On December 29, New Mexico State takes on Utah State in the third NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. One New Mexico State player who is likely to go somewhat overlooked is their starting running back, Larry Rose III.
Rose is a 5-foot-11, 195-pound true senior. He’s likely to go overlooked come draft season because he’s only rushed for 792 yards on the year. But overlooking him would be a mistake, for several reasons.
First, his 49 receptions for 474 receiving yards rank him third in both categories among FBS RBs. And when we give some context to his rushing production, it becomes more impressive. Even though Rose did not surpass 1,000 rushing yards this year or the year before,1 he did rush for over 1,000 yards in both his freshman and sophomore seasons. In 2015, as a sophomore, he ranked seventh in the nation in rushing yards. He’s averaged over 100 rushing yards per game over his career.
Rose also played on a team that, at least in 2017, leaned heavily toward a passing offense. The Aggies average nearly 49 passing attempts per game this season, and only 27 rushing attempts. Only one team, Washington State, averaged more passing attempts than New Mexico State.2 This means that even though Rose’s rushing yards are lower than you’d like to see, he actually accounted for more than 70 percent of his team’s non-QB rushing yards, and 90 percent of his team’s non-QB rushing touchdowns, giving him a non-QB Dominator Rating over 0.8. New Mexico State did not play in any blowouts in 2017, so Rose’s Workhorse Score matches his nQBDR: 80.26. This score would have ranked ninth in the 2017 class.
As mentioned above, Rose has so far failed to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in 2017.3 However, he’s reached that mark in two previous seasons, and was on pace to do so in a third season that was shortened by injury. Coming into 2017 he had averaged more than 113 rushing yards per game. In 2017 he’s averaging only 72, but this is almost totally explained by his team shifting to a pass-heavy offense, as New Mexico State attempted 126 more passes in 2017 than they did in 2016. This in turn explains why his nQBDR, College Dominator, and Workhorse Score in 2017 are actually above his career averages.
|Season||RuYds||RuTDs||ReYds||ReTDs||nQBDR||College Dominator||Workhorse Score|
Rose enjoyed his best statistical season, both from a counting-stats and a market-share perspective, in 2015, his sophomore season. His 2015 Workhorse Score of 92.22 would have been the best score in the 2017 draft class. His 2016 Workhorse Score of 87.98 was better than any back who was drafted last year.
Athleticism and Ranking
NFL Draft Scout gives Rose a projected 40 time of 4.54, a disappointing result for a back on the small side. But it does give us an input for the RB Prospect Lab. I’ll assume a league-average weight-adjusted 3-cone time of 6.99. No matter whether we use Rose’s best season (his sophomore season) or his final season, the Prospect Lab gives him a score of only 38. This score puts him just below Dion Lewis, who appears to be a very similar player from a size-speed perspective. Rose’s size and underwhelming projected athleticism make it unlikely he will rise far above his current NFL Draft Scout rank of 27th among RBs.
Judging by his production, especially earlier in his career, this ranking could be undervaluing Rose’s skill set. Rose has previously been a workhorse like we’ve rarely seen in recent seasons. And he’s the sort of prospect—a small RB at a small school—that the Workhorse Score is especially good at identifying. NFL front offices and fantasy owners alike would be wise to pay closer attention to Rose leading up to the NFL Draft.
- He played in only nine games his junior year. (back)
- And the only RBs with more receptions than Rose both play for Washington State. (back)
- He would need 208 rushing yards on Friday to reach 1,000—he’s had at least that many yards three times over his college career, and in one other game he had 207 rushing yards. (back)