In most dynasty fantasy football leagues, one of the most important events of the off-season is the NFL Draft. More specifically, it is the rookie drafts where managers can use their rookie picks to add talented players to their rosters. In most formats, the running back position may be the most important since those players can produce right out of the gate. Here is Rookie RB Film Scores Part 2.
For the top 5 rookie running backs, according to my film analysis checkout Part 1 here. Also, in Part 1, I explain my process and the elements that I am evaluating from players’ college tape.
6. Zack Moss – Utah
Film Grade: A-
It is not as though Zack Moss runs fast, although he does possess an ideal combination of size and speed. More importantly, Moss stops fast. What I mean by that is that is his ability to change direction is seamless. Excellent footwork is an important part of Moss’ game to enable quick cutting. He ranks inside the 10 among all rookie running backs for my footwork score.
In fact, Moss is in the top 10 in almost all major categories that I evaluate. The main exception to that is his burst score, which sees him ranked 19th among the incoming RB class. Furthermore, a knee injury in 2018 may have caused him to lose a slight step in top-end speed. That coupled with the lower burst score places him outside the top 5 running backs. However it is Moss’ ability to quickly cut or change direction that makes him an intriguing prospect, and one worthy, in my eyes, of being ranked inside the top 10 for his position.
According to my film score, Moss has 2nd best balance grade, tied with Cam Akers. While Moss’ speed may not scare opponents, the power he runs with certainly could cause some fear. He not only runs well through contact, but Moss also squares up well to defenders, meaning that he is often being hit head-on and not at his sides. That means it is tough to get him to ground since a defender trying to tackle him will get hit with all of Moss’ momentum.
Moss is a capable pass-catcher with good hands. Although his route running was mostly limited to screens, swing passes and the occasional slant out of the backfield. Moss’ mobility and ability to make defenders miss helps him gain yards after the catch.
7. Darius Anderson – TCU
Film Grade: A-
On tape, Darius Anderson demonstrated some of the best footwork of all the running backs in this class. In fact, the only player that I have outlined so far with as good of footwork score is Jonathan Taylor. For instance, Anderson has the all-important ability to keep his feet moving while getting hit. While that does not always translate into extra yards, it certainly helps with keeping momentum through contact.
The ability to keep his forward momentum going also helped his balance score in my evaluation. I have Anderson ranked in the top 10 of all running backs in this class with regards to contact balance. He provides some power in his running, but it is more about continuously moving forward and staying upright for Anderson. Perhaps too upright, as he ranked 21st among rookie running backs in body position score. This is mostly due to Anderson’s tendency to not lower his pads as often. This actually makes his balance score all that more impressive.
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Speaking of impressive, Anderson does demonstrate the big-play ability. I have him ranked at 6th in burst score among the draft-eligible backs. That quick initial burst also couples with good speed. All of this adds up to Anderson being able to score from anywhere.
He can also line up anywhere on the field such as in the slot or out wide. Anderson isn’t limited to only running routes out of the backfield. Even so, he did not demonstrate a productive receiving profile except for his senior season. Also, pass-protection is one area where Anderson needs to make improvements. He seems to have good instincts as to where to be and has the vision to pick up the blitz. However, his technique could use so work as he will often just get in the way of an oncoming pass-rusher. If Anderson could make strides in his ability to stand up to a defender and use his hips to block, he could develop into a 3-down back in the NFL.
8. JaMycal Hasty – Baylor
Film Grade: A-
At 5’9″, JaMycal Hasty is a smaller back but is certainly tough. I rated him with the best balance score of all the RBs in this upcoming class. When evaluating all players’ traits I do not take size into account. Therefore, having the best balance score is thus even more impressive when considering Hasty’s 205 lbs. frame (according to his Sports-Reference page). It’s not so much power, as Hasty is just difficult to bring down.
His initial burst also rivals that of both D’Andre Swift and J.K. Dobbins. Couple that with excellent footwork, and Hasty is a well-rounded runner who could have success in the NFL. Both traits see Hasty ranked in the top among running backs in this class. While he may not be highly touted, Hasty has the required athleticism to play in the NFL.
The only complaint I have for Hasty is that he often runs with an elevated pad level. He may be able to get away with that due to his smaller size and a lower center of gravity. Still, it would nice to see him improve upon this specific technical aspect.
During his college career, Hasty demonstrated several traits that good receiving backs have. His hands are decent, but it is his ability to get open that truly amazes. Hasty will adjust to when his quarterback is scrambling. He will also utilize double moves to get a step away from defenders. While Hasty will never be confused for a contested-catch king, his ability to get open will be a big boost to his draft outlook.
9. A.J. Dillon – Boston College
Film Grade: B+
A.J. Dillon is probably the exact opposite in terms of body type compared to JaMycal Hasty. According to Dillon’s Sports-Reference page, he is listed at 6’0″ 250 lbs. With almost a full back type body, it may seem odd to have him ranked this high on a tailback list.
However, Dillon is not just a big body as he excels in certain categories of my evaluation process. Certainly, no one will ever confuse Dillon for an elusive football player. He can, however, make defenders miss. Not so much with incredible cutting but rather solid footwork. Dillon is constantly setting up his feet and hips in order to confuse defenders. While not a pure outside runner, Dillon is capable of bouncing outside after pressing an inside run. His sense of timing on when to make those types of moves is incredible but also necessary.
That is because arguably the biggest weakness to Dillon’s game is the ability to transition from East-West to North-South. It is for that reason why Dillon is not a pure outside RB. He can work around this weakness with his awareness, anticipation and technique. Still, Dillon could struggle if he lands in an NFL offense that primarily uses outside zone.
One aspect in which Dillon resembles Hasty is that both players tend to run more upright. Furthermore, both backs have a way to get around their elevated pad levels. I already outlined Hasty’s height as a factor, but for Dillon, it is the amount of power that he produces that could make up for his poor body position score. Transitioning to the NFL, Dillon will face stronger defenders then he has ever squared up against. While he was able to be a power back in college, Dillon may initially struggle with that at the next level.
An advantage that Dillon has entering the Draft is that he is a capable pass-catcher. While he bearly reached 20 receptions in his college career, Dillon does have decent hands. It is doubtful that any NFL team will make him their pass-catching back. Dillon should be good enough to play in a 21st-Century offense.
10. Find out in Part 3
Frankly, there are about 4 running backs that are worthy of this #10 spot. Because of that, I believe that it is more appropriate and accurate to feature all of those players in Part 3 of these rankings.
Thank you for reading Rookie RB Film Scores Part 2. Be sure to check out Full Press Coverage between now and the 2020 NFL draft for a variety of great profiles and rankings.