Players to Watch: Late Round Dynasty Rookie Running Backs


Devin Singletary, Dexter Williams, Travis Homer, and Jordan Scarlett are rookie running backs that warrant consideration in late rounds of dynasty rookie drafts.


The value at the running back position in the 2019 NFL Draft is going to be in rounds five to seven. There aren’t a whole lot of true workhorse rookie running backs in this draft class, or backs that project to be elite talents in the NFL, but there are a host of running backs that could be contributors in a committee if they land in a spot that is favorable to their skill set.

Devin Singletary, Dexter Williams, Travis Homer, and Jordan Scarlett are four of those running backs.

Devin Singletary

Devin Singletary is the obvious outlier here. Many people had him as one of their top running backs in the entire draft class before he went out and bombed the combine. His measurables were terrible. He is an undersized back that is also unathletic. While there are still people that have him ranked among their top running backs in this class, most people have let him slide farther down their rankings.

The long speed shouldn’t be the concerning part about this athletic profile. He never looked like a burner on tape. He won more with suddenness and lateral agility. The concern is that he didn’t perform well in those athletic tests either.

At his size, his athletic profile is enough for me to drop him into the late round running back category in dynasty rookie drafts. There is a very good chance that he won’t fall to me anywhere, and I’m ok with that. History is stacked against him, and his tape was good, but not good enough to get excited about this physical and athletic combo.

If he does fall, there are still several reasons to consider him. He is sudden in his cuts and elusive in the open field. He isn’t necessarily explosive, but he has good anticipation and is deceptive as a runner allowing the suddenness of his cuts to do the work for him and make defenders miss completely.

His vision is good and his anticipation shows behind the line of scrimmage as well. He makes good decisions with his rush lanes and sets up second level defenders well.

Singletary had limited usage as a receiver, but he looked solid in his chances and his route running looked good.

Devin Singletary could be a nice change of pace or complimentary back if he lands in a system without a true RB2. His receiving ability should be a bonus and, while he won’t likely ever have a large workload, he could find a way to contribute if he lands in the right spot.

Dexter Williams

Unlike Devin Singletary, Dexter Williams has a solid athletic profile and weighed in at the combine at 212 pounds, not big, but solid for a running back. He isn’t a particularly exciting prospect but, similar to Mike Weber, he is a back that could produce if he lands in an ideal situation.

The staples of Williams’ game are his vision and patience. He has decent decision making and does a nice job of letting things develop in front of him. I don’t think that he is anywhere near elite in these areas, but above average is probably accurate. His anticipation at the line of scrimmage is good, and he does a nice job of identifying the proper lanes.

The problem with Dexter Williams is that he doesn’t really have a specific way that he wins. Some of the other backs that are higher up rankings are guys that can only win one way, and that is a flaw. Dexter Williams doesn’t really have any specific way to beat defenders.

He isn’t a great option out of the backfield. He isn’t elusive or shifty. He only has adequate contact balance. You’re not going to consistently beat NFL defenders with that profile. If you can’t win against defenders, you either are not going to see the field or you are going to be viewed as replaceable.

I think that Dexter Williams is replaceable.

Dexter Williams is a rookie running back that I will be avoiding in dynasty rookie drafts that happen before the NFL Draft. If he lands in a situation where he would be the RB2, then he becomes more interesting. In that case, I think I would prefer to pick him and wait for the first possible sell window rather than invest anything long term.

He is currently being drafted in deep rookie drafts only.

Travis Homer

Travis Homer is a back that I like more than Williams. He has a few more standout traits that I think make him more appealing to NFL teams that are looking for specific types of players rather than below average well-rounded ones. The first clear advantage that he has over the other backs in this group is his athleticism. His athletic profile is fantastic.

While his agility numbers are just average, his speed and explosion scores are excellent, and that is good to see for an undersized back.

Travis Homer doesn’t have elite agility or contact balance, but he is solid in both areas. He is a tough runner for his size and can break arm tackles. He has good leg drive and gets good forward momentum moving toward the line of scrimmage, which helps him fall forward for extra yards.

He isn’t incredibly elusive in the open field, but he has enough wiggle to help him minimize contact and retain his balance with his contact balance. His cuts are sharp and sudden, but he doesn’t create a lot of distance with them due to his lack of explosiveness.

Travis Homer is well rounded in the passing game. He is decent in pass protection, especially for his size, and catches the ball well away from his frame. If nothing else, Travis Homer should be able to contribute in this area at the next level.

The primary issue with Travis Homer’s game is, like Justice Hill, he lacks patience. He is too eager to get to the line of scrimmage and rarely lets his blocks set up in front of him. There is a fine line between being a patient runner and being a tentative one, but being overly aggressive can be just as detrimental. It is in Homer’s case.

If Travis Homer can ease back on the throttle and learn to be a little bit more patient, he would be a far more effective runner. He has good burst, so he should be able to get to and through the line of scrimmage quickly, lending his skill set to a more patient style of running.

I don’t like Travis Homer as much as Devin Singletary, but I think that his athleticism, receiving ability, and above average open field traits should make him fairly desirable among the rookie running backs that project to go on day three of the NFL Draft. I wouldn’t mind taking a shot on him in the late third round of dynasty rookie drafts.

Jordan Scarlett

There were a lot of people out there that liked Jordan Scarlett coming into the pre-draft process. Those people have mostly disappeared now, and it isn’t hard to tell why. Scarlett doesn’t have exceptional tape, his traits don’t look like they will translate particularly well, and his agility and explosion scores were atrocious.

Jordan Scarlett’s standout trait is his contact balance. He is a powerful runner that can keep his legs churning through contact better than most of this year’s rookie running backs and will bounce off or run through tacklers that don’t wrap up. His balance and power project him to a between the tackles runner that may offer short yardage capability.

The problem is that his balance and power is about all that he has.

Scarlett isn’t a capable receiver. He is just average in pass protection. While his long speed is impressive, he doesn’t have the agility or explosiveness to beat people outside or in space with his elusiveness, and his vision is below average. At 208 pounds, I’m not sure how that profile projects successfully to the NFL. It seems like he is going to be a back without a true role in an offense.

I’m not sure that it would be hard to find a better power compliment back than Jordan Scarlett at 208 pounds, and that is where he really excels. In my mind, Scarlett would be essentially replacable in any committee role that he manages to find.

I will take the same approach that I would be taking with Dexter Williams. I will be avoiding in pre-draft dynasty rookie drafts, and I will draft and flip if he manages to land somewhere where I think he can carve out a temporary role.

 

 


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