This is a weak rookie running back class. Most of us can agree on that. Here is why I don’t like whoever you have at RB2.
I like Josh Jacobs. You can hate his production. You can hate his pro day. You can hate whatever you want to hate, but I really like Josh Jacobs, and if you want to let him fall to me in the middle of the first round of rookie drafts, I will be thrilled about it. He is the best rookie running back in this class.
As for the rest of the 2019 running back class, it is flawed, to say the least. Every single running back behind Josh Jacobs has reasons for me to be concerned about their long term dynasty value. I don’t actually hate these backs, but I think that most of them are far over-drafted in dynasty. If you get sick of the negativity, here is a link to my article that explains the things there are to like about these running backs.
Let’s start with this. The 2020 rookie running back class is going to be good. Even if some of the projected prospects return to school, the 2020 rookie running back class is going to blow the 2019 class away. Any of the running backs that are borderline relevant in their rookie year will be blasted into obscurity when the new class comes in and wipes them out of the starting line up.
This is something that is going to happen to many of the running backs that we have tricked ourselves into loving to fill the void of running back talent in this disappointing 2019 rookie running back class. If you manage to stumble into a semi-productive running back in this class. Trade them before it is too late.
Admittedly, I actually really like Miles Sanders. Unfortunately, his price is being driven up by the lack of talent in this class and the lack of workhorse backs at the NFL level. Mostly, I hate his price, not his game.
Miles Sanders has ball security issues. That can cause problems for some teams. Some teams will bench running backs with fumbling issues. We saw it with Ameer Abdullah in his rookie season, and we’ve seen it with countless other players over the years.
Some teams handle ball security issues differently than others, but it is definitely something that could hurt his ability to maintain a large role at the NFL level.
Miles Sanders is not good in pass protection. It’s hard to watch sometimes. He’s got to get this figured out if he has any hope of becoming a three-down back in the NFL. Between his poor pass protection and his ball security issues, there has to be at least some concern that he will have trouble maintaining the trust of his coaching staff.
Though he got better in this past season, he still bounces too many runs to the outside. This is one of the most frustrating things for me to see when watching a running back. Saquon Barkley could get away with it. Whoever told Miles Sanders that he is Saquon Barkley has done him a massive disservice.
What is the NFL going to do with a running back that is out there fumbling and getting his quarterback killed, all while doing a Saquon Barkley impression?
David Montgomery is unathletic. He tested poorly pretty much across the board, with the exception of his broad jump. You don’t have to be a burner to be a successful running back in the NFL, but having some semblance of athleticism usually helps.
Despite being a generally slow running back that wins with power and contact balance, he inexplicably has the urge to bounce his runs outside rather than run between the tackles. He doesn’t have the speed to get the corner, and these outside-bounces very rarely end up yielding positive results.
He can win with power and contact balance, but he doesn’t have the lateral agility or moves to really make people miss in open-field, something that plagues the vast majority of this running back class. If you can only win one way in the NFL, you’re usually replaceable.
The number of times he runs into his own blockers is disappointing, to say the least. His vision seems fine most of the time, so I’m not quite sure what the issue is here, but it IS an issue.
What is the NFL going to do with a slow running back that doesn’t make people miss and runs into the back of his own linemen with alarming frequency?
He’s nobody’s RB2. I just wanted to remind everyone that he ran a 4.78 at the combine. That is all.
Trayveon Williams catches passes. We know that. He can pass protect. Great. So he can be a third down back. What else can he do? Let’s take a look.
This seems to be a running theme with this running back class, but Trayveon Williams bounces his runs outside too often. I don’t know why this class is littered with running backs that don’t like gaining positive yardage, but it seems to be the case.
His vision is just ok. It’s not a strength of his game.
His contact balance is good but, as is the case with a lot of the smaller backs in this class, he doesn’t make people miss in the open field. So he’s supposed to excel as a pass catcher, but he isn’t electric in space. Is he a possession receiving running back? Is that a thing that exists?
Am I allowed to comp a running back to Laquon Treadwell?
Everyone seems to be loving Darrell Henderson lately. He’s fast. He’s explosive. I get it. It stands out among a group of super unathletic rookie running backs. I understand why people want to get excited about him. His yards per carry in college were off the charts. It’s all very exciting stuff. He’s got good contact balance and nice body control through the line of scrimmage.
That all sounds very appealing.
Here’s the thing. Like many other backs in this class, he doesn’t make people miss in the open field. He is slippery and bounces off tacklers, but he doesn’t make people miss. He runs in these big looping arcs in open field, winning with his speed.
As a speedy back at 208 pounds, you’d like to see him show the ability to make people miss or throw out a juke every once in a while, anything. How is a 208-pound runner that wins primarily with his balance through contact going to translate to the NFL?
Better question: How is a 208-pound runner that wins primarily with his balance through contact and is also an upright runner going to translate to the NFL?
I don’t know.
Also, he’s bad in pass protection.
He ran a 4.84 at his pro day. He also lost nine inches off his vertical from the combine to his pro day. How?
I’m not even going to pretend to dislike Rodney Anderson’s tape. It’s good. Undeniably good. He can’t stay healthy, and it is an absolute shame. He would have made this rookie running back class a respectable group. He still may, but it is tough to put faith in his health, and I would feel pretty shaky spending a dynasty rookie pick on him in the first round, which is where the RB2 is typically going.
What To Do In Dynasty
I think a lot of these guys are talented running backs. A couple of them will undoubtedly find a way to contribute at the NFL level. I’m not trying to say that none of these guys are going succeed. I’d be surprised if a couple of them didn’t. All of them have flaws in their game, and that keeps there from being a consensus RB2 in this 2019 dynasty rookie running back class.
You’re going to have to pay to take the second running back off the board in your dynasty rookie drafts. I think it is far better to wait, don’t overpay for a running back in this class. Take one of these guys a little later in the draft. They are talented, but they aren’t perfect prospects. No one can decide who is going to succeed and who is going to fail.
Just take the ones that come cheapest to you in your dynasty rookie drafts.