NFL Combine Running Backs Recap | 2018 Fantasy Football

by Nick Ercolano March 08, 2018

NFL Combine Running Backs Recap | 2018 Fantasy Football

Most of my combine, pre-draft and post-draft rookie analysis is going to center around running backs. First reason being is because this year's RB class is ridiculously deep. Second being, the amount of rookie running backs that affect the fantasy football world far outnumber the rookie WRs, QBs and TEs. For instance, with WRs, over the previous 3 seasons, Amari Cooper is the only rookie wide receiver to surpass 800 receiving yards. None of them have an 8 TD szn. For QBs, over the last 10 years, only 4 (not including Deshaun Watson) have had top-10 fantasy seasons as a rookie - Dak (QB6) in 2016, RGIII (QB5) and Andrew Luck (QB8) in 2012, and Cam (QB3) in 2011. The easy thing to dissect is their rushing statistics. Every one of these QBs had a minimum 255 rushing yards AND 5 rushing touchdowns during their rookie year. On average, they rushed for 520 yards and scored 8 scores... So, don't even look at a rookie QB unless they have rushing upside... (I.E. Lamar Jackson - I actually love him as a fantasy sleeper if he's a starter somewhere in 2018). The same story for TEs, it's nearly impossible to predict who will produce based on the rarity of it happening. David Njoku or O.J. Howard were just as talented and likely to breakout last yeas as Engram was.. but that just wasn't how it worked out...

You can check out the YouTube video of this article here!

Saquon Barkley - Penn State

Saquon Barkley NFL Combine Results 2018

  • Absolutely destroyed the combine.
  • "Best RB prospect they've seen in 25 years" (Peter King, Sean Payton, etc.).
  • Firmly in the mix as the #1 pick. 
  • Would be surprised if CLE didn't go QB, but he won't fall past them at 4 if they get another chance.
  • Projected Draft Spot: Top-5

Here are Saquon Barkley's highlights from the 2018 NFL Combine:

Nick Chubb - Georgia

Nick Chubb Georgia NFL Combine Results 2018

  • 98th percentile SPARQ score.
  • Killed strength, jumping and very good speed for his size.
  • Great production in college too; ran for 2,475 yards in 2016 & 2017 (5.5 ypc) and scored 23 rushing touchdowns. He had a ridiculous freshman year back in 2014 where he racked up 1,760 total yards and 16 touchdowns.
  • Very athletic, good speed, size, vision, etc.
  • Will probably shoot up draft boards because of these measurables, but I'll still take his teammate Sony Michel as a prospect over him.
  • Projected Draft Spot: Round 2-3

Sony Michel - Georgia

Sony Michel Georgia NFL Combine Results 2018

  • Shared the backfield with Nick Chubb from freshman through senior year (2014-2017) at Georgia, but took over during sophomore campaign when Chubb was sidelined.
  • Wasn't an amazing combine, but didn't hurt him.
  • Some comparisons to Kamara but Michel runs more angrily in my opinion, not that similar, just same size and 40-yard dash time (Kamara - 4.56).
  • 1,227 yards and 15 scores on just 156 carries (7.9 ypc - #1 in SEC) in 2017.
  • Very highly rated on Graham Barfield's yards created column.
  • Projected Draft Spot: Round 1-2

Derrius Guice - LSU

Derrius Guice LSU NFL Combine Results 2018

  • Easily my 2nd favorite RB prospect behind Barkgawd.
  • Tons of comparisons to Beast Mode. He says he styles his game after Lynch too when asked at the combine.
  • At 5-11, 215lbs Lynch ran a 4.46 forty-yard dash (81st percentile weight-adjusted speed) in 2007. Guice just ran a 4.49 forty-yard dash (83rd percentile) at 5-11, 224lbs.
  • Miami loves him apparently. They have the 11th pick. Detroit has the 20th and is also probably looking for an RB.
  • Projected Draft Spot: Round 1-2

Derrius Guice's highlights from the 2018 NFL Combine:

Mark Walton - U of Miami

Mark Walton Miami NFL Combine Results 2018

  • Had season-ending ankle surgery in October, also lost his mother last szn.
  • Has met with Eagles and Giants.
  • He's small, and not great straight-line speed - a lot of comparisons to James White - if he lands somewhere that has a big pass-catching role available, he could pay some dividends in fantasy.
  • Best case scenario you get a guy like Dion Lewis - who is small, can do everything James White can do but is a much better runner.
  • Projected Draft Spot: Round 4-6

Bo Scarborough - Alabama

Bo Scarbrough Alabama NFL Combine Results 2018

  • Underwhelming career at Alabama. Never ran for more than 815 yards and ran for less than 5.0 ypc in 2017.
  • Great combine though should shoot him up draft boards. 
  • Projected Draft Spot: Round 4-5

Bo Scarbrough running an unofficial 4.52 40-yard dash at the 2018 NFL Combine:

Bo Scarbrough setting a running back record 11'4" broad jump:

Rashaad Penny - San Diego State

Rashaad Penny San Diego State NFL Combine Results 2018

  • Led nation with 2,248 rushing yards in 2017. 5th in Heisman voting, 1st team All-American.
  • Good speed-size combo, good vision, quickness, etc. Led the country in broken tackles (80) in 2017 per PFF. Also, had a good senior bowl which will help his draft stock.
  • I'm lower on Penny then most people probably are. Not great pass-blocker or pass-catcher. Idk, when I watch him run I really don't see anything great or exceptional.
  • Projected Draft Spot: Round 2-3

 

Kalen Ballage - Arizona State

Kalen Ballage Arizona State NFL Combine Results 2018

  • Stupid athlete and build.
  • Almost identical to how you would see Latavius Murray as a prospect. Built like a freak, tests well but lacks vision, wiggle, burst outside.

Kalen Ballage Arizona State ripped

  • I'm out on him as a fantasy factor, unless he goes somewhere that desperately needs a volume back.
  • He does have good receiving skills, and you just never know. The tangibles are there, but he just doesn't look like a very good running back to me.
  • Projected Draft Spot: Round 3-4

Kerryon Johnson - Auburn

Kerryon Johnson Auburn NFL Combine Results 2018

  • Opted not to run the 40 - will wait for pro day.
  • Both jumps were among the best for running backs.
  • One of those guys like Arian Foster, who will win with intangibles like one-cut ability, gliding, vision.
  • Didn't drop a pass in 2017. Can move well with the ball in his hands but he lacks power, goes down quickly on first contact and lacks breakaway speed.
  • Projected Draft Spot: Round 2-3

John Kelly - Tennessee

John Kelly Tennessee NFL Combine Results 2018

  • Chose not to run 40 until Pro Day.
  • Is a sleeper favorite among draft community.
  • Has great balance after contact, good wiggle, athleticism and can catch the ball well.
  • Wasn't very productive in college, but ran behind Alvin Kamara in 2016. Became the starter in 2017 and racked up 1,000 total yards and 9 touchdowns.
  • Projected Draft Spot: Round 2-3

Ronald Jones - USC

Ronal Jones USC NFL Combine Results 2018

  • Had a hammy injury weeks leading up to the combine, decided to push it and re-injured it during the 40, running a 4.65 - normally very fast straight-line speed.
  • Needed to show scouts his pass-catching ability to be considered a top running back given his lack of size.
  • Has Pro Day on March 21st so.
  • Highest graded PFF RB in college in 2017.
  • Projected Draft Spot: Round 4-5



Nick Ercolano
Nick Ercolano

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