Long time readers are familiar with Matthew Freedman’s Workhorse Score and Blair Andrews’ Backfield Dominator Rating. Today we dig into the new Box Score Scout and examine the roles that the top 2019 NFL draft prospects played in their respective offenses.
Production translates. That’s the key you need to remember as you prepare for your upcoming rookie drafts. Sure, athleticism matters, especially at RB. That’s why we’ve provided the 20 closest athletic comps for each of the top prospects using the Combine Explorer. And we’ve given you the full production/athleticism picture with the RB Prospect Lab Rankings and the top comps from the Box Score Scout.
But production is what sets apart the superstars and simultaneously allows you to find sleepers like Phillip Lindsay.1 Journey with me as I delve into the advanced production metrics for the top 10 RBs from the most recent RotoViz Scouting Index and add a couple of intriguing deep sleepers as well.
The Recent Stars
The Box Score Scout won’t give you Workhorse Scores or Backfield Dominator Rating directly. Prospect guru Jordan Hoover and Wrong Read savant Blair Andrews are working on those more complex calculations. But it will give you a variety of adjusted market share stats2 that allow you to understand a player’s role within his offense. This gives you a critical piece of the puzzle as you combine it with other elements like draft position, overall production, athleticism, and player comps.
Before we dive into the 2019 class, let’s look at some of the recent stars to provide context. The BSS gives us even more options, but I’ve grabbed the stats that let us peruse the rushing yardage market share, the overall yardage share within the offense, and the TD share within the offense. For each category, we have final season and career numbers.
Recent Star Prospects
- Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, and Dalvin Cook were all rushing monsters, and the career numbers for Barkley and Cook help demonstrate why they were uber-prospects almost from the moment they stepped on campus.
- McCaffrey’s receiving ability put him in a class by himself in terms of total yardage, and he also added over 400 yards on kick returns. This overall package left him undervalued by many projection systems, even after he was a top 10 pick in the reality draft.
- Phillip Lindsay wasn’t invited to the combine and wasn’t drafted, but he got his revenge quickly, posting almost 1,300 yards from scrimmage to go with double-digit touchdowns. Lindsay didn’t come out of nowhere. His college metrics popped even when compared to the stars.
2019 RB Prospects
- While David Montgomery (0.88 ruYDms) receives a lot of justifiable credit for carrying the Iowa State running game, it was another Big 12 back who came in right behind him in rushing market share. Alex Barnes played an even bigger role when we consider overall yardage production (0.43). The former Kansas State Wildcat performed well at the combine and finished with Jay Ajayi and Nick Chubb as two of his three closest physical comps. He’s a player to target in every rookie draft.
- Benny Snell has been plummeting after a poor combine, but his production resume is without peer in this class. He ranks No. 1 in career total yardage share (0.31) and has the most well-rounded profile, coming in near the top of the group in all six categories.
- Trayveon Williams holds solid leads on Darrell Henderson across the board.3 With how close these players are physically, it’s worth considering the less expensive Williams. He’s ranked four spots below Henderson in the RSI. If that holds up in the draft, he could be a bargain.
We’ve discussed the Alabama RBs at some length, and while they’ll likely return solid early-career value if taken on Day 2 of the NFL draft, their resumes don’t hold up well to another pair of recent committee backs.
Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris weren’t the catalysts for the Alabama offense in 2018. And unlike Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, they didn’t establish themselves as big time talents early in their collegiate careers. Of course, the Alabama tandem isn’t expected to go as early as Chubb and Michel did last year, but they’ll likely go much earlier in this weak RB draft than they would have in recent years.
Dive into the Box Score Scout to find out other 2019 nuggets, and keep an eye out for Workhorse and BDR pieces from Jordan and Blair.
- If you followed the workhorse and Dominator Rating series last year, then you were all over Lindsay, and you probably won your league as a result. (back)
- The adjusted stats we’ll look at remove QB rushing numbers and focus on games in which the prospect played. (back)
- Opposing strength of schedule can be used to make either an argument for or against Henderson here. (back)