HenryJosey

There’s no doubt that this upcoming draft has given me receiver fever. My obsession with receivers is beyond control, but everyone eventually reaches their limit. I’ve spent so much time digging into the receivers that I reached a point where I was only seeing the negatives in each prospect, so I finally have to push away from the table.

Shifting gears to the running back side, this incoming class of runners has been labeled has having a surplus of lateral level prospects. That may be true, but that doesn’t mean that this class will be devoid of fantasy contributors. I’m taking that feeling of lateral quality a step further, looking at four sets of backs and their lower valued doppelgangers based only on physical profile and final season college production. For the rankings, I’m going to use the general CBS draft prospect list.

I list Body Mass Index (BMI) here because it is ultra important in terms of correlation to fantasy running back production. Running back height and weight don’t necessarily correlate the same way that they do at the receiver position. The more a receiver weighs, his height will follow more often than not.
Runners come in a hodgepodge of sizes, thus making the marriage of both more relevant. Backs with a BMI that falls between 28-31.9 make up 75 percent (299) of the past top 400 fantasy seasons since 2004. Even further, 183 of those seasons (46 percent) come from those who sport a BMI of 30-31.9 (check out more at RotoAcademy).

Prospect: Ka’Deem Carey (CBS Rank: 3)

Arbitrage Play: James White (13)

Player

Rookie Age

Ht.

Weight

BMI

40YD

Vert

Broad

20YS

3C

Ka’Deem Carey

22.2

69

207

30.6

4.7

32.5

115

4.38

7.08

James White

22.9

69

204

30.1

4.57

32

114

4.2

7.05

From a measurable standpoint, neither back has the requisite size and speed to likely become a true force at the next level nor does either have a true home in terms of the three running back profiles that Shawn Seigele centers around. They both teeter on profiles two and three, but this is more of an issue for Carey considering where people tend to value him currently.

Carey’s ridiculously low speed score (84.8) should put him in an area of irrelevancy on your rookie draft boards. Out of the 235 runners in my database, that score is only better than that of John Clay, Khalil Bell, Theo Riddick, Joe Burns, Ray Graham and Stepfan Taylor.  White isn’t great in any one field, but nothing is an extreme death knell to his future endeavors.

Player

Gs

Carries

Yards

YPC

TDs

Catches

Car/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

 Carey

12

349

1885

5.4

19

26

29.1

157.1

1.6

2.2

White

13

221

1444

6.5

13

39

17.0

111.1

1.0

3.0

Even though White played in one more season than Carey, he still had 104 fewer touches while involved in a timeshare with Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon. For their college careers, White also only caught four fewer passes (73) and at age 18 as a freshman he posted 1,140 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns. I feel pretty confident in saying that if White was in the Pac-12 with a solo gig, he would’ve trumped Carey’s production mightily.

Lache Seastrunk (8)

Arbitrage Play: Henry Josey (24)

Player

Rookie Age

Ht.

Weight

BMI

40YD

Vert

Broad

20YS

3C

Henry Josey

n/a

68

194

29.5

4.43

34.5

118

4.13

7.07

Lache Seastrunk

23.4

69

201

29.7

4.51

41.5

134

4.36

6.81

Seastrunk was a disappointment for many in Indianapolis, failing to hit the forty time that many scouts see on film. That pop likely stems from his true burst that shows up in his insane explosion score, however, so rest a little easier if you wish he ran faster. That score (vert plus broad jump) is in extremely rarefied air. He profiles similarly to David Wilson albeit with less overall speed, but will very likely come much cheaper in both the real and fantasy drafts.

It’s likely Josey won’t be drafted until the last day of the draft, but he hits the watermarks in every area. He’s going to be extremely situation dependent, as where he lands will have to have a clear line to change of pace carries in order to make him immediately useful.

Player

Gs

Carries

Yards

YPC

TDs

Catches

Car/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

Josey

14

174

1166

6.7

16

10

12.4

83.3

1.1

0.7

Seastrunk

11

158

1177

7.4

11

0

14.4

107.0

1.0

0.0

Both players have endured multiple injuries throughout college and it shows in how carefully their teams limited their opportunities. Combining that usage with their physical profiles doesn’t paint a great picture for their future snap counts at the next level.

Especially since neither has a real history of doing anything in the passing game at all. Seastrunk tallied nine career receptions and zero this past season, while Josey had 24. Offensive design may have been a pin in the balloon here, because both profile to have a pass catching bodies, but the NFL has also shown reluctance lately to use guys with little college pass catching acumen in that area.

Not only did Seastrunk fail to live up to lofty expectations at the combine, he also did so on the field as well in a soft Big 12. He did lose production not only to injury but also to Baylor just dusting teams throughout the season. On the other hand, Josey was strong against SEC play, especially this past year where he averaged 92.8 yards rushing per game on 6.9 YPC while scoring 10 of his 17 touchdowns.

I do still very much like Seastrunk because his athletic ceiling combined with his likely draft position will trump some of the cons. It’s likely that Josey may not even be drafted until the very end of your rookie drafts, though, costing you very little equity if he lands in a favorable situation.

Andre Williams (10)

Arbitrage Play: Lorenzo Taliaferro (21)

Player

Rookie Age

Ht.

Weight

BMI

40YD

Vert

Broad

20YS

3C

Lorenzo Taliaferro

n/a

72

229

31.1

4.58

33

116

4.22

6.88

Andre Williams

22.3

71

230

32.1

4.56

38

128

4.06

7.27

Williams is one of the few running backs to get an extensive look from RotoViz thus far. While many scouts consider him a dulling plodder, Williams actually roasted fellow big back alums Carlos Hyde and Jeremy Hill at the combine. His speed score wasn’t by any means elite, but it was a pleasant surprise that puts him in an area comparable to Larry Johnson, a player he comps to very much in terms of size and massive single season production in their final year.

Taliaferro nearly matches his speed, and while he may lose out in explosion, he definitely makes up for it in terms of agility. His weight adjusted agility registers as the third best in the class that we have info on to this point, behind Bishop Sankey and Tyler Gaffney.  While Williams is no slouch in this area either, Taliaferro is in a special class, having the highest score of any back over 225 pounds in my records.  One gray area is his actual age is elusive to the interwebs (just like with Josey). Williams is completely neutral in that regard, so if Taliaferro ends up being the Brandon Weeden of backs, I apologize.

Player

Gs

Carries

Yards

YPC

TDs

Catches

Car/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

 Taliaferro

15

276

1729

6.3

27

23

18.4

115.3

1.8

1.5

 Williams

13

355

2177

6.1

18

0

27.3

167.5

1.4

0.0

Neither player did much until their final season, but Williams performed in a much better conference. Despite whatever your opinions on the ACC may be, it’s a powerhouse compared to the Big South.  The separator here is that Taliaferro can catch the football (if you’re looking for more info on him, here’s his bio). In fact, when you watch him (gasp, film reference), he is frequently lined up as a receiver. Yes, a 229 pound rock was getting reps split outside.

Now maybe you can get away with that at Coastal Carolina, but this also ties directly into his awesome agility score. The guy can move his feet. The main issue here will be what kind of usage he will see at the NFL level, because his profile fits that of an early down banger and coaches are currently en vogue into using situational personnel. While he may have some receiving chops, he still may never get a real opportunity to showcase them in the NFL.

Regardless, he’s going to come far less cheap in both drafts than Williams will. If either lands in a situation to poach early downs right away, they could be an instant bargain.

Storm Johnson (14)

Arbitrage Play: Tim Cornett (37)

Player

Rookie Age

Ht.

Weight

BMI

40YD

Vert

Broad

20YS

3C

Tim Cornett

22.7

72

209

28.3

4.48

34.5

125

4.26

7.01

Storm Johnson

23.5

72

209

28.3

4.6

35.5

118

n/a

n/a

Cornett is a guy I haven’t really heard anything about up until now, which is probably detrimental in the long run for his prospects. But if he’s going to go down then I’m going to take Storm with him. Johnson is a Rip Van Winkle for many because of his high school pedigree and beginning his collegiate career at Miami, ruining a plethora of Hurricane Storm puns when he transferred.

Neither guy here really fits one set bucket in terms of profiles. Both are too lean for their height, which will likely prevent them from ever being reliable early down options in the league. The difference between the two is that Cornett can run a bit with some agility where Storm is a slight drizzle in terms of wheels and elected to forego agility drills at the combine and then was injured on his pro day running his forty.

Player

Gs

Carries

Yards

YPC

TDs

Catches

Car/G

Yds/G

TDs/G

RECs/G

Cornett

13

264

1284

4.9

15

30

20.31

98.77

1.2

2.31

Johnson

13

213

1139

5.3

14

30

16.38

87.62

1.1

2.31

Whereas Johnson only performed in this past season, Cornett had back to back 1,200 plus yard seasons to close out his college career and is still a year younger. Both have a little pass catching ability, but neither really were involved in that aspect until this past season.  Neither guy played in a fantastic conference nor did their out of conference schedule add much for either resume. Cornett will probably be overlooked throughout the draft process, ultimately pushing him off of your radar, but if he goes, Storm should follow.

Brass Tacks

I’m not attempting to sell you that these options will have better NFL careers than their counterpoint. What I am showcasing is that in a position that is deemed transitive by the actual league, in a class that is considered plateaued in terms of talent, that there are cheaper fish in the same sea that are likely just as capable. Obviously destination for any of these backs will vital for any future success, but they are few interesting names to stick a pin in.

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4 comments
PSAT Ferg
PSAT Ferg

This use of BMI never occurred to me! It's totally useless as an indicator of body fat percentage, the purpose for which it was designed, but you're ignoring what it's "supposed to be" and using it as a composite measure of beef. That's innovative and I love it.

zjdlmt
zjdlmt

I've only read the opening paragraphs, but I have questions on BMI. It seems that players get listed at a given weight from the combine and that's their weight forever. We know player go up-and-down even as the season goes along. When you refer to a list of the top 400 seasons and the BMI of runners who accrued them, it seems likely that the actual BMI of a given player is changing on an annual basis. There's always rumors of a player going up-down by double digit pounds. Anyway, I doubt there's a way to factor that in since it doesn't seem like that information is readily available, but I'd be curious if it's accounted for at all.

LordReebs
LordReebs

That kind of information isn't regularly available and the accuracy of what a team provides year to year can probably be taken with a grainif salt as well. To have a dramatic shift in changing ones BMI out of whack to a severe degree, it would have to be a significant change in weight. Same with for any weight evaluation pieces, we can use what is provided, but the alteration is unlikely dramatic. The Seastunk mistake was a complete typo on my end.

zjdlmt
zjdlmt

Also, "SeaSTUNK?" I see what you did there.