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Your pre-draft rookie RB rankings


zadok

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What are yours? Here are mine.

* = value as a returner

Lattimore is assuming he returns to full health.

1. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
2. Eddie Lacy, Alabama
3. Christine Michael, Texas A&M
4. Andre Ellington, Clemson
5. Montee Ball, Wisconsin
6. Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
7. *Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
8. Knile Davis, Arkansas
9. Le’Veon Bell, Michigan St
10. Stefphon Jefferson, Nevada
11. *Kerwynn Williams, Utah St.
12. Joseph Randle, Oklahoma St.
13. Stepfan Taylor, Stanford
14. *Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt
15. Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
16. *Ray Graham, Pittsburgh
17. *Kenjon Barner, Oregon
18. Jawan Jamison, Rutgers
19. Cierre Wood, Notre Dame
20. Mike Gillislee, Florida
21. Miguel Maysonet, Stony Brook
22. Theo Riddick, Notre Dame
23. *Michael Ford, L.S.U.
24. Robbie Rouse, Fresno St.
25. Montel Harris, Temple
26. *Onterio McCalebb, Auburn
27. Latavuis Murray, Central Fla.
28. *Dennis Johnson, Arkansas
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wow, hard to picture Gio that low. He really can do it all.

I know I'm in the minority on him, I just don't see anything special in his game. Physically he's a Brian Westbrook clone, but without his speed, quickness or moves.

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My current RB rankings (previous rankings, previous analysis)

Eddie Lacy

Christine Michael

Giovani Bernard
Knile Davis

Johnathan Franklin
Marcus Lattimore
Zac Stacy
D.J. Harper

Le'Veon Bell
Cierre Wood
Kenjon Barner

Montee Ball
Latavius Murray

Treavor Seales
Michael Ford
Matthew Tucker
C.J. Anderson
Andre Ellington

This roughly breaks down into 4 guys I like, 9 guys who are on my radar but probably aren't quite good enough, and 5 guys I can't rule out.

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I don't agree on the poor value for what you'll have to pay part.

In dynasty ff, people are going to play the lottery on RBs so rarely do you get good value on them. If you take a RB in the 6 to 12 range he is more likely to be Michael Bush, Eric Shelton, Monterio Hardesty or Onterrio Smith than he is to be Marion Barber III.

Guys like Bernard Pollard and Alfred Morris were way under the radar at this time last year and showed quite a bit when they got to play. Do your research, find the ones you like and draft accordingly with ADP.

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My least favorite RB class in a long time. I don't think many of these guys will represent good value for what you'll have to pay.

Agree, very uninspiring group.Of course a couple will end up decent but GL finding the needle in a haystack with this hodgepodge of mediocrity.
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1. Latavuis Murray

2. Le'Veon Bell

3. Knile Davis

4. Christine Michael

5. Montee Ball

6. Eddie Lacy

7. Zac Stacy

8. Jonathan Franklin

9. Giovani Bernard

10. Treavor Scales

I think my top tier has the most upside, not for the faint of heart. Bell is a better version of Lacy to me. The rest are situation dependent.

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I don't see how anyone could have Treavor Scales in their top ten, he's a really deep sleeper and risky. And I say that as someone who actually drafted the dude last week in a deep rookie draft.

And Murray...he's intriguing due to his size/speed combo but it's misleading as hell because he's built like a WR and runs very upright and without much power. He's much more interesting because of his good hands. Either way, no way should he be in anyone's top-5, or probably even top-10, never mind #1. That's a ballsy call, and I usually respect that. But that's too ballsy.

With how high you are on Murray, Davis, Scales, and Michael (though that's not odd like the others) I'm assuming you're big into speed scores or size/speed combo and don't watch much tape?

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10. Stefphon Jefferson, Nevada11. *Kerwynn Williams, Utah St.12. Joseph Randle, Oklahoma St.13. Stepfan Taylor, Stanford14. *Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt15. Rex Burkhead, Nebraska16. *Ray Graham, 24. Robbie Rouse,

It's fair to say The next eric dickerson isn't in this class. But I have seen each one of these guys play and everyone of them has shown me enough that the can play on Sundays so long as they learn to pass block at the Pro level.I don't think any of the top guys will be the next Adrian Peterson, but I think any one of the above could be the next al Morris.
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1. Latavuis Murray2. Le'Veon Bell3. Knile Davis4. Christine Michael5. Montee Ball6. Eddie Lacy7. Zac Stacy8. Jonathan Franklin9. Giovani Bernard10. Treavor ScalesI think my top tier has the most upside, not for the faint of heart. Bell is a better version of Lacy to me. The rest are situation dependent.

:loco: Murray as the #1 is just odd. He's a receiver (who actually played a bit of TE at UCF) playing running back. He runs upright and lacks the power he needs to be successful at that size IMO. Very awkward runner and I have a hard time believing he will even be given an opportunity to start in the NFL.

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I don't see how anyone could have Treavor Scales in their top ten, he's a really deep sleeper and risky. And I say that as someone who actually drafted the dude last week in a deep rookie draft.And Murray...he's intriguing due to his size/speed combo but it's misleading as hell because he's built like a WR and runs very upright and without much power. He's much more interesting because of his good hands. Either way, no way should he be in anyone's top-5, or probably even top-10, never mind #1. That's a ballsy call, and I usually respect that. But that's too ballsy.With how high you are on Murray, Davis, Scales, and Michael (though that's not odd like the others) I'm assuming you're big into speed scores or size/speed combo and don't watch much tape?

:goodposting:

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What are yours? Here are mine.

* = value as a returner

Lattimore is assuming he returns to full health.

1. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
2. Eddie Lacy, Alabama
3. Christine Michael, Texas A&M
4. Andre Ellington, Clemson
5. Montee Ball, Wisconsin
6. Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
7. *Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
8. Knile Davis, Arkansas
9. Le’Veon Bell, Michigan St
10. Stefphon Jefferson, Nevada
11. *Kerwynn Williams, Utah St.
12. Joseph Randle, Oklahoma St.
13. Stepfan Taylor, Stanford
14. *Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt
15. Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
16. *Ray Graham, Pittsburgh
17. *Kenjon Barner, Oregon
18. Jawan Jamison, Rutgers
19. Cierre Wood, Notre Dame
20. Mike Gillislee, Florida
21. Miguel Maysonet, Stony Brook
22. Theo Riddick, Notre Dame
23. *Michael Ford, L.S.U.
24. Robbie Rouse, Fresno St.
25. Montel Harris, Temple
26. *Onterio McCalebb, Auburn
27. Latavuis Murray, Central Fla.
28. *Dennis Johnson, Arkansas

Good list. I'd move Franklin up to 4, move Ellington down 9/10, Bell up to 6. I like the Williams ranking, he could be a nice change of pace guy who could be used like Sproles if given the chance. One guy that I would add to the list in the teens around Stacy/Randle/Taylor would be George Winn.

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1. Zac Stacy

2. Giovani Bernard

3. Christine Michael

4. Le' Veon Bell

5. Knile Davis

6. Eddie Lacy

7. Montee Ball

8. Kenjon Barner

9. Joseph Randle

10. Spencer Ware

11. DJ Harper

12. Rex Burkhead

13. Dennis Johnson

14. Cierre Wood

15. Jonathan Franklin

16. Marcus Lattimore

17. Mike James

18. Andre Ellington

19. Mike Gillislee

20. Chris Thompson

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wow, hard to picture Gio that low. He really can do it all.

I know I'm in the minority on him, I just don't see anything special in his game. Physically he's a Brian Westbrook clone, but without his speed, quickness or moves.

Westbrook didn't have "speed". He ran a 4.57. Bernard doesn't have his (open field) moves, but the quickness, acceleration, strength, vision, balance is there.

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I think Latavius Murray is just as good, if not better, than Le'Veon Bell. For a tall/lanky build, he has good leverage for pass blocking as well. His height actually allows him to stand up pass rushers. Has a effective stiff-arm he can use.

Though, I do agree that he may never get a shot a feature back simply because he might not be drafted high enough to warrant such workload. Those who don't believe in Murray just need to go watch his 2010 performance vs Georgia. I personally don't have a solid rankings yet, but I might put him in my top 5, and shouldn't be any worse than top 10 in anyone's rankings.

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What I have done is what I usually do. I pulled a lot of resources and information together such as these 19 scouting service rankings and averaged them. To form a sort of ADP based on scout and media sources who will undoubtedly tell us how teams did not get good value for their picks when they draft them outside of where they have them ranked, while also telling us how teams got steals because they were able to draft players later than they have them ranked. They will grade the drafts much the same as how they ranked players prior to the draft with some exceptions. So in this sense while the ADP will most certainly change post NFL draft, the pundits will continue to sing the same tune just the second verse of what we have been hearing from them the past few months leading up to the draft.


At the same time as rankings get compared, debated and refined, a consensus does form. So to evaluate this I took all of these draft rankings and averaged them into a form of average draft position. I think this can be improved with mock draft information and polls, but that data is somewhat sparse pre nfl draft, so the rankings seem like the best place to look for what the average FF owner may have read and thinks about players in this draft class.

Not all of these scouting services are equal. Tick was telling me he likes to do this with only a few rankings that he trusts more than others, or to give those he trusts more weight in the average. I agree with him for making a ranking of your big board. However I think using many scouting services is the way to go to find what most of your competition will be thinking for their big boards/average draft position. I eliminated players who were not ranked in the top 25 on at least 10 of the 19 rankings that I used. So I recognize this list is a bit short and few of the outlier players may still be relevant. Post Nfl draft if any of these players are drafted fairly high into a good position for opportunity I will add them to the list of draftable players but for now I will only list the guys who were ranked top 25 by at least 10 of the 19 I used.

So here is the average ranking from the 19 scouting services I compiled in order of how they were ranked on average-

Lacy
Franklin
Bernard
Ball
Ellington
Bell
Michael
Randle
Gillislee
Taylor
Lattimore
Stacy
Davis

I just wanted to note that Joseph Randle is often ranked in the top 10 on many of these 19 lists yet I have hardly heard any talk about him around here. I wonder why that is?

I consider this stand alone for an idea of when your competition may be looking to draft specific players, now I want to transform this into something closer to my big board.

I want to give some consideration to player performance in college. I will be the first person to tell you that comparing college performance between players is rarely an apple to apple comparison. So many teams are of unequal talent level and many of the games are one sided, this is part of why I do not like college football, and why I think it is very difficult to evaluate a players performance at the college level, because so many of these variables are very lopsided. So from that perspective a player who does very well from a smaller school (less supporting talent) against top level talent is more impressive to me than a player from a elite team running rough shod over a much weaker team.

Now this could be a topic onto itself, as far as how to best evaluate college performance, and how much consideration one should give to it when evaluating rookie prospects and ranking them. I do not have a good answer for this and I am curious what others ideas might be, but I really like the work that ZWK did that measures rookie prospect performance in college and ranks them by that information, using some pretty well thought out measurements of the college performance. So I wanted to include this objective evaluation (except for the lack of level playing between college teams and conferences) of college performance and give that similar weight to the average scouting ranking, though not quite as much.

The third part of this is taking into consideration the combine measurables, which are an apples to apples objective comparison that shows not only a players natural talent and ability but also how well they prepare to achieve a goal in their performance, which can translate into work ethic and ability to develop new skills with coaching. This should be the smallest part of the combined evaluation, but with many similar prospects in this draft class this is the type of thing that can make a difference enough to rank the higher performing players over some of the others.

So what I did is use the combined ranking from ZWKs thread http://forums.footballguys.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=678724#entry15376922 post 15 and reranked these 13 players by their performance ranking. I then combined the ADP data with this performance ranking for the 13 players which after the adjustment leaves them ranked this

Lacy
Franklin
Bernard
Michael
Bell
Ball
Ellington
Stacy
Davis
Randle
Lattimore
Gillislee
Taylor

My final ranking pre-nfl draft ranking for these 13 RB-

Lacy
Bernard
Michael
Stacy
Franklin
Bell
Ellington
Davis
Lattimore
Ball
Randle
Gillislee
Taylor

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As far as Murray goes the process went Hell of a workout... Great numbers... Scramble to find tape/scouting reports.. Doubt anybody else can say otherwise. He 6'2, dam right he's going to run upright. Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster run upright. I was more impressed watching Knile Davis and Montee Ball run. He reminds me of a stronger thicker DMC, just gliding all over the field. Can't really think of anyone built like him. And you can't knock his performance at all. He came out of nowhere and I don't mind him being my #1 back. I didn't really want to mention him until after my drafts actually.

Scales picked a good year to be a small/speed back. Not too many of them even run as fast as him this year. The rest of him measurements are just better than anyone his size. Top 40x, top 20 yard shuttle, and 3-cone for any back under 220 along with 20 bench reps. That alone puts him in my top 10-20. Can't really backup his performance on that level but he looks like any other COP back. His QB ran the ball 12x's a game which killed his numbers. He'll likely go undrafted but in the right situation it could workout. See Blount, Foster, BJGE, Fjax. Or even Morris and Bradshaw who where late round picks. The NFL burns threw rb's every year, I wouldn't knock anyone becoming relevant these days.

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As far as Murray goes the process went Hell of a workout... Great numbers... Scramble to find tape/scouting reports.. Doubt anybody else can say otherwise. He 6'2, dam right he's going to run upright. Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster run upright. I was more impressed watching Knile Davis and Montee Ball run. He reminds me of a stronger thicker DMC, just gliding all over the field. Can't really think of anyone built like him. And you can't knock his performance at all. He came out of nowhere and I don't mind him being my #1 back. I didn't really want to mention him until after my drafts actually.Scales picked a good year to be a small/speed back. Not too many of them even run as fast as him this year. The rest of him measurements are just better than anyone his size. Top 40x, top 20 yard shuttle, and 3-cone for any back under 220 along with 20 bench reps. That alone puts him in my top 10-20. Can't really backup his performance on that level but he looks like any other COP back. His QB ran the ball 12x's a game which killed his numbers. He'll likely go undrafted but in the right situation it could workout. See Blount, Foster, BJGE, Fjax. Or even Morris and Bradshaw who where late round picks. The NFL burns threw rb's every year, I wouldn't knock anyone becoming relevant these days.

I saw the workout numbers on Murray and was impressed as well. I found some clips and came away utterly unimpressed. He kept going down on first contact time after time. He would rip a long run here and there and his final stat line would look pretty good. However, it certainly wasn't enough for me to consider him top 20 even with the impressive workout number, which usually would go pretty far with me. I could not find enough video on Scales to give a good assessment.

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wow, hard to picture Gio that low. He really can do it all.

I know I'm in the minority on him, I just don't see anything special in his game. Physically he's a Brian Westbrook clone, but without his speed, quickness or moves.

One of the few RBs on this list I saw with my own eyes at Miami last year...he is a lot more special than you think he is.

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A lot of this is from watching film and studying them solely through what they have "on tape" so to speak. I generally ignore Combine/Pro Day numbers and prefer to go with what they flash with pads on.

I know I am pretty out of the norm but I really think Mike Gillislee is getting underrated as hell. The guys ranked 9-15 are all kind of a jumble that can separate based on future team/scheme/pre-season ascension.

01: Marcus Lattimore [south Carolina]
02: Stepfan Taylor [stanford]
03: Andre Ellington [Clemson]
04: Mike Gillislee [Florida]
05: Giovani Bernard [North Carolina]
06: Christine Michael [Texas A&M]
07: Eddie Lacy [Alabama]
08: Montee Ball [Wisconsin]
09: Johnathan Franklin [uCLA]

10: Kenjon Barner [Oregon]

11: Jawan Jamison [Rutgers]
12: Joseph Randle [Oklahoma State]
13: Mike James [Miami]

14: Zac Stacy [Vanderbilt]

15: Rex Burkhead [Nebraska]
16: Le'Veon Bell [Michigan State]

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A lot of this is from watching film and studying them solely through what they have "on tape" so to speak. I generally ignore Combine/Pro Day numbers and prefer to go with what they flash with pads on.

I know I am pretty out of the norm but I really think Mike Gillislee is getting underrated as hell. The guys ranked 9-15 are all kind of a jumble that can separate based on future team/scheme/pre-season ascension.

01: Marcus Lattimore [south Carolina]02: Stepfan Taylor [stanford]03: Andre Ellington [Clemson]04: Mike Gillislee [Florida]05: Giovani Bernard [North Carolina]06: Christine Michael [Texas A&M]07: Eddie Lacy [Alabama]08: Montee Ball [Wisconsin]09: Johnathan Franklin [uCLA]

10: Kenjon Barner [Oregon]

11: Jawan Jamison [Rutgers]12: Joseph Randle [Oklahoma State]13: Mike James [Miami]

14: Zac Stacy [Vanderbilt]

15: Rex Burkhead [Nebraska]16: Le'Veon Bell [Michigan State]

Taylor will be an interesting prospect because he has no timed speed or explosiveness, but otherwise has a lot of the qualities I look for. Good leg drive, lateral agility, and instincts. I think he has a chance to be a little better than some people expect. Obviously the lack of sheer speed and burst is going to put a cap on his ceiling though.

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Taylor will be an interesting prospect because he has no timed speed or explosiveness, but otherwise has a lot of the qualities I look for. Good leg drive, lateral agility, and instincts. I think he has a chance to be a little better than some people expect. Obviously the lack of sheer speed and burst is going to put a cap on his ceiling though.

I could accept a slow 40. But Taylor had a slow 40, a slow shuttle and a slow three cone, to go along with terrible jumps. When I watched his game clips there were so many yards left on the field. I can't imagine he would be serviceable in any way.

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Taylor will be an interesting prospect because he has no timed speed or explosiveness, but otherwise has a lot of the qualities I look for. Good leg drive, lateral agility, and instincts. I think he has a chance to be a little better than some people expect. Obviously the lack of sheer speed and burst is going to put a cap on his ceiling though.

I could accept a slow 40. But Taylor had a slow 40, a slow shuttle and a slow three cone, to go along with terrible jumps. When I watched his game clips there were so many yards left on the field. I can't imagine he would be serviceable in any way.

I'm not gonna go to the mat too hard for anyone who runs a 4.7. Taylor isn't a can't-miss talent by any stretch of the imagination. However, I'd caution that RB prospects aren't always accurately represented by their workout numbers. Cedric Benson turned in an absolutely PITIFUL workout and still had a decent career. More recently, LeSean McCoy had some of the worst jump results that I've ever seen from a RB. 8'11" broad jump and 29" vertical. On the field he's a different animal.

I think you gain an appreciation for Taylor's qualities when you get the field level view. He isn't track fast, but he has football quickness. Watch this reel from start to finish and tell me he doesn't look good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSguCSmL1nM

He doesn't have flashy physical traits, but he's a classic RB for the purists. Does a lot of the little things. Strong lower body. Innate ability to shift momentum, move his feet, and avoid direct hits. Good lateral bounce. If he had 4.5 speed I would say he's a top 3 RB in the draft. As things stand his lack of sheer explosiveness might limit his effectiveness, but he has a lot of ability and stands out to me more than many of the backs ranked ahead of him.

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I thought there'd be a lot more Ware fans here. I know EBF likes him to a degree.

Easy to see why people don't like him. 4.6 speed, late draft projection, and poor college YPC.

I think he's a good back who will have a better career than projected. Ideal frame coupled with strong receiving ability. Rare package of skills. He may not ever be a starter, but he will find a role and outlast a lot of the backs picked ahead of him.

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I thought there'd be a lot more Ware fans here. I know EBF likes him to a degree.

Easy to see why people don't like him. 4.6 speed, late draft projection, and poor college YPC.

I think he's a good back who will have a better career than projected. Ideal frame coupled with strong receiving ability. Rare package of skills. He may not ever be a starter, but he will find a role and outlast a lot of the backs picked ahead of him.

I suppose I'm a fan since I have him ranked 10th. He has good size, runs hard and can play all three downs.

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I'm not gonna go to the mat too hard for anyone who runs a 4.7. Taylor isn't a can't-miss talent by any stretch of the imagination. However, I'd caution that RB prospects aren't always accurately represented by their workout numbers. Cedric Benson turned in an absolutely PITIFUL workout and still had a decent career. More recently, LeSean McCoy had some of the worst jump results that I've ever seen from a RB. 8'11" broad jump and 29" vertical. On the field he's a different animal.

I think you gain an appreciation for Taylor's qualities when you get the field level view. He isn't track fast, but he has football quickness. Watch this reel from start to finish and tell me he doesn't look good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSguCSmL1nM

He doesn't have flashy physical traits, but he's a classic RB for the purists. Does a lot of the little things. Strong lower body. Innate ability to shift momentum, move his feet, and avoid direct hits. Good lateral bounce. If he had 4.5 speed I would say he's a top 3 RB in the draft. As things stand his lack of sheer explosiveness might limit his effectiveness, but he has a lot of ability and stands out to me more than many of the backs ranked ahead of him.

I've learned to stay away from highlights, as they can make anyone look good when you pick out their best runs. I prefer to use the Stepfan Taylor vs USC, vs Oregon, vs Notre Dame. They show every run, block, or reception. His limitations are really exposed. He ran through some gigantic holes and only netted 10 yards.

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Guys like Bernard Pollard and Alfred Morris were way under the radar at this time last year and showed quite a bit when they got to play. Do your research, find the ones you like and draft accordingly with ADP.

I liken Stefphon Jefferson to Alfred Morris.

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Taylor will be an interesting prospect because he has no timed speed or explosiveness, but otherwise has a lot of the qualities I look for. Good leg drive, lateral agility, and instincts. I think he has a chance to be a little better than some people expect. Obviously the lack of sheer speed and burst is going to put a cap on his ceiling though.

I could accept a slow 40. But Taylor had a slow 40, a slow shuttle and a slow three cone, to go along with terrible jumps. When I watched his game clips there were so many yards left on the field. I can't imagine he would be serviceable in any way.

I'm not gonna go to the mat too hard for anyone who runs a 4.7. Taylor isn't a can't-miss talent by any stretch of the imagination. However, I'd caution that RB prospects aren't always accurately represented by their workout numbers. Cedric Benson turned in an absolutely PITIFUL workout and still had a decent career. More recently, LeSean McCoy had some of the worst jump results that I've ever seen from a RB. 8'11" broad jump and 29" vertical. On the field he's a different animal.

I think you gain an appreciation for Taylor's qualities when you get the field level view. He isn't track fast, but he has football quickness. Watch this reel from start to finish and tell me he doesn't look good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSguCSmL1nM

He doesn't have flashy physical traits, but he's a classic RB for the purists. Does a lot of the little things. Strong lower body. Innate ability to shift momentum, move his feet, and avoid direct hits. Good lateral bounce. If he had 4.5 speed I would say he's a top 3 RB in the draft. As things stand his lack of sheer explosiveness might limit his effectiveness, but he has a lot of ability and stands out to me more than many of the backs ranked ahead of him.

I was actually very surprised by his time because his game speed seems more than adequate. He's quick enough to make people miss and get through the whole and even seems to pull away from defensive backs at times.

Prior to the combine there was speculation that he'd be a 2nd or 3rd round pick - now I guess it's possible he goes much later, or even goes undrafted.

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