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.
(7) Curtis Samuel vs (10) Wayne Gallman
(8) Alvin Kamara vs (9) Jeremy McNichols
Kamara is someone the film community has been especially high on during the draft process. In terms of on-field production, he was lacking tremendously at Tennessee, rushing less than 10 times a game and for less than six yards per carry. He did, however, average a studly 3.6 receptions per game.
McNichols looks like the total package right now. He is solid across the board athletically and was a workhorse at Boise State. Much like Jay Ajayi before him, he will enter the league with a tremendous TD resume, scoring 53 times the last two seasons.
Matthew Freedman – Jeremy McNichols: Kamara probably has more hype — but Nichols is younger and was more productive in college. On top of that, while Kamara had a strong combine, McNichols did well on his own. He’s about the same size as Kamara, and he’s also faster. On top of that, as good as Kamara has been as a receiver over the last two years — and he’s been good — McNichols has been excellent, with 88 receptions for 934 yards and 10 touchdowns in 25 games as the starter. If you look closely at McNichols’ combine profile picture, you’ll see that he has an intriguing tattoo across his chest: “Zero RB Upside.”
Anthony Amico – Jeremy McNichols: McNichols is one of my favorite RBs in this class, and I have already started taking him in some MFL10’s with my last pick. He flashed big-time at the Combine, running a 4.49 at 214 pounds, showing strong explosion, and completing the three-cone drill in under seven seconds. He is also an accomplished workhorse with major receiving chops.
Blair Andrews – Jeremy McNichols: Kamara showed impressive explosiveness at the Combine. But his forty time was disappointing for a back who failed to account for even half his team’s non-QB rushing production. McNichols’ production, meanwhile, made up more than 80 percent of his team’s non-QB rushing attack. He also impressed at the Combine, with good speed, explosiveness, and agility.
Scott Smith – Alvin Kamara: I for one am a Kamara fan. There is a smoothness to his game that pops on film. I have no way of justifying Kamara over McNichols in a head-to-head production battle. For me this one comes down to personal preference and a number of excuses to justify the route it has taken Kamara to get to this point. After leaving Alabama, Kamara was able to produce on a lower level and get back to the SEC. While some may argue that Kamara wasn’t even a top-3 runner on the Tennessee roster, I think it is impressive that he was able to gain the starting role before he left. Kamara’s price will likely be high for the production he offered in college, but I personally don’t have a problem paying it and going against the grain. McNichols may end up being the best value among any rookie at any position, but I will still take Kamara.
Heith Krueger – Jeremy McNichols: This is a tough one. Kamara is a guy that has a ton of hype, often being mocked in the first two rounds of the NFL draft. However, I believe McNichols is the superior pick. He displays workhorse potential, touching the ball over 600 times in the last two years, possesses one of the highest Dominator Ratings in the class at 41.4 percent, displays quality receiving ability, and shows above average long speed and agility. Kamara could turn this decision on its head if he lands in a good spot and gets a ton of opportunity, but without that knowledge, I’m leaning McNichols in this matchup.
Shawn Siegele – Jeremy McNichols: McNichols is now up to No. 1 in the RB Prospect Lab in a loaded class.
Jordan Hoover – Jeremy McNichols: Kamara played alongside Jalen Hurd at Tennessee, but for a prospect with his amount of hype, his production profile just doesn’t measure up. McNichols is one of just nine RBs since 2000 to total 3,000 ruYDS, 1,000 reYDS, and 50 total TDs in a career. He’s faster, younger, more productive, and my pick to move on to the next round.
Despite Scott’s best effort to make a case for Kamara, this contest goes to McNichols in a landslide. Kamara has some positives on his resume, particularly his explosiveness and receiving ability, but his overall resume pales in comparison to McNichols. The Boise State grad is somebody I expect the RotoViz staff to be loving as a Zero RB option come the summer.
More on these prospects:
- CFB Chronicles: Alvin Kamara Steps Up
- 2017 NFL Draft Profile: Jeremy McNichols
- CFB Chronicles: Jeremy McNichols Looks Like Doug Martin