Below you will find our 2012 Rookie Running Back Analysis – Looking for 2012 rookie rankings?
Trent Richardson (RB-Browns)
Height: 5-11, Weight: 224 | College: Alabama | Forty Time: 4.47
Smitty’s Take: (6/8/12) As I mentioned below, this kid is the real deal, and every day we inch closer to the start of the 2012 fantasy football season, Trent Richardson climbs mock draft lists. His current ADP is now all the way into the 2.02-2.06 range. Is he worth that kind of 2012 draft value? Sure, he can earn top 12-14 overall value in 2012, but he has definitely lost some of that “steal” value that he previously held as he was showing up in that third-round range back in both April and May. Again, second-round value is about right, and T-Rich can still thrive past that kind of value… Dynasty leaguers should consider this kid a potential top 5-10 overall player heading into 2013, so trade for him accordingly in dynasty formats.
Smitty’s Take: (4/6/12) Trent Richardson was drafted by Cleveland with the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s 2012 NFL Draft. Cleveland traded up to land the stud-in-the-making, which is an indication that the Browns are committed to building the franchise around the incoming rookie. Honestly, Richardson couldn’t have landed in a better spot. Yes, I also liked Tampa Bay as a potential home for Richardson, but Richardson is getting plugged into a very underrated offense with an underrated quarterback in Colt McCoy. I realize the Browns drafted Brandon Weeden, but that only makes Richardson’s situation even more secure (in case McCoy doesn’t workout). T-Rich is great between the tackles, he has great elusiveness and he has very solid strength. He is good in the pass protection department as well. What kind of numbers should redraft league owners expect in 2012? Well, at 5-11, 224 pounds, Richardson is capable of being an every-down back, and again, Cleveland proved that they have ever intention of making Richardson the focal point of their offense in 2012… this has me projecting roughly 1,200 rushing yards, 25 receptions for 250-300 receiving yards and 8-10 total scores. That’s quite bold for a rookie, I know, but I love the upside in Cleveland… What should dynasty owners expect out of Richardson now that he is in Cleveland? Honestly, I think we could be looking at a top 5-10 overall pick heading into all 2013 fantasy football drafts.
NFL Comparison: Mixture of Steven Jackson and Marshawn Lynch
Isaiah Pead (RB-STL)
Height: 5-10, Weight: 197 | College: Cincinnati | Forty Time: 4.47
Smitty’s Take: (5/23/12) If anyone can be the “Maurice Jones-Drew” of this year’s rookie draft class, it’s Isaiah Pead. While there are some serious similarities between the two in terms of style of play, what I mean by the comparison is that MJD was not even close to a top rookie pick in most 2006 rookie-only fantasy football drafts. He was a “sleeper” or “upside” guy, sure, but he was a middle-round rookie pick that year, at best. Well, Pead is that same guy this year. He won’t go in the top 1-5 picks in most all rookie-only fantasy football drafts, but he could end up being one of the best 2012 fantasy football rookies when all is said and done. ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently reported that the Rams envision Pead as Steven Jackson’s eventual replacement — I agree. We may even see flashes of what is to come by mid-season. Despite only being 5-foot-10, 197 pounds, a lot of teams liked this kid. I urge all of you to watch the video clip below and you will see flashes of Ray Rice. Will Pead be as good as Ray Rice? I’m not saying that he will… however, I’m also not saying that he won’t, though… He has huge upside, but a lot of things still have to happen for Pead to get his shot and stay healthy. Once the top three backs are off the board, don’t hesitate to make Pead the 4th rusher taken in your upcoming 2012 rookie-only fantasy football draft.
NFL Comparison: Ray Rice
Video Clips: Clip 1
Dan Herron (RB-CIN)
Height: 5-10, Weight: 213 | College: Ohio State | Forty Time: 4.66
TBL’s Take: (5/23/12) Dan Herron is a physical 5-10/213-pound running back. He doesn’t have a ton of speed (4.66-40), but has great burst, which he showed off in the shuttle run at the combine (4.4-20 and 11.6-60). Herron is more of a between the tackles, downhill-type runner. He has good vision and has no issues with his ball security. His only real knock is his pass blocking. Herron missed most of his senior season at Ohio State due to some tattoo parlor scandal, but finished with 678 yards and 3 touchdowns with a 5 ypc average. In his junior year, he finished with 1,155 yards and 16 touchdowns with a 5.3 ypc average. Herron is drafted into a great situation with the Bengals. Cincy has a young up-and-coming offense, and with only less-than-stellar Green-Ellis and Bernard Scott in front of him, I feel Herron could make an impact as soon as this season. If Herron can improve his pass blocking, which I feel is his only real weakness, then look out. He is going in rounds 4-6 in rookie-only drafts, which is dirt cheap in my opinion.
NFL Comparison: Warrick Dunn
Doug Martin (RB-Bucs)
Height: 5-9, Weight: 215 | College: Boise State | Forty Time: 4.57
Smitty’s Take: (4/27/12) Doug Martin is in a great spot landing in Tampa Bay. I like Trent Richardson’s situation a bit more, mainly due to Cleveland proving (through trade) that they are committed to one runner, but Tampa is also a great environment… I think Martin has a real chance of securing all first- and second-down duties by mid-season. Martin had a fantastic career over at Boise State, producing two back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons and three back-to-back-to-back seasons with at least 14 total touchdowns. In 2011, Martin rushed for 1,299 yards and 16TDs, and he added 28 receptions for 255 receiving yards and 2TDs. While I’m not absolutely sold on Martin just yet, I think he is easily worth a top 2-3 overall pick heading into all post-Draft 2012 fantasy football rookie drafts. If he does end up securing all first- and second-down duties by mid-season in 2012, I can see Martin producing low-end RB2 type numbers down the stretch. I don’t think he will rush for 1,000 yards as a rook, but 5-7 scores isn’t impossible if he is getting the touches in Weeks 8-17.
NFL Comparison: Ray Rice
David Wilson (RB-Giants)
Height: 5-10, Weight: 206 | College: Virginia Tech | Forty Time: 4.49
Smitty’s Take: (4/27/12) David Wilson was drafted by the Giants with the No. 32 overall pick in this year’s 2012 NFL Draft. At first glance, this doesn’t feel like a great landing spot, there is actually some potential here. Don’t get me wrong, there are a handful of better situations Wilson could have been pulled into, but Ahmad Bradshaw (knees, ankles, feet) isn’t exactly a lock to play even 10 games per season. Bradshaw plays hurt, sure, but that will eventually catch-up to the running back, and Wilson will be embedded in a relatively-productive long-term situation. So, after an impressive Combine showing, where Wilson ran a 4.49 forty, the quick runner could be one of those slow-progressing rookie rushers in 2012. This is one of those situations where I envision the rookie getting a shot near the tail-end of the season. His ability to catch the ball will eventually have him filling that role Bradshaw commands — That will eventually lead to big things — fantasy owners just might have to wait 1-2 seasons, unless of course Bradshaw gets hurt in 2012, which again is very possible.
NFL Comparison: Reggie Bush/Darren Sproles