|2009 Rookie Running Back Rankings, Post Draft:|
|Written by Jeff Hoffman, Editor|
|Wednesday, 06 May 2009 03:48|
1. Knowshown Moreno, Denver: While I think the Broncos reached for Moreno with their pick, he becomes the top running back prospect of a very average draft class. The upside is that he is a complete back with great vision, moves in the pocket and solid speed. He also likes to deliver the hit which makes him a solid between the tackles, goal line back. The downside is that the Broncos have more backs then they can shake a stick at on the roster. My guess would be that Moreno and Buckhualter will split most of the carries for this year, and then Moreno should be the primary running back in 2010.
2. Chris Wells, Cardinals: Wells should be a popular rookie choice, especially in Big-10 country. On paper he has an easier route to being the primary back, but a bad history of durability issues drops him down to number two on my list. Wells is a great combination of speed and power, but has a tendency to run too hard and get nicked up. Think of Eddie George with more speed but much less durability.
Many fantasy owners assume he is a lock to be the starter this year, but I have feeling this will be a clear RBBC between him and Hightower. Hightower has ten TD’s last year and the biggest knock on him was a need to be more explosive. Hightower has worked hard in the offseason and dropped over 20 pounds to get more burst, and is not going to just hand over the starting job. This combined with the fact that wells has not made it thru a college season (not to mention an NFL season) without injury, makes me feel the carries will be about 50/50 by the end of the season.
3. Shonn Greene, Jets: Most people would have him lower on this list, but Greene really fits the goal the Jets have of making this a tuff run team. Greene is a solid between the tackles move the chain back that fits what Coach Ryan wants to do with this squad. Add this to the fact that Thomas Jones is getting old, and making waves about his contract, and Greene might be the starter by mid-season. He and Leon Washington should be a great RBBC combo by 2010, for now, I would expect the split to be Thomas (50%) Greene (30%), Washington (20%) on the ground. If Thomas is making problems over his contract in camp, Greene could just take the starting job, watch this carefully.
4. Donald Brown, Colts: This is much lower then most experts for Brown but follow my logic. The same experts that felt Addai was a top five dynasty back a year ago are now writing him off after one bad year. This is a mistake. Addai should be 100% healthy in 2009, knows the system and is a trusted back for Manning on the field. As a result, I think Brown will take the change of pace/goal line back for the Colts. He is a solid back, who now has to learn a complex offense and prove he can be trusted to protect Peyton Manning on the field from those blitzing backers. Until he proves he can replace Addai on the field in games, he is going to be the number two back. I expect Addai to get 70% of the carriers, with Brown getting about 30% with a high percentage of touches of first and second down on the goal line.
5. LeSean McCoy, Eagles: McCoy is a Westbook clone with a little more between the tackles ability, but with less open field speed. As a result, he is the perfect back-up, with the ability to help move the chains on short yardage. The good news is if Westbook gets hurt, McCoy can jump in and run the same offensive sets. The bad news is if Westbook is healthy, McCoy might not get much in the way of touches his first year or two. After that, he has a high potential to develop into an elite back given the talent around him on offense. Don’t dismiss the signing of Leonard Weaver, who I expect to get most of the work in short yardage, and goal line. He is an excellent between the tackles back, with the ability to make plays as a receiver. For 2009, I would expect s split of Westbrook (60%), Weaver (25%), and McCoy (15%). If there is an injury to Westbrook in early the upside is that McCoy could easily be the rookie of the year. Any Westbook owner has to get him, even if the cost in a trade is high
6. Glen Coffee, San Francisco: Coffee is in a great spot. He has little competition ahead of him on the team besides starter Frank Gore. As a result I expect him to be the #2 back at the start of the season (making him the handcuff for you Gore owners), and he should get 25% of the carries even if Gore is healthy, and might get some time at the goal line. Long-term Gore is getting up there in age, and Coffee just might be the future starter in a few years if he is productive as a back-up.
7. Rashard Jennings, Jaguars: Let me give you fair warning that having this high in my list will lead some of you to say WHAT??? If you’re looking to play it safe, cross him out and move down the list but if you’re looking to take a big swing with a late pick read on. Jennings has a great combination of size, burst in the hole, and the ability to catch out of the back field. He started at Pitt, but transferred to Liberty to be close to his ill father (big character point there). Productive in his one year of playing at Pitt, then dominated at Liberty.
The Jaguars have very little at running back on the roster, and are now counting on MJD to carry the full load for the first time in his pro career. Looking at what the Jaguars have on their roster, Jennings is the second most talented back on the roster right now, unless they add a free agent. This means he has the potential to step in and start if he plays well and MJD is hurt. This is a late round pick that could be a steal for you. MJD owners need to have him, but even if you don’t have MJD on your squad his upside is very high.
8. Andre Brown, Giants: Brown has good size and overall ability with high marks for open field vision and the ability to catch and more importantly block. As a result, he could develop into a third down back with the upside to be an every-down back. The problem is he has three very talented backs ahead of him. He will need to have to produce on special teams to make the squad, but if cut there are probably a number of teams that would pick him up.
After Brown, the prospects get very thin in an average draft class at the position. The rest of the class could become solid depth players, but will probably be out of the league in a year or two. Here are my rankings for the rest of the class, but these are all pretty much equal
9. James Davis, Browns
10. Cedric Peerman, Ravens
11. Javon Ringer, Titans
12. Gartell Johnson, Chargers
13. Bernard Scott, Bengals
14. Arian Foster, Texans
15. Mike Goodson, Panthers.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 May 2009 05:29|