The RotoViz Scouting Index (RSI) tracks NFL draft prospect rankings from a variety of traditional scouting sites, giving you quick insight into how incoming rookies are currently being valued over in “real football” land.
This serves as a counterpoint to our usual stats-and-metrics based analysis. Discovering where the stats and film crowds agree and disagree is not only fun but often illuminating. We’ll track the rise and fall of player values throughout the draft season and assess the impact on player fantasy valuations. We’ll be aggregating rankings from a half-dozen popular and well-respected sites.
NFL DRAFT RUNNING BACK PROSPECT RANKINGS
Make sure to read the introductory article to this series so you understand where the data comes from and how the scores are calculated.
THE TOP RUNNING BACK PROSPECTS
With the Draft starting on Thursday, our final RSI has taken shape. Unsurprisingly, there were no changes in the rankings. Saquon Barkley remains firmly atop the standings with a perfect score of 100. Nick Chubb, who Matt Waldman called the most talented back in the class on a recent episode of RotoViz Radio, sits firmly outside the top tier.
Ronald Jones lost a couple of points, and Sony Michel surged into the 80s with a final increase of five points. I was surprised to see this given a recent update on RotoWorld:
On his GM Street podcast, The Ringer’s Mike Lombardi suggested Georgia RB Sony Michel could slip in the draft for medical reasons.
The disparity between the perceptions of RotoViz crew and the Scouts remains stark. Jones didn’t advance past Royce Freeman in the first round of our RB Sweet 16 and Rashaad Penny fought his way into the finals. Earlier in the week, I published my final RB pre-draft rankings. Here’s a quick break down of the differences between my rankings and the RSI.
Caban vs. RSI
Like the rest of the RV team, I’m higher on Penny and lower on Jones than the scouts. While both backs were explosive in college, there’s nothing on Jones’ resume that I can point to that significantly differentiates him from the rest of the class. With Penny, there is his exceptional special teams production and proven versatility in the receiving game. Plus, Penny has a good 15 or so pounds on Jones and could be the faster back.1 To be clear, I don’t hate Jones. I think he’s a solid prospect. However, the 2018 RB class is so strong that it’s hard to rank him higher.
The RB Prospect Lab also prefers Penny. He ties with Derrius Guice for second best in the class with a score of 73 and boasts an impressive group of comps. Jones, on the other hand, gets ranked sixth with a score of 59. To be fair, I do suspect that Jones could have accrued similar production if playing at San Diego State, so the discrepancy between the two players may be overstated.
Rashaad Penny Comps
|LAMAR MILLER||Miami (FL)||20.6||2012||212||4.34||6.94||18.92||106||0.75||1.42||77|
|RYAN MATHEWS||Fresno State||22.65||2010||218||4.37||7||23||150.67||1.58||0.92||74|
Ronald Jones Comps
|JEROME HARRISON||Washington State||22.75||2006||201||4.47||6.79||28||172.73||1.45||2.18||62|
|ANTONIO PITTMAN||Ohio State||21.07||2007||207||4.4||6.84||18.62||94.85||1.08||1.08||62|
|ANDRE BROWN||North Carolina State||22.05||2009||224||4.37||7.35||13.46||59||0.54||2.23||61|
|RYAN MOATS||Louisiana Tech||21.97||2005||210||4.46||7.22||24||147.83||1.5||1.25||61|
|CYRUS GRAY||Texas A&M||22.02||2012||206||4.4||7.17||18||95||1.09||2.82||58|
- The jury is still out as Jones was reportedly less than 100 percent when he ran a 4.48 at his Pro Day. Penny clocked a 4.46 at the Combine. (back)