It’s that time of year, rookie drafts are starting and the all important question, who do I draft? Who will be the next Doug Martin and who will be the next Mark Ingram, yuck… To be honest it really is impossible to tell who will be the next great rookie running back to break out will be and as seen by Redskins rookie Alfred Morris last year it really is as much about opportunity than as it is about talent, skill and potential. If you followed my rookie running back preview and pre-draft rankings you probably saw that I was a little higher than I should have been on my my Jonathan Franklin. What can I say, I’m no NFL scout, I’m just a guy that loves football and tried to call them like I see them. With recent news the Eddie Lacy isn’t looking great in training camp, although I’m not buying into it yet, it may open up the door for Franklin who I think is a perfect fit in Green Bay. Well enough about my Franklin obsession let’s take a look at my Top 20 dynasty running backs….hello, this is Sky and I’ve come to interrupt this post with a very important announcement: y’all need to sign up for our Razzball Commenter Leagues this year or I won’t let Murph out of the cage he currently resides in. Don’t worry, we feed him and all that but I’m sure he’d like some clothes. It gets cold on the raw plains of North Dakota…but more to the point, you don’t want his emotional scars on your hands, do you? Go sign up! We now return you to your regularly scheduled post.
Giovani Bernard - Can’t wait for Bernard to get his shot, I think he is exactly what the Bengals need and we could see a very similar transition midway through the season with Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis and Bernard that we saw with Blount and Doug Martin last year. Not saying Bernard is going to explode like Martin but he can handle responsibilities as an every down back and is extremely talented catching passes out of the back field. Get him while he’s cheap.
LeVeon Bell - If you are looking for running back to give you immediate production this year Bell is your guy, he’s a much bigger back than normal but is extremely athletic and will be able to shoulder a high volume of carries in Pittsburgh as they lean on the run due to lack of receiving options in ’13
Montee Ball - Not extremely talented or athletic and he is walking into a fantasy football nightmare with Coach John Fox at the helm, but as we saw last year with Knowshon Moreno you don’t have to be the most talented running back to be fantasy relevant in the Denver offense.
Christine Michael - Another rookie turning heads in training camp is Michael, who landed in what one would assume to be a bad spot but with Marshawn Lynch’s chronic back spasms and his monster contract, Lynch could become expendable in ’14 making the talented Christine Michael a top fantasy running back behind one of the the best offensive lines in the NFL.
Jonathan Franklin - Oh Franklin…. yes he’s not my number one rookie running back anymore mostly due the uncertain position battle going on between Lacy, Franklin and Harris, it really makes it difficult for me to rank him as high as I want. I think in rookie drafts Franklin is a much better long term prospect than Lacy and has a lot more upside. He could struggle to run between the tackles but it’s not something Packers running backs are ever been required to do frequently anyways so he should be fine.
Marcus Lattimore - We all remember that gruesome knee injury last year and it is said that Lattimore is making a quick recovery. If it wasn’t for the knee injury Lattimore would be a consensus number one ranked running back and after landing in San Francisco it’s almost the perfect spot for him. If you can afford the wait, he is well worth a draft pick as we all know how productive San Francisco running backs are and I think Frank Gore may have one or two seasons left before he has to pass the torch, hopefully to Lattimore.
Latavius Murray – Last year, with a failed Taiwan Jones experiment, the Raiders were forced to use their fullback, Marcel Reece, in place of an injured McFadden. The Raiders decided to give themselves some depth to prevent that happening again by taking a late round pick on University of Central Florida’s Latavius Murray. He is an athletic specimen at 6’2″ 220 and posted outstanding combine numbers with a 4.38 forty and 22 bench press repetitions. Although he lacks the experience of some of the bigger names in the draft, Murray provides a very physical and talented presence in a Raiders backfield full of question marks. With the passing game in shambles and lack of a formidable quarterback, the Raiders should be running a ton in 2013 and should provide Murray the opportunity to show what he’s got.
Eddie Lacy - As mentioned before Lacy will be in competition with Franklin and Harris in Packers training camp. I’m not ruling Lacy out but questions surrounding his conditioning and durability don’t make me excited to use a high pick on him, simply because of the risk.
Zac Stacy - Another interesting running back battle is ensuing in St. Louis as second year running backs Isiah Pead and Daryl Richardson try to fight off rookie Zac Stacy for the starting job. Stacy has that Ray Rice build and running style and when compared to the flashiness of the other two backs, coach Fisher could lean in Stacy’s direction.
Joseph Randle - Still just a backup and rumors are circling that he is loosing the backup spot in training camp due to his lack of progression. Still will the history of the Dallas running backs I would like to own Randle who brings a different element to the an offense with his ability to catch passes out of the back field and make big plays down-field. He will have to prove skeptics that his lack of elite speed and size won’t hold him back.
Andre Ellington - This Arizona backfield is a real mess with four potential starters and a terrible offensive line, but I really like the upside on Ellington and believe ultimately he will be given a shot.
Mike Gillislee - Although flashy in his highlights and in training camp, his big downfall continues to be lack of fundamentals especially ball security which Coach Philbin will not put up with. So far Lamar Miller looks like the lead guy but with Gillislees pass blocking ability I wouldn’t count him out.