Running Back Writers’ Battle – ROUND 1
It’s back again! The chance for the 5 Yard writers to big up some Running Back rookies from the 2022 class.
We took the first four Running Backs that got picked in the NFL draft and randomly assigned them to a redraft writer. And it’s their job to convince you that their guy is the one for you.
Read each of the arguments, and vote on the related 5 yard Twitter poll – let’s see which of our Running Backs comes out on top.
Breece Hall – Stacey (@sdcochran99)
Breece Hall played three years at Iowa State. During his three year college career he had a total of 3,920 rush yards on 715 attempts with an average of 5.48 per attempt. He also had 735 yards receiving on 82 receptions. While there he had a total of 53 touchdowns and only 4 fumbles in three years.
In 2019, his breakout game came in game 7 against West Virginia. He ran for 132 yards on 26 bcarries with 3 touchdowns. He ran over 100 yards per game, on four different times that year and never fumbled all year.
In 2020, in 12 games played that year he saw eight of them go over 100 yards. In only his second season he led the FBS in rushing and also was Offensive POY in the Big 12. Was also a unanimous first team All-American.
In 2021, he had 7 out of 12 games played where he rushed for more than 100 yards and one game for over 200 yards. For the second straight season he was also Offensive POY and was a consensus All-American.
I have no crystal ball to tell us if Breece will be the beast that we hope he will be, but we do have some other good information to take into consideration.
First, the Jets did move up to take him. I always believe there are players we like and then there are players you love. With the Jets making this move , I do believe they love him. They see a place for him to fit into this offense as either to be a bell cow or someone that is complementary to Michael Carter.
Second, he is a bell cow. His last two seasons at Iowa State he touched the ball for 590 times. That is more than any other running back in the country. Only had 4 fumbles in three years, he knows how to hold onto the ball. He had 194 broken tackles, which was the most in FBS over his three years at Iowa State.
Third, he is physically tough! At 5’11 and 217 pounds, he is built low to the ground and has great balance. His running style has been compared to Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook.
KENNETH WALKER – Adam (@AdamM_NFL)
You want to know who the number one rookie running back will be? Well look no further than Michigan State’s very own Kenneth Walker. He might sound like an old man, but this kid can motor. His combine time of 4.38 over 40 yards shows that when he gets the lanes, he will be gone. Not only that, but at 5’9” and 211lbs he is the perfect size to be a strong running back in the NFL.
Walker spent two years at Wake Forest before moving on to Michigan for his final year in college. During that year he played 12 games, had 263 attempts, 1,636 yards and 18 TD’s. Not only did he do that, but he also only had one fumble! Due to this Walker became the Walter Camp Player of the Year and the Big Ten Running Back of the year.
He has the pedigree, but does he have the situation? Well, the Seahawks are in a big transition period after they traded away star QB Russell Wilson. Replacing him with Drew Lock and keeping Geno Smith wont fill Seahawks fans with confidence. However, it is perfect for Walker. Both QB’s are not as good as Wilson and head coach Pete Carroll is desperate to run the ball more. The Seahawks had 413 rush attempts last season, with only five teams rushing the ball fewer times. That is expected to change!
Obviously, Walker won’t just walk in and take all the running work, but he has a great chance to see plenty of the ball. When you look at the Seahawks depth chart there are reasons to see why. Chris Carson is now the veteran in the running back room, but he is coming back from a serious neck injury. Rashaad Penny had a good year last season but has struggled in the past and DeeJay Dallas has shown very little.
On top of that Alex Collins and Adrien Peterson are no longer on the team. That’s 146 attempts available after their departure. Also, with the picks of o-linemen Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas you would expect more running lanes for the running backs. Its not a dead cert that Walker will be the number one rookie running back but he has the ability and opportunity to succeed early on.
James Cook – Pittsy (@PittsyNFL)
We all know the calibre that Breece Hall and Kenny Walker enter the NFL with. We’re not here to talk about those Running Backs. We’re here to talk about Dalvin’s younger brother.
Unfortunately, Cook was never given the chance at being the lead back over his four college seasons. That, as we know, comes with being a Georgia Running Back.
In year 1 and 2, Cook was behind D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield. Both rushed for over 1000 yards each. But something to note is that Cook was actually the 2nd Running Back on the receivers list – behind only Swift.
Once Swift departed, Zamir White came along and, having the pedigree as a highly rated recruit, took the lead role. However, Cook moved up to 4th OVERALL on the receiving list!
Cook improved his stats each season and 2021 was his best. Cook got over 100 attempts for the first time, rushing for 728 yards and 7 TD’s. He also landed 5th overall on the team’s receiving list – but was the top receiving back adding another 4 TD’s.
Cook had a nice average of 6.5 rushing yards per attempt and 11 receiving yards per reception in his 4 years as a Bulldog.
Now in the NFL
Cook now finds himself behind another lead rusher – but don’t let that put you off.
The Bills used a 2nd round pick on Cook. Moss didn’t step up like the Bills wanted, so that secondary role is there for the taking. The potential to start sniping carries from Singletary could happen too, especially with that invested draft capital.
But it’s Cook’s ability in the receiving game will benefit this offense – and could help Cook see the ball a lot more. His expected work in this area is where Cook’s real fantasy value lies. Whilst Hall is battling Carter for targets and Walker can’t catch a cold, I expect Cook to be heavily featured in Buffalo’s passing attack. In PPR, that’s quite the bonus!
Cook is as cheap as they come. You can take Cook as the 48th RB, finding him in the 12th round. That means if he steps up, you are getting a bargain. Especially when you look at Hall and Walker’s draft capital. Why draft Hall or Walker early when you can draft any RB2 and Cook later on? You load up on receivers in-between the RB2 and Cook, and that’s a sure-fire winning recipe. A stud RB1, a solid RB2 and Cook’s upside late on? Win win.
Rachaad White – Lewis (@lvenes1)
With pick 91 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Bucs selected Rachaad White from Arizona State. A breakout 2021 season for the Sun Devils fired White up everyone’s pre-draft rankings. Expected to be a complimentary piece to Leonard Fournette in Florida, White could become a much more focal point of the offense.
With Tom Brady back slinging the rock, White will benefit immediately with his elite pass catching upside. Chris Godwin isn’t a sure thing for week 1. Gronk still hasn’t re-signed. And, we all see what happened with Antonio Brown. White went for 456 receiving yards last season and 1 Touchdown. I’d expect more of the same, catching balls off the GOAT!
The 23 year old is a tough player to bring down. He runs a 4.48 40 yard dash and is a Touchdown threat from anywhere on the field with his speed. His silky smooth running and ability to gain yards falling forward played into his 1,006 rushing yards last year and 15 scores on the season. That got him 2nd team All-Pac12 honours in the process.
It’s not been plain sailing for Rachaad since leaving High School. The boy from Kansas City, Missouri, started his collegiate career at Division II Nebraska-Kearney. He redshirted his freshman year before transferring to Mount San Antonio Community College. A sophomore year of 1200+ yards and 10 scores earned him that Division 1 transfer.
Not afraid of competition, White will immediately jump up the depth chart at Raymond James. Leaving potential camp competition Ke’Shawn Vaughn(Round 3, 2020 draft flop) and 30 year old Giovani Bernard(Entering year 10 in the league) firmly in his rear view mirror. And, will in turn push Leonard Fournette.
Fournette hasn’t himself always been a workhorse back. Averaging 7 Touchdowns a year in his NFL career, there’s still plenty of room for White to be relevant. Also Lenny has never played a full regular season in the NFL. Missed time through injury in all 5 seasons has led to an up and down fantasy output.
In conclusion, Rachaad White could help keep Fournette on the field whilst also eating into his workload. If Fournette produces a top 10 finish in PPR(Like he has 3 times previously), White still has clear RB2 upside. If Fournette goes down at any point, White’s pass-catching ability will lead a nice path for an RB1 finish in PPR.
Who wins? YOU DECIDE
Some compelling cases, but who sold their player the best?
Give us your vote on which Running Back had the best arguments made in their name. And join us next time for another Writer’s battle for the second set of four Running Backs!