2018 Running Back Class

Discussion in 'NFL Draft' started by Tim, Oct 12, 2017 at 10:31 AM.

  1. Tim Administrator Commissioner

    1. Saquon Barkley - Penn State
    2. Derrius Guice - LSU
    3. Kalen Ballage - Arizona St.
    4. Ronald Jones II - U.S.C.
    5. Sony Michel - Georgia
    6. Damien Harris - Alabama
    7. Royce Freeman - Oregon
    8. Nick Chubb - Georgia
    9. Myles Gaskin - Washington
    10. Bo Scarbrough - Alabama
    11. L.J. Scott - Michigan State
    12. Warren Ball - Akron
    13. Justin Jackson - Northwestern
    14. James Butler - Iowa
    15. Mike Weber - Ohio State
    16. Ray Lawry - Old Dominion
    17. Jalin Moore - Appalachian St.
    18. Chase Edmonds - Fordham
    19. Lavon Coleman - Washington
    20. Akrum Wadley - Iowa
    21. Jarvion Franklin - E. Michigan
    22. Ralph Webb - Vanderbilt
    23. D'Ernest Johnson - S. Florida
    24. Osharmar Abercrombie - Coastal Carolina
    SportsFanatic and Will like this.
  2. Tim Administrator Commissioner

    When it comes to changes and wild swings in rankings, the positions that are affected the most would be the running backs, wide receivers and defensive backs. Throughout the year I might have players shift 3 full rounds both up and down the board as more and more information becomes available (both from other sources and through my own increased detailing).

    There were some mild surprises when putting together scores but the biggest notables would be the following -

    First, I believe this is a talented RB class with initial scores showing 3 backs with potential mid to high first round grades, 5 backs with mid to high second round grades and 10 backs that fit into the rounds 3 and 4 categories before a fall off into grades for late round picks.

    Second, Sony Michel's initial score puts him higher than Nick Chubb, something that I don't believe a lot of people will be in agreement with.

    And third, the block of L.J. Scott, Warren Ball, Justin Jackson and James Butler is one of the better grouping of mid level backs that I have seen in a couple years and they might represent some extreme value in the draft.

    For those that have already done some research on this draft class they may be surprised to see D'Ernest Johnson so low on the board. Johnson's initial scoring is very flat all around and that doesn't bode well for him to make a significant upswing as I work towards the final predraft number. He's the biggest disappointment so far for running backs.
    firehalo likes this.
  3. Tim Administrator Commissioner

    I have a list with several other names that I will be looking at when I start the second round of number crunching. If you have a player in particular you would like to see added to the list, please post his name and I will write it down with the others.
  4. firehalo M.V.P. Penguins Steelers

    I've been seeing Barkley struggle from time to time this season. PSU's competition hasn't been that good yet either. He has only cracked 100 yds twice so far this season. Is he really #1? That worries me for the rest of the class to be honest. I like Gaskin. He's set to pass Steele for #4 on UDub's All-Time Rushing Yds list this weekend. Gaskin is a junior and that leads me to mentioning ... Bryce Love. I don't see him on the list. He's a junior too and although he having an unbelievable season, he may be considered "under-sized" by NFL standards (5'10"/196). I also like Rashaad Penny of SDSU (Marshall Faulk). He has good hands and is a ST asset as well, so he could make an NFL team via that route if a backfield is already stacked.
    Tim likes this.
  5. Will Hall-of-Fame Staff Member Official Vikings Redwings

    Curious where you might rank Terry Swanson from Toledo. Now that Hunt is in the NFL, Swanson has been doing well with the work load he's inherited. Might have rolled his ankle, but barring his latest injury does he even crack into the list somewhere? Just curious... he is carrying at a 4.6 YPC with 5 TD's in a handful of games. I know he's no Hunt, but could he be an NFL'er?
    Tim likes this.
  6. Tim Administrator Commissioner

    At just 6 games in, if you look at Barkley's reception totals this season he has already caught more passes (29) than he did all of last season (28) and his yardage has almost eclipsed last season's mark (407 total in 2016, 395 so far in 2017). The dynamic of the offense has changed some but he is on pace to have over 600 yards more offense from scrimmage than he did last season. That's a very significant increase, one that can't be ignored and the fact that he is being asked to do more in the passing game and it's actually raising his level of productivity makes his case for the #1 overall back (and potential #1 overall pick) all the stronger.

    I know that I have Bryce Love on my extended list but I don't believe Rashaad Penny is on there. I'll make a note of it now and double check when I'm back in the office.
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  7. Tim Administrator Commissioner

    I'll mark him down and add him in. :)
    Will likes this.
  8. firehalo M.V.P. Penguins Steelers

    This good stuff. A very welcoming break from...
    ... in the Politics mire.
    Tim likes this.
  9. dlinebass5 Franchise Player Bears

    What are your thoughts on Mark Walton, out of Miami? I know he's done for the season (most of Miami's real contributors are injured, at this point), but what are your thoughts on what you saw prior to the injury?

    RB is definitely one of the swingiest positions. I feel really bad for Nick Chubb, and his injury history - he looked phenomenal, not long ago. Kid has had it rough. I hope he crushes it at the next level.
    Tim likes this.
  10. dlinebass5 Franchise Player Bears

    Also, as a team with no prospects for this season...

    Thank you for bringing up some substantial draft talk, Tim. It is greatly appreciated, as firehalo above said.
    Tim likes this.
  11. Tim Administrator Commissioner

    I didn't have Mark in my first grouping of players to score. The lists that I'm putting up are actually compiled from a set of numbers that I have been putting together for the last 3 months. If a players name is not on my starting list the only time I view them is when I am scouting another player so any opinion I'd give right now would be pretty vague.

    I'll add his name to the list for the second go round.
  12. dlinebass5 Franchise Player Bears

    Right on. Always interesting to hear about how you do stuff, and what you think. No rush - clearly, he's not going to be adding game film, this year, which is a shame.
  13. Tim Administrator Commissioner

    I've started in on putting together the initial scores for safeties today. It will probably be right after Thanksgiving that I will add and change some numbers that will affect the original scores.

    To put it in perspective - This first number for running back is usually in the neighborhood of 330 (very good) to 240 (about average for the position). The final number will be closer to 690 (very good) and 480 (average).

    The first number is derived from a basic set that is limited in scope. It includes 6 factors that are graded on a simple 1-60 scale.

    The second number includes those first 6 totals refined, then adds 4 more numbers that have more specific details.

    The third number is done in triplicate, but it's mostly checks and balances. It starts with the most recent total and adds 2 more measurements. Then, I find players that have had a similar total, style and physical frame and compare them in a one on one setting (it's just a method to make sure I'm being as unbiased as possible). Finally, I take a blank sheet with all 12 factors and watch one game of what would be considered their average output and score all 12 at once, from scratch. I'll compare that number to the one I have been working on to see if there is anything that is way off the mark between the two. Once I wrap that up, this will be the number I use going into the combine.

    Now, if all of that checks out with the numbers that they put up in shorts, I'm confident in my assessment and the rest of my time is spent looking at where they may land and what my favorite situations are as a pro. If their combine doesn't jive with my evaluation, I take both sets of numbers and go back to the film to see where I made a mistake, where that players team potentially helped or hurt their score, or to see if there is possibly another factor that slipped through.

    It sounds like a lot, but after doing it for so long it's actually pretty quick because I am unconsciously viewing all 12 factors at once. I don't think about doing it, but when I start putting numbers to measurements I have a pretty solid read on what range it will be in from scouting them previously.

    And to put in perspective the scoring difference between running backs and quarterbacks - because of the difference in measurables involved an all world quarterback score would be 1100, and that would be a player with a combination Tom Brady/Michael Vick skill set. Very good is 910 and up, with 670 being about average (that's average collegiate level, not average NFL level).
    IrishDawg42 and SportsFanatic like this.
  14. SportsFanatic Special Teams

    Any chance on letting us know what some of those numbers are for or how you make them?
    Tim likes this.
  15. SportsFanatic Special Teams

    I've seen Walton live and he's damn good. He has to be one of the top backs next year.
  16. Tim Administrator Commissioner

    Umm... no, lol.

    You already know most of the factors involved and we have discussed different features that go into it. There's only a few takes on things for each position that are really my own but where the difference shows comes down to how I weight them and what the threshold is for each individual metric. That's where the combine is extremely helpful because of how it puts an exacting numeral on certain criteria. Some people use each drill to show certain aspects and I agree with a lot of the consensus but I also have my own markers and how it relates to different portions of a players game.

    To keep it running back specific - If I find a player with what I consider a prototypical 3 down build that hits the under on several markers and the over on a couple others, chances are that player is going to be a stud in no matter what system he plays in. Now, those numbers themselves are fluid because of the difference in potential 3 down back prototypes. You have your mauling runners, your elusive runners, your all around backs and the 3 yards and a cloud of dust type. Each of these has a prototype build and a different set of markers to go with that build. To further complicate matters, each of those backs would excel in certain systems, work well in others and possibly struggle to start their career in some. That's the reason why I re-rank picks after the draft (plus, it goes directly towards the fantasy rankings that I work on).

    So the variables are endless. You could have a player that is 6'2" and 240 pounds that has plodding feet and no hands but he lowers the boom and powers for consistent yards. That player has certain measurables that have to be weighted different than a 5'9", 200 pound quick back that can move like he's ice skating, catch anything thrown to him and gets knocked over by a stiff breeze.

    Now, take that same build (5'9", 200) and we'll say his college game is that of a power runner. Can he do the same at the pro level? He will need to hit certain markers that suggest that or else the chances of him continuing to bang down defenders as a pro gets slimmer and slimmer.

    Then once you have it tailored to the specific player, you have to scale it against the aggregate to know what his potential weaknesses will be and then cross that against player type and build.

    Again, it sounds like a lot but most of the work is already done because of the past seasons that I have compiled the data on. Every now and then I will discover something that makes me rethink a portion of how I interpret my own information but it's a tweak to the existing formula rather than a complete rebuild.
  17. dlinebass5 Franchise Player Bears

    Welp, Tim, I love it. I like to do amateur scouting, on my own, but it's nowhere close to this. I don't use number values anywhere near that extent, nor am I as thorough in my documentation. I watch a lot of film, and write down what I see, but I'm nowhere near the Rainman stuff you've got going on. The insight is much appreciated. If I want to make this scouting thing a reality (which I do), I'm going to have to step up my game.

    I hope so. Losing him is such a huge blow to this team, down in Miami. They've always got talented players at the position, but this is a pretty weak year for them (maybe the weakest I've seen in recent memory), and Walton was the stud that kept the offense running. I'm not sure they'll be able to survive these injuries, especially with the brunt of their ACC schedule still to come.

    My concern is similar to what Tim talks about - translating to the next level. I haven't watched enough of him this year to say one way or the other, so I'll have to go back and review, myself.
    Tim likes this.
  18. Tim Administrator Commissioner

    lol, it's nowhere near Rainman.

    Are you thinking about travel scouting as a career or online scouting?
  19. dlinebass5 Franchise Player Bears

    Either. I love doing it, I just don't ever get to spend the time on it that I'd like, between all other jobs.
    This past draft I flirted with trying to put together a full report on every player I could, and sending it into teams/agencies/etc. I ended up doing most CB's, and a large number of DT's and RB's. Then I just got down on myself, being that I didn't really have a system of any kind, like you've got going on, and relegated myself to keeping it amateur. Every year I get ideas of grandeur before I wuss out.

    Getting to talk with people like yourself and the guys who do similar to myself over on the Bears board is a highlight of my year.
  20. Tim Administrator Commissioner

    If you decide to get more involved with it, having a basic template for each position to organize your breakdowns is the first step to take.

    Let me know if you want to work on one and I can help out in my extra time.

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