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.
Today is the start of the Final Four!
(5) D’Onta Foreman vs (9) Jeremy McNichols
This is a battle of a big school, two-down workhorse and a small school, multi-purpose RB. Each of these players has gotten their fair share of effusive praise from the RotoViz staff, but now writers will be forced to choose just one of them.
Pat Kerrane – D’Onta Foreman: Arbitrage Leonard Fournette vs. Abitrage Dalvin Cook. (Except in each case I think the arbitrage play is also the better talent). I’ve gone back and forth on this one, but I’ve landed on Foreman. The deciding factor for me is draft position. Foreman was seven spots higher in the most recent RotoViz Scouting Index, and his 4.45 pro day can only boost his draft stock. I think McNichols has the chance to be a special three-down player if given the chance, but Foreman is more likely to see opportunity right away. I love both guys though, and they’re both priority targets.
Matt Wispe – D’Onta Foreman: According to Kevin Cole’s model, Foreman has the highest score in the class for prospect success and he scores incredibly well in the prospect lab app. Even at the higher acquisition cost, Foreman’s ceiling appears too good to ignore.
Jordan Hoover – Jeremy McNichols: This is an immensely difficult decision between two of my favorite RBs in this class. Both the RotoViz RB Prospect Lab and Kevin Cole’s RB Success Model love Foreman. And he’s still a value, hovering around the top of Round 2 in rookie drafts. McNichols ranked fifth in Cole’s Success Model, ahead of both McCaffrey and Cook, and offers a legitimate arbitrage play of some of the top RBs. I want to land either/both of these prospects, but I’m going with McNichols, who almost certainly can be less expensive in upcoming rookie drafts.
Matthew Freedman – D’Onta Foreman: I love McNichols, but Foreman is now a verified big, fast, young, productive running back from the state of Texas. If Jerry Jones hadn’t just spent a top-five pick on Ezekiel Elliott, Foreman would be a Cowboy in 2017. In fact, he still might end up on the Cowboys. But regardless of where he ends up, Foreman has the talent and athleticism to carve out a role almost immediately.
Justin Winn – D’Onta Foreman: McNichols looks like the guy that Big Draft writes off every year for no good reason who goes on to succeed (See: Johnson, David; Howard, Jordan). But Foreman looks like he ultimately might not be more expensive than McNichols while having a far better profile. Unless you anticipate a tremendous difference in price, then the answer has to be Foreman here.
Anthony Amico – Jeremy McNichols: Foreman may come off the board first in the NFL draft, but I think the drop off in expected opportunity is a lot more from the first round to the second than from the second to the fourth. Foreman could end up being a quality pass-catcher, but I already know that McNichols can do that. He can contribute to an offense in a lot more ways early in his career, giving McNichols both the better ceiling and the better floor.
Shawn Siegele – Jeremy McNichols: Foreman is likely to emerge as a pass-catcher at the NFL level, but McNichols caught 103 passes for over 1,000 yards in college. With size/speed/agility/production comps like Matt Forte, Kevin Smith, and DeAngelo Williams, the Boise State star looks like the perfect fantasy back.
Scott Smith – D’Onta Foreman: Foreman has a solid list of comps with possible outcomes ranging from Andre Williams to Deangelo Williams. Foreman offers the size and speed to emerge as productive 20-carry back. While McNichols offers a production history packed with passing game production, I will take Foreman in a match up that is very close.
In a close matchup where everyone seemingly loves both players, Foreman moves on to the final round. His incredible rushing load and impressive pro-day 40 ended up being the difference in his battle with the versatile and productive McNichols. Foreman will face the winner of Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel in the final.
How they got here: