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2009 NFL Rookie Profiles: Running Backs

A look at the 2009 Running Back Rookie Class

The short career span of NFL RB’s puts especially high dynasty demand on each seasons rookie class.  When evaluating rookie RB talent it is especially important to pay attention to skill set (inside running and pass catching ability), collegiate carries (we love underclassmen with less wear and tear) and situation.  Unlike many of the other skill positions, RB's can produce immediately taking your team from zero to hero with a few smart draft selections.   

Knowshon Moreno:

College – Georgia (Redshirt Sophomore Season - 250 carries, 1,400 yds, 16 TD's /  33 rec., 392 yds, 2 TD's) 
Height/Weight – 5’11” 217lbs 
Dynasty Draft Grade - 1st round  
Player Comparison - Tiki Barber, Frank Gore 
Questions – Top Speed 
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spots – Eagles, Chargers, Redskins

Comments - Knowshon Moreno the most talented running back in this years draft . He's a powerful inside runner and has above average pass catching ability. He will not make it out of the 1st round, however shouldn’t crack the top-10.  He has the intangibles to be a top-tier, 3 down back, however his ability to immediately get on the field could be limited by his landing spot and raw blitz pickup ability.  In the right situation however, he can be an impact player from Week 1.  Knowshon has been quoted saying that he "hates to get tackled."  This says something about this young studs passion for football. 

Chris “Beanie” Wells: 

College – Ohio State (Third Year Junior Season - 207 carries, 1,197 yds, 8 TD's / 8 rec. 47 yds, 0 TD's) 
Height/Weight – 6’1” 235lbs 
Dynasty Draft Grade – 1st Round 
Player Comparison – Jamal Lewis 
Questions – Toughness, Desire, Durability, Pass Catching – We’re hoping he was unfairly labeled with these tags because his speed/size skill set could be fun to watch in the NFL. 
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spots – Jets, Patriots, Chargers, Texans, Saints, Browns 

 – Beanie Wells is the prototypical power half of a Running Back committee.  He has an explosive first step and leg drive that can hit a hole and break a tackle, and is noted to have 2nd gear football speed.  He would prefer to juke a tackler than run him over which is worrisome for an inside runner. The NFL is a brutally tough game and toughness is as important as intangibles, we have our questions.  

Donald Brown: 

College – UCONN (Fourth Year Junior - 367 carries, 2,018 yds, 18 TD's / 21 rec., 125 yds, 0 TD's) 
Height/Weight – 5’10” 210lbs 
Dynasty Draft Grade – 1st Round
Player Comparison – Willie Parker, Thomas Jones 
Questions – Collegiate competition, High collegiate number of carries, Blitz pickup, Too many steps in the open field. 
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spot - Browns, Eagles

 – Donald Brown led the nation in rushing yardage and was considered this years top statistical performer for RB's at the combine. His stock continues to rise weekly as he impresses scouts in personal workouts and football inteligence analysis. He is a smart individual who has the ability to grow as an NFL player. Pay close attention to where he ends up. He likely won’t make an immediate impact (premature blitz pickup skills), but in a year or two if he can gain 10lbs without losing speed, he can turn into top-tier NFL talent. 

LeSean McCoy:

College – Pittsburgh (Third Year Sophomore Season - 308 carries, 1488 yds, 21 TD's / 32 rec. 305 yds, 0 TD) 
Height/Weight – 5’10” 198lbs  
Dynasty Draft Grade – 1st Round
Player Comparison – Jerious Norwood, Warrick Dunn
Questions – Durability –needs to gain weight without losing speed 
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spots – Cardinals, Eagles

Comments – LeSean McCoy has the skills to be a first round pick, but will likely fall into the 2nd round due to his size and poor showing at his pro day.  He doesn’t have overly exceptional skills in any one category, however he puts each individual piece together nicely. He doesn’t have the size to be a three-down back, however in the right scheme, he can be highly productive as a multi-purpose back.

Andre Brown:

College – North Carolina State (Fourth Year Senior - 175 carries, 767 yards, 7 TD's / 29 rec., 309 yds, 2 TD's) 
Height/Weight – 6’0” 224lbs 
Dynasty Draft Grade – 2nd Round 
Player Comparison - Ryan Grant
Questions – Durability  
Ideal Fantasy Land Spot - Bucs, Seahawks

 – Brown’s biggest assets are his powerful north-south running ability and his above average pass catching ability from the backfield (29 catches for 309 yds in 2008). He was a top performer at the combine recording 4.49 sec in the 40, pressing 25 reps on the bench and leaping to a 37 inch vertical.  His durability is a major concern however teams will take a flier on Brown as his blend of size, speed and athleticism make him quite intriguing.  

Rashad Jennings: 

College - Liberty (Fourth Year Senior - 264 carries, 1,507 yds, 17 TD's / 24 rec., 190 yds, 2 TD's)
Height/Weight – 6’1” 231lbs 
Dynasty Draft Grade – 2nd Round 
Player Comparison - Marion Barber
Questions – Collegiate competition 
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spots - Texans, Bengals, Colts, Saints, Bucs, Jets, Redskins, Chiefs, 49ers

 – Jennings is a player of strong character. This has moved him up on many teams draft boards. He is a big player with above average pass catching ability.  Some concerns with with weight management issues have been overlooked by his strong performance at the combine and true athleticisim.  Don't let your opinion of Jennings be swayed should he fall to mid-late rounds in this years draft.  His size and skill set is common in this years class, and could potentially be overlooked. 

Cedric Peerman

 – Virginia (Fourth Year Senior - 153 carries, 774 yds, 7 TD's / 44 rec., 193 yds, 0 TD's) 
Height/Weight – 5’10” 216lbs 
Dynasty Draft Grade - 3rd Round 
Player Comparison - Marshawn Lynch
Questions – His small hands are a fumbling concern. His fumble at the Senior Bowl didn’t help. 
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spots - Giants

Comments – Peerman is one of our top sleeper picks. He has been flying under the radar due to his “lack of production” at Virginia. With limited carries Peerman managed to maintain a 5.0 YPC average. What we also really like about Peerman was his stellar performance at the combine with top honors in the 40, bench press, vertical jump and 20 yd shuttle. Most notably his 10 yd time (1.40 sec) was a 0.10 second faster than his closest competitor (Chris Wells 1.50). This statistic is especially intriguing for scouts. 

Shonn Greene:

College – Iowa (Fourth Year Junior - 307 carries, 1,850 yds, 20 TD's / 8 rec., 49 yards, 0 TD's) 
Height/Weight – 5’11” 229 lbs 
Dynasty Draft Grade – 4th Round 
Player Comparison - Rudi Johnson, Ladell Betts
Questions – Football Inteligence (FBI), Weight Management 
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spot - Bucs, Seahawks

Comments – Shonn Greene is a physically bruising runner, primarily suited for short and goal line situations at the NFL level. Greene displayed inadequate physical skills with top performances limited to the vertical and broad jumps at the combine. He has below average pass catching ability (11 college receptions).  Greene's collegiate production should have him ranked higher on teams draft boards, however his game is limited to a small number of offensive schemes.

Jeremiah Johnson:

College – Oregon (Fourth Year Senior - 168 carries, 1,208 yds, 13 TD's / 8 rec., 75 yds, 0 TD's) 
Height/Weight – 5’9”/209lbs 
Dynasty Draft Grade - 4th Round  
Player Comparison - Jamaal Charles
Questions- Dances in the hole too much for his size. Can he find the end zone in short yardage situations. 
Landing Spots – Patriots, Colts, Redskins, Bears

Comments – Johnson was outperforming NFL talent Jonathan Stewart in 2007 before falling to an ACL injury. He lacks the bulk of NFL RB’s of his height however has the speed and vision to succeed at the next level. Catches the ball well. Will get his opportunities if he can find the end zone in short yardage situations.

Javon Ringer: 

College – Michigan State (Fourth Year Senior - 390 carries, 1,637 yds, 22 TD's / 28 rec., 190 yds, 0 TD's) 
Height/Weight – 5’9” 205lbs 
Dynasty Draft Grade – 3rd Round 
Player Comparison – Ahmad Bradshaw, Leon Washington
Questions – Knee injuries (ACL, MCL, missed senior bowl due to knee injury) 
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spots - Colts

Comments – Ringer is an all purpose back that will be a work in progress for an NFL team. His small size generally limits his opportunity, however with some added weight he could eventually emerge as a valuable half of an RB committee. Ringer is a good pass catcher and can use his low center of gravity to find his way across the goal line in short yardage situations. Ringer lacks breakaway speed but has the ability to be coached.