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A Preview Scouting Look at the Top 2020 Devy Prospects (RB)

Air Date:
June 13, 2019

I’m preview scouting 3-5 of the top players at each position (including IDPs) for the 2020 NFL Draft/Devy Dynasty draft class. I’m looking at 2-3 games (against top opponents they faced), looking at their highlight reel, and looking over their output numbers so far. This is not a perfect way to go about this because I like having their final college season to analyze along with the measurables to compare and profile. It’s early, but I like to take this early look and give my instant reaction. Obviously, we’ll be re-looking at these guys again pre-Draft and at the Combine, etc., next year. For now, here’s my quick take.

*In order of worst-to-best by school grades I assigned. Some of these players will be displayed in our top 300+ Dynasty Rookie Draft rankings going forward so you have an idea – they will be classified on team ‘Devy’ (for your searches of them starting with the 6/14/2019 rankings).

RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State 5’10”/205 (Grade: D)

I didn’t get this one at all. This is a top running back prospect? I get that he’s college quick/college good playing for a great program with great blocking, but Dobbins looks like a small wide receiver playing RB…and not in a good way. It’s like his every run is a jet sweep, not what a real RB works/looks like. His tape was forgettable. He only ran for 4.6 yards per carry in 2018…where, if he were ‘real’, he should pop 5-6+ ypc easy on that team/offense. He’s got status because ‘Ohio State’…remember how Mike Weber was going to be the next great Ohio State running back early in his tenure? Dobbins is very mediocre.

RB A.J. Dillon, Boston College 6’0”/235+ (Grade: C-)

Really nice speed/burst for his size. He can get up and go. He has the power RB body but not the power RB mindset. Built for power but runs like finesse…like a sub-200-pound RB. Always running upright and trying to dodge tackles versus just lowering a shoulder and blasting people. His non-confrontational style won’t work in the NFL at his size and speed…great for college, OK/at-risk for the pros. He looked like he had very shaky hands on the few passes I saw him get. Something doesn’t feel right here overall, but the size draws your attention.

RB Travis Etienne, Clemson 5’10”/200 (Grade: B-/C+)

All I kept thinking, watching Etienne tape, was a hybrid of Alvin Kamara and Nick Chubb…has the Kamara burst/confidence with the Chubb exquisite balance taking hits and just staying upright/moving forward. I was also wondering, while watching, how much Etienne was benefited by playing with this dominant team/offense/QB? Etienne is good, but whether he is a ‘B’ or ‘C’ is hard to figure because of ‘Clemson’. Etienne has the burst and balance, is more a 4.5+ runner and not the size you love for his style…he’s a smaller ‘power runner’ and that tends to get exposed at the next level. He’s got talent but may need to change his style at the next level.

RB Najee Harris, Alabama 6’1”/225 (Grade: B/B-)

A big dude who can move…he’s like a more agile, less powerful Derrick Henry. Big, quick, elusive. He just looks full of potential, but it’s hard to say with certainty how high his ceiling is or what his flaws are because he ran as the distant #3 RB for Alabama all 2018. He took 4-8 relief touches in many games, and when he got a bigger workload/had numbers – it was against inferior opponents. We don’t have enough on Harris to really lock in on anything. Don’t know his hands. Don’t know how he’ll do on the 10th-20th carries against Georgia, LSU, etc. There is promise but a lot of ‘incompletes’.

RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia 5’9”/215 (Grade: B/B+)

The most Kamara-like RB that I previewed of this top 2020 RB group. Has that similar Kamara-size and body movements…slithery and a terrific burst. Has a little Tevin Coleman feel running the ball…get him a lane and he’s gone, but the hard part is getting the lane often at the next level. I see Swift way more as a compliment RB in the NFL, as a Kamara-like more than a three-down lead dog RB. He’s not really built like that, but he is super-talented and might be more ‘A’ than ‘B’, but we’ll have to see the measurables to confirm what the eyes tell you (how many people thought Elijah Holyfield was something special on tape last year for Georgia?). .

RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin 5’10”/220 (Grade: A/A-)

Would have been the top RB in the 2019 NFL Draft by a mile. Looks like a modern-day Arian Foster – traditional bigger, power RB with speed who works between the tackles and through traffic like a master craftsman. You watch him play and you can see he just knows what he’s doing and is confident/comfortable running the ball. Great burst through open space/holes, and terrific vision finding his way, patiently picking his spots. Excellent North-South runner, just so-so going East-West…if you cut off the middle and make him go side-to-side, he loses effectiveness. Good hands, despite not used much in the passing game. 2,000+ yards rushing last year, a likely Heisman finalist in 2019. The one concern…Wisconsin tends to have great O-Linemen who spring RBs to huge holes and make them look better than they are…but Taylor is a nice-looking prospect despite that, but some hysteria may be Wisconsin O-Line based.



About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics, and a football projections analyst and writer for Fantasy Football Metrics. 

Learn more about RC and the College Football Metrics system >>