The 2017 RB Sweet 16: (16) Stanley Williams vs (17) Christopher Carson

March Madness is back and so is the RotoViz Running Back Prospect Sweet 16 Tournament. We take some of the top incoming RBs and put them through the brackets March Madness style.

Various RotoViz writers will break down the match-ups and give you the insight that goes into each selection. This exercise is meant to give readers a look at the opinions and the thought processes that go into choosing a player in a head-to-head setting.

The RotoViz writers were instructed to pick a winner for each matchup based upon the following criteria:

1. RotoViz metrics

2. Projected chance of future success

3. Cost to acquire player (draft price)

4. Personal preference

Each staff member’s vote counts as one point.  Each member will post a narrative justifying his pick. In the end the player with the most points advances to the next round.

Here is a look at this year’s bracket:

Screenshot (91)

Here is a look at the 2016 bracket.

Ready for the first match up of 2017?

(16) Stanley Williams vs (17) Christopher Carson

Just like the NCAA, we have a play-in game to face the top-seeded Leonard Fournette. Williams impressed at the Combine with his 6.86 three cone, though he weighed in at just 190 pounds. He averaged 6.8 yards per carry for his career at Kentucky.

Carson was significantly heavier than Williams at 218 pounds, and flashed decent speed and exceptional explosion in drills. He has 30 receptions over the past two seasons despite his sparse usage for Oklahoma State.

Jordan Hoover – Christopher Carson: Williams and Carson elicit little enthusiasm as running back prospects. Williams is smallish – 5 foot 7, 190 pounds – and only garnered a 0.40 career market share of non-QB rushing yards in 33 games at Kentucky. Carson, while substantially bigger than Williams – 6 foot, 218 pounds – managed just a 0.32 market share of non-QB rushing yards in 21 career games. Carson also ceded the majority of carries to freshman RB Justice Hill last season. I’ll side with Carson here, largely on the back of his combine performance, which produced a few favorable comparables, including DeMarco Murray and fellow 2017 RB prospects Alvin Kamara and Wayne Gallman.

Matt Wispe – Stanley Williams: Neither Williams or Carson are among the elite RB prospects in the 2017 draft class, but “Boom” Williams’ size and athletic comparisons position him in a way that he could develop an opportunity. Among Williams best comparisons according to Mockdraftable are Jacquizz Rodgers, Josh Ferguson, Ronnie Hillman, LaMichael James, and Kenjon Barner. This role, along with his collegiate production, point to a RB that could develop an ancillary role on an offense

Matthew Freedman – Christopher Carson: Both of these guys make me want to take a nap, but I’ll go with the big guy who’s slow and explosive over the small guy who’s slow and agile. At least Carson did well in junior college as a sophomore and has been a TD scorer. Boom has never been much of a TD producer.

Anthony Amico – Christopher Carson: Much like when Florida A&M and West Texas meet in the NCAA tournament,1 this play-in game leaves a lot to be desired. I’m going with Carson, who is bigger and posted some appetizing explosion at the Combine.

Blair Andrews – Christopher Carson: Neither Williams nor Carson were exactly workhorse backs in college. Neither were combine standouts. Carson gets the win here because of his size (he has about 30 pounds on Williams) and his slight edge in the receiving game (1.4 receptions per game to Williams’ 0.6 in their final seasons).

Scott Smith – Stanley Williams: When you’re an RB with a name like Boom you better be getting the pass to the next round. Nickname aside Williams isn’t exactly the biggest guy, but his 6.8 yards per carry combined with his combine showing lead me to believe he has a chance to carve out a role in the NFL faster than Carson. Boom very well could turn out to be a poor man’s Darren Sproles for whatever that’s worth, but that is probably the best case scenario.

Heith Krueger – Christopher Carson: Neither has a production profile that would you lead to believe they are capable of being a workhorse RB in the NFL. Additionally, neither went to a college program where they were stuck behind a tremendous talent to justify their lack of use. This decision comes down to simply an athletic profile comparison between the two. I’m going to go with Carson as his six foot, 218 pound frame is far better suited to operate as a three down back in the NFL, along with a far better size-adjusted speed score.

Charlie Kleinheksel – Christopher Carson: Much like Freedman, these guys make me want to take a nap. Unlike Freedman, I don’t want to nap with Freedman. Give me the bigger back. In the absence of resume, size matters.

Final Result

Unfortunately for Williams, we don’t award points for nickname quality. Carson’s size and explosion make him the winner here, though it is clear our writers did not particularly like either prospect. Who set this thing up anyway? Carson will meet Fournette in the first round of the main bracket.

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  1. I have no idea if these are actual Division I schools.  (back)
By Anthony Amico | @amicsta | Archive

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