow the NFL scouting departments away? Or does he become a master of none, jack of all trades in an effort to show his versatility. Either way Corbin is definitely an asset, for whatever league or team he joins. Hopefully, for those who support Corbin we get a double dose of him in 2023, not only in the spring but also in the fall.
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