The 2017 RB Sweet 16: (2) Dalvin Cook vs (15) Donnel Pumphrey
The RotoViz Running Back Prospect Sweet 16 Tournament matches the top incoming prospects in a head-to-head March Madness style format. Various RotoViz writers break down each match-up with the winner moving on to the next round.
(2) Dalvin Cook vs (15) Donnel Pumphrey
Cook enters this tournament coming off of a lackluster performance at the NFL Combine, but he is still expected to be drafted in the first round. He was a prolific producer both in terms of market share of rush yards and receiving yards. Pumphrey comes in undersized, but is among the career leaders in rushing yards. Production really isn’t an issue at all in this matchup, and athleticism is not particularly abundant with either player.
Matthew Freedman – Dalvin Cook: Cook disappointed at the combine — but he still has sufficient speed for his size. On top of that, he’s still young, and he produced at Florida State as both a runner and receiver. Pumphrey is older, smaller, slower, and basically just as unathletic. He was hugely productive in college, but that’s not enough, especially given the lesser competition he faced.
Anthony Amico – Dalvin Cook: Cook’s value took a hit at the Combine, where he almost universally underwhelmed, but Pumphrey disappointed also. He ran only a 4.48 at under 180 pounds, and showed no explosion. His production is impressive, but he seems like a poor man’s Tyler Ervin at this point.
Matt Wispe – Dalvin Cook: Had Pumphrey wowed with his speed and agility, he could have exploited the disappointing Cook combine. Since Pumphrey failed to increase his draft stock, Cook is the clear selection as he’ll have an immediate NFL role.
Blair Andrews – Dalvin Cook: Even with Cook’s disappointing Combine, his size and his production in both the rushing and passing games at Florida State give him the edge in this matchup. Pumphrey is not any faster than Cook, despite weighing nearly 35 pounds less. And although he outproduced Cook in terms of total yards, Cook boasts higher market shares across the board.
Heith Krueger – Dalvin Cook: Even with how poor Dalvin Cook’s Combine performance was, Pumphrey’s may have been worse adjusting for his 5-foot 8-inch, 176-pound frame. Cook is still a top-five rookie pick in dynasty football leagues and Pumphrey is a practice squad player at best.
Jordan Hoover – Dalvin Cook: Pumphrey led the county in yards rushing in 2016, finishing his career as the third-most prolific runner in FBS history. Then he weighed in at 176 pounds and bricked his combine workouts. Cook didn’t help his cause at the Combine either, but he bests Pumphrey in size, athleticism, and likely draft capital. Cook moves on.
Scott Smith – Dalvin Cook: To say that Cook disappointed at the combine would be an understatement. Cook’s agility score is in the range of Garrett Bolles, the LT from Utah. It’s hard to fathom an RB with Cook’s production putting up agility scores akin to an offensive lineman and still producing the way Cook did. The elephant in the room with Pumphrey is the fact that he just doesn’t check the prerequisite minimums from a physical standpoint. While production is the most important factor in my evaluation process, the chips are stacked against Pumphrey making a huge impact as a 176 pound RB.
Shawn Siegele – Dalvin Cook: While Cook is the easy choice here, I’m interested to see where Pumphrey falls. I promoted Chris Thompson heavily back in 2013, and he’s developed into a playable emergency back for fantasy owners. Pumphrey could do the same.
This matchup was a no-contest, as Cook trampled Pumphrey to go on to the second round. While he won this matchup in a dominant fashion, it is important to note how many analysts mentioned his poor Combine showing. That could cause some struggles for him down the road, and perhaps even in his next matchup against the winner of Wayne Gallman and Curtis Samuel.
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