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Home / Commentary / Fantasy Rookie Draft: Running Backs – Part 1

Fantasy Rookie Draft: Running Backs – Part 1

Carlos Hyde, Ohio State

If told to give a write-up on him in one sentence it’d be
Eddie Lacy

with proven passing game abilities. I realize that may be an unrealistic expectation given Lacy’s first year in the league, but that’s exactly who he reminds me of on the field. There are subtle differences between the two; some good and some bad. Lacy has an exceptional spin move whereas Hyde is more agile in the open field. Hyde comes out with a relatively clean bill of health while Lacy had questions all around him, causing his draft day tumble to Green Bay. It’s not that Lacy lacks passing game skills; it’s just that he hasn’t been given the opportunity to display them in a game setting. Hyde has shown them on tape, especially catching the ball; adjusting very well for a man his size with the ball in flight.

Both share many qualities, too, which is why I compared them. They are both runaway freight trains once getting a full head of steam. Unlike most big backs, they don’t take an extended period of time to get up to speed in large part because they are so light on their feet. They both get better as the game goes on and the defense tires from the pounding they have been given by the power backs all game.

Others in this class could develop into three down backs, but Hyde is the only one that is there right now. It would take a unique situation for me to draft Hyde over
Sammy Watkins

but in the battle of
Mike Evans

or Hyde it will all come down to where they go. Both are legit.

Jeremy Hill

When I wrote above that there are other backs in this class that could develop into three down players but are not there right now, Hill is the first one that immediately came to mind. From a prototypical standpoint, Hill displays all of the physical traits that Hyde does. Substance? Not so much. While his use was limited he has shown some of the same passing game chops that Hyde has. However, he does not consistently run with the same level of intensity throughout the game as Hyde and he has a bad habit of breaking things outside if he cannot immediately identify the hole in the line. Both of these problems could become detrimental to his career if not corrected as defenses will eat up both of these problems on gameday. Simply put, he needs a strong leader that will motivate him to play at a high level from the first to last snap and teach him to be disciplined enough to not bounce plays outside so often.

I am keeping expectations tempered for Year 1, although I would not be surprised if he is an immediate success because of the skill set he is working with, but if he shows development in these two key areas as the season goes on his outlook for 2015 and beyond will be very bright. It’s going to depend on the situation, but he could flirt with a top 5-7 pick come rookie draft day. More realistically, he’s a target for a team on the back end of Round 1 that does not need to start him in 2014.

Lache Seastrunk
, Baylor

He’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma. There is zero passing game tape on film as Baylor believes in separation of duties. He displays all of the necessary physical tools to be an asset in the passing game, but he is a pure projection in that regard at this point in the draft process. His running game film is incomplete as well. Like the passing game, he displays all of the physical traits one would want, but the film does not display every skill needed to be successful in the NFL. Baylor’s super spread offense (seriously, their wide receivers line up outside of the hash mark, almost on the sideline) opened up bigger holes for Seastrunk to display his best skills; making plays in the open field. He did not have to navigate much traffic throughout his college career and he won’t have that luxury in the NFL.

I am confident in saying that if put in a spread offense at the very least he will be an above average No. 2 running back once he starts getting those touches. He will have some games that win you weeks by himself, and if he develops in the passing game he is a legitimate top 10 threat. However, if implemented into a traditional pro-style offense, his outlook becomes very hazy. Often running through garbage may not put him in a position to be successful.

I try to not be too situation dependent on how I rank players in the first couple of rounds of rookie drafts, but Seastrunk is an exception. If he ends up on a team like Dallas I could see targeting him towards the middle of the first round. The New York Jets? Or Minnesota? I may give him the same treatment I give my alma mater this time of year when they are looking for alumni donations and put them on ignore.

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