With this week’s #PickSix, the attention turns to the ballcarriers that are draft eligible. A lot of fans, due in large part to how good Ezekial Elliott looked this past year, have started to suggest that the New York Jets and other teams should take a running back in the first or second round. I’ll break down what I would do if i’m the Jets, and what I predict they will do. On to the running backs…
1. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Positional Ranking: 1 (Last Week: NR)
Overall Ranking: 2
Stats: 687 carries, 4464 yards, 6.5 YPC, 46 TDs, 79 REC, 935 yards, 2 TDs
Compliment: best offensive player in the entire draft; tougher than expected runner will break tackles; shifty and explosive with the ball in his hands
Critique: not really a power back, so concern about whether he can withstand an NFL pounding; has had shoulder issues in past; while a very good blocker, has made mistakes in pass protection
2. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Positional Ranking: 2 (Last Week: NR)
Overall Ranking: 17
Stats: 616 carries, 3830 yards, 40 TDs, 41 REC, 526 yards, 1 TD
Compliment: one of the most violent runners i’ve seen in recent memory; great speed that allows him to get away from linebackers once he hits the second level; reminds me of Ezekial Elliott in regards to his conviction as a runner
Critique: Is not a good receiver by any measure, and drops too many passes; not a good pass blocker especially for a back his size; has been lazy in protecting the ball at times
3. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Positional Ranking: 3
Overall Ranking: 38
Stats: 632 carries, 3922 yards, 21 TDs, 99 REC, 1206 yards, 10 TDs
Compliment: incredibly explosive for a running back as big as him; great vision and ability to set blocks up; woul have been the best receiver in this class if he hadn’t played running back
Critique: struggles to hold blocks for very long, which is (like Fournette) strange for a back his size; not a very physical runner, relying more on his athleticism; can he be a running back in the NFL or is he better suited for a role like Tavon Austin or Ty Montgomery
4. Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
Positional Ranking: 4
Overall Ranking: 42
Stats: 210 carries, 1294 yards, 16 TDs, 74 REC, 683 yards, 7 TDs
Compliment: elite quickness; not a dancer behind holes, much more of a north/south runner; very good pass catcher and route runner
Critique: his size prevents him from maintaining a good base when pass blocking; has not been a feature back before, so I have questions about what exactly his ceiling is in the NFL; struggles to get yards after contact
5. D’onta Foreman, RB, Texas
Positional Ranking: 5
Overall Ranking: 74
Stats: 431 carries, 2774 yards, 20 TDs, 13 REC, 146 yards, 0 TDs
Compliment: excellent vision; displays excellent change of direction; best between the tackles, but with enough of an initial burst to be effective on sweeps and tosses
Critique: no talent as a receiver out of the backfield; has struggled to protect the ball; struggles as a pass blocker
6. Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
Positional Ranking: 6
Overall Ranking: 100
Stats: 782 carries, 4945 yards, 44 TDs, 73 REC, 555 yards, 1 TD
Compliment: great after contact; excels at planting his foot and exploding through holes; patient runner that lets his blocks develop
Critique: body catcher that doesn’t look the ball in; lowers his head to pass block, which limits his ability to block as well as he could; not very versatile
On The Clock With The Jets
Dalvin Cook is the only running back i’d take at 6. He is a franchise back that reminds me of Ladainian Tomlinson, which isn’t praise I dole out lightly. The Jets would have to release Matt Forte or Bilal Powell in order for me to feel comfortable taking him because I wouldn’t trust the Jets offense to actually use the running backs the way they should and Cook would just be relegated to a role not suited for a player of his caliber.
Leonard Fournette reminds me ALOT of Marion Barber, and I wouldn’t take him at 6. If the Jets traded back to the middle/back of round one, I could see a scenario where the Jets take him then. I think he is very different than Forte and Powell, and taking him at the end of round one allows him to be a change of pace back for the team. I don’t trust him to withstand the punishment of being a feature back for more than three or four seasons.
Christian McCaffrey is going to be a weapon in this league, and while I would absolutely not consider him at 6 the Jets would be wise to find a way to school him up in this draft because the offense needs a home run hitter other than Quincy Enunwa. McCaffrey can be that kind of guy with the ball in his hands, whether its out of the backfield or lined up as a wide receiver. He will make the job of whoever the QB is substantially easier.
I like Kamara, and as a depth piece that you can add later in the draft he represents great value. Adding him to the RB stable would be a good value selection in rounds 3 or 4. The same applies for Foreman, who I wouldn’t want as my primary ballcarrier but his style of running compliments Forte and Powell.
Hunt, if healthy, is going to be the steal of this draft because he went to Toledo and teams will overlook him based on that alone. He is a stud, and adding him in round 4 will allow the Jets to add their future starting RB similar to how the Giants added Paul Perkins.
I think the Jets pass on Cook and Fournette, but find a way to add McCaffrey in round two.
Photo Credit: LSU.com