2011 NFL Rookie Running Backs Situational Analysis
Running Back is the most vital position to Fantasy Football success. Running back is also one of the easiest positions to make the transitions from college to the pros. Knowing which rookies to target can make all the difference. Here’s a preview of the rookie running backs from the 2011 NFL Draft and how they project.
Mark Ingram: Much has already been said about the former Heisman trophy winner here and other places. But what you really need to know is the status of Pierre Thomas. A favorite of mine for years, has apparently lost the trust of the organization due to his past injuries. I don’t expect Reggie Bush to be back for 11M, thought 8M was a bit steep last year. If those two are gone, his outlook is much brighter with only promising, but fumble prone second-year Chris Ivory remaining as his only competition. Given the right amount of carries, he should flourish running inside behind one of the best interior lines in the game.
Daniel Thomas: We all knew the Dolphins would pick a RB early, but Thomas was a bit surprising. While I’ve been a fan of his one man show at Kansas State, I do think he will sturggle in the beginning of his career. His running style is similar to Darren McFadden’s because he has less than ideal pad level but he is not as fast or agile as “Run DMc”. Nevertheless, with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams both free agents the opportunity is there for Thomas to start from day one. He is a great receiver of the ball and has experience running the Wildcat if they choose to continue running it. Depending on how things shake up, he could end up being the rookie with the most touches. Side-note: I’m interested to see what becomes of Lex Hilliard as well.
Ryan Williams: I love Ryan Williams. I touted him before the Draft as the number two back due to his explosive speed, power, and vision. If he’s given the chance, I expect him to win the starting job. Beanie Wells has been the bust that many expected, lacking burst and continuing to be injury prone. Tim Hightower had a strong season last year, but he could leave when we reach free agency. Williams has a chance the be the best running back out of this class.
Mikel Leshoure: Impressive power-back who didn’t fumble last season and had a 6.0+ ypc. Seems like a nice combination of speed and power with him and Jahvid Best, who has yet to show he can stay healthy. Charlie Casserly compared him to Steven Jackson. Inside runner who leans forward and cuts well. Nice upside in situation.
Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley: Patriots New Thunder & Lightning
Delone Carter: My Sleeper at RB.
Kendall Hunter: A must have handcuff and an exciting prospect in a great situation. Hunter was ranked my #5 back in the draft but fell the 49ers, who always need a backup with Frank Gore’s injury woes. Hunter was one of the most pro-ready running backs in the draft and could see action on 3rd down role as well.
Roy Helu & Evan Royster: Shanahan drafted not one, but two later round rbs. Over the course of his career, he has gotten tremendous productivity out of later round picks. Ryan Torian is the starter, but for how long? We all know his injury history and it is just a matter of time. Everyone is been championing Helu, but as Lee Corso says, “Not so fast my friends”. Not that I don’t think Helu is a perfect fit, it is a nice one, but Evan Royster shouldn’t be overlooked. The Redskins should have a nice old fashioned competition on their hands.
Jacquizz Rodgers: Another backup who should contribute in a change of pace fashion. I expect him to play the role Jerrious Norwood couldn’t the past two years with injuries. He should make some catches, being active in the slot and motion from the backfield. Turner is another back who is injury prone. Snelling would probably be in line for the bulk of carries, should Turner be hurt.
Demarco Murray: Murray was a fun back to watch at Oklahoma. An excellent receiver out of the backfield and great at bouncing runs to the sideline using his speed. Like Thomas, he runs very high. He should struggle to run in between the tackles. Could be the best 3rd down back in the draft because of his agility and hands. Hope they don’t use him to return because he has an injury history.
Da’Rel Scott: One of my sleepers in the draft because he is a homerun hitter with blazing speed (4.3 at the combine). Bradshaw is a free-agent and Jacobs has been over the hill for the last two years. The Giants are always picking late round RB gems, and this could be a contributor.
Jordan Toddman: I thought the Chargers got a steal with Toddman who was ranked in my Top 10 RBs but went in the sixth round. With Sproles likely departing, Toddman can return and be a change of pace back for Tolbert & Matthews.
Alex Green: Interesting back who got a lot of attention before the draft. Starks and Grant likely ahead of him.
Dion Lewis: Could be Shady’s #2 back again. Injuries, handcuff, blah blah.
See also: NFL Draft RB Preview
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