Dave Caban reviews the collegiate production of the top-five running backs included in the RotoViz Scouting Index.
Recently, we released Version 1 of the 2019 RotoViz Scouting Index (RSI). The RSI aggregates and compiles NFL prospect rankings from a variety of traditional scouting outlets. It’s useful for approximating a player’s draft stock, which will largely shape his initial fantasy value.
Let’s take a look at the top-five running backs from Version 1 and familiarize ourselves with their collegiate production. In future RSI-focused articles, we’ll consider combine results.
Rushing Production Season by Season
Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs shared touches at Alabama, and as a result, neither back boasts supreme production. However, Harris earned the largest workload, was significantly more efficient and found the end zone more often. For a prospect widely viewed as the best in the class, Jacobs has minimal production. While context needs to be considered, remember that Nick Chubb rushed for 1,000-plus yards three times and scored double-digit touchdowns twice. This was achieved while sharing the field with Todd Gurley and Sony Michel. Michel rushed for 1,000 yards in 2015 and 948 in 2017. That’s not to say that Jacobs can’t succeed at the next level, but his lack of production is hard to ignore.
David Montgomery was essentially the entire rushing attack for Iowa State in his junior season. His weak yards per attempt are a red flag but his market share percentages are some of the strongest you’ll see. Benny Snell, one of the youngest backs in the class, is the most productive of the top-five when you consider his 44 rushing touchdowns. Playing at one of the SEC’s least-storied programs, Snell managed to rush for over 1,000 yards each year of his career while also scoring 13 or more touchdown every season. Like Montgomery, he wasn’t an efficient rusher, but was heavily relied upon.
Darrell Henderson’s 2018 season impresses in every aspect. He managed 8.9 yards per attempt while accruing 1,909 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns! His rushing market shares could have been stronger, but a pattern of repeated production is there.
Receiving Production Season by Season
Montgomery and Henderson compiled the highest receiving totals and based on their college resumes look like the most likely to be involved as receivers at the next level. Given Henderson’s production as a receiver, it’s easier to overlook his rushing market shares. As a point of reference, Duke Johnson recorded 64 receptions, 668 receiving yards, and four touchdowns in three seasons at Miami.
Despite playing a minimal role as a receiver, Jacobs scored four receiving touchdowns and gained more yardage than Harris. Neither jump off the page as receivers but both appear to have more potential than Snell whose profile as a receiver is the least encouraging.
Total Production Season by Season
When combining rushing and receiving production, Henderson is the most accomplished back. Both he and Snell recorded 44 total touchdowns. However, his production as a receiver allowed him to amass 4,290 total yards. Snell managed a total of 3,792 yards but recorded 219 more touches. Of course, this volume helped him to secure impressive total market shares.
In the coming weeks, we’ll consider each back’s production in combination with Combine and pro-day performance.