Welcome everyone to the first
installment to the Rookie Report.
week during the preseason and regular season, the report will cover trends and
a game by game analysis of notable performances by the NFL’s 2007 Rookie Class
to assist in your pursuit of dynasty championship gold.
During the preseason, I plan to
give a tiered analysis of rookies by position each week followed by a break
down of each preseason game.
preseason is crucial for evaluating rookies’ long-term fantasy values as they
are given the opportunity to gain valuable playing time and experience they
otherwise will not get the opportunity to during the regular season.
So sit back, but don’t get too
comfortable because here we go with our first preseason week’s installment of
the Rookie Report on Rookie Running Backs…
Tier 1 – Instant Impact
RB Adrian Peterson—
Adrian Peterson is the most
complete running back of the 2007 Rookie Class.
The direct comparisons to Eric Dickerson are justified as Peterson has
all of the tools to succeed at the next level: size, power, break away speed,
and good hands.
The only question mark
regarding AP is durability as he suffered through injuries in each of his
He will begin his
career in the NFL splitting carries with Chester Taylor in the Vikings
backfield, but get this kid while you can because he is going to be a fantasy
stud towards the end of year one and into the foreseeable future.
If Chester Taylor’s injury early in camp is
more serious than the Vikings are letting on, Adrian Peterson could be
gathering the majority of the carries early in the season.
RB Marshawn Lynch—
Marshawn Lynch enters the NFL
with an excellent chance to start from day one.
Due to Lynch playing on the west coast in
his college career.
But make no mistake;
this guy has talent with a combination of good field vision, toughness, size,
Lynch also possesses
good receiving skills.
With only Anthony
Thomas in Lynch’s way to cement himself as the primary ball carrier for the
Bills in 2007, he has an excellent opportunity to make a fantasy impact from
the start and continue contributing for many years to come.
RB Brandon Jackson—
Brandon Jackson was drafted in
the 2nd round by
in this year’s NFL Rookie Draft, and comes to the Packers with quite a bit of
fantasy hype. Brandon Jackson was never a workhorse in college with only
his Junior year at
to base his prospects on.
the ball at
188 times for 989 yards and 8 TDs last year. Despite
accounted for roughly 38% of the Corn Huskers’ carries and 40% of the team’s
rushing yards. These college numbers are hardly anything to base a lot
of confidence on
NFL prospects as he never carried the whole load in college. Despite the
lack of experience, the Packers committed a second round pick to the
to give him a chance to win the starting job. Many believe Brandon
Jackson is a natural fit for the Packers system.
Vernon Morency suffered a knee injury early
in training camp, and is likely out for the 2-4 weeks.
As a result, Brandon Jackson has an excellent
chance of cementing himself as the starter heading into the season; however,
thus far in training camp Brandon Jackson has struggled with picking of the
blitz in passing situations and not overly impressive.
RB Michael Bush—
If Michael Bush’s rehab from his
broken leg in the first game of last year college season was further along,
Bush would be listed in the first tier of this year’s rookie running back
Bush has a combination of great
size (240 lbs), good speed, good receiving skills, and the ability to run both
inside and outside.
Word out of Raiders
camp is that Bush will be limited in training camp, and may even sit out the
2007 season, but watch out for him in 2008 as he has the intangibles to make a
significant fantasy impact as the Raiders offense matures.
Michael Bush continues to be on the training
RB Lorenzo Booker—
Lorenzo Booker was a
the top recruits coming out of high school.
Booker is a great athlete with elusiveness and good speed; however, he
is a bit undersized.
Booker has the
opportunity to win the backup job to Ronnie Brown, and should be able to carve
out a good niche in
doesn’t completely cave in their offense.
Reports out of training camp indicate that Booker has been impressive
thus far in practices.
Some of the local
writers believe that he will win the backup position to Ronnie Brown and
possibly steal third down carries this season.
RB Antonio Pittman—
Antonio Pittman enters the 2007
season as third on the Saints depth chart behind Deuce and Reggie Bush;
however, by the beginning of the 2008 season he could fill in as a cheaper
alternative to Deuce McAllister and take his role in the offense.
Pittman is a strong back with good speed and
burst out of the backfield.
and receiving skills still are a work in progress.
Many fantasy owners could be potentially
rewarded for their patience with Pittman as early as 2008.
RB Kolby Smith—
Kolby Smith is a good athlete
with excellent receiving skills, good size, good field vision, and is a good
With Larry Johnson coming off a
season with 400+ carries and continuing to be headed towards a long hold out
along with often injured Michael Bennett as the backup, Kolby Smith is in a
good position to get significant carries possibly now and in the future. Priest
Holmes is another wildcard in the Kansas City RB situation this year if LJ
holds out, so this will be an interesting situation to monitor.
Tony Hunt is a big back with good
He has an excellent
opportunity to fill in as the primary backup to Brian Westbrook by the end of
the 2007 season and receive short-yardage-goal line carries and well as third
RB Kenny Irons—
Kenny Irons possesses decent
speed, lacks size and strength; however, he has good vision and is a good
north/south runner in a similar style to Rudi Johnson.
With Rudi Johnson not getting any younger,
Irons has the opportunity to get carries as a backup to keep Johnson
He will compete with Kenny Watson
this year for the backup role, but keep an eye on this guy in the future.
The real question is whether we will see the
great Kenny Irons that we saw in 2005, or the average one we saw during the
Early training camp
reports indicate Irons has been impressive in early scrimmages.
Despite making an impression in the open field,
Kenny Irons has struggled with short yardage situations due to his smallish
RB Garrett Wolfe—
With the departure of Thomas
Jones from the Bears this offseason, Garrett Wolfe will get the opportunity in
training camp to battle Adrian Peterson for the backup position to Cedric
This small school product is
very explosive with good instincts and vision; however, he is undersized
standing only at 5’7” and 186 lbs.
has missed early time in training camp with a minor hamstring injury, which
hurts his chance of winning the role as primary backup to Cedric Benson.
RB Dwayne Wright—
Wright is a tough, downhill
runner that lacks great speed; however, he has good vision of the field and
By the end of the 2007
season, Wright has an opportunity to take over the backup role from Anthony
Thomas, and could potentially vulture short yardage touchdowns from projected
starter Marshawn Lynch.
RB Brian Leonard—
Leonard is a tweener between fullback
and running back.
He is a powerful
runner with decent speed and good agility.
He is currently listed as the backup fullback on the Rams’ depth chart;
however, he could end up as the backup running back to
So far in training camp, Leonard has received
practice time at both tailback and fullback.
RB Kenneth Darby—
Darby struggled in his senior
season after two solid years at the
He is a strong runner with good
vision and instincts; however, he only has average speed.
Darby will be competing for the third roster
spot in training camp behind Cadillac Williams and Michael Pittman.
RB Ahmed Bradshaw—
Bradshaw impressed the Giants coaching
staff in OTA practices with his receiving skills and quickness.
Bradshaw is a smaller back suited best for
third down passing situations.
strong camp, Bradshaw could compete with Ruben Droughns for carries in third
RB Jason Snelling—
With Warrick Dunn having surgery
for a herniated disc that is expected to keep him out for the preseason.
Snelling has a chance to become Jerious
Norwood’s primary backup in camp.
Dunn struggles to recover from his surgery, Snelling could be a big sleeper if
point this season.
RB Chris Henry—
Chris Henry was drafted by the
Titans in the 2nd round of the NFL draft after a strong workout at
He has excellent speed and
is a good athlete; however, he lacks the vision, power, and natural feel for
the game that is necessary to succeed NFL or even the college level.
This is evident by Henry’s mediocre college
Henry struggled in the OTA
Henry’s struggles have
continued in training camp with fumbling problems to the point that some local
Nashville writers indicated that they would not be surprised if Henry did not
making the Week 1 Roster.
Despite all of
his faults, Henry will likely be given the opportunity to succeed with the
Titans due to being taken as an early round draft pick.
However, failure is almost certain as the
Titans wasted a draft pick on this workout warrior.
RB Selvin Young—
RB Deshawn Wynn—
RB Thomas Clayton—
RB Justise Hairston—New
RB LeRon McClain—
RB/FB Deon Anderson—
RB Gary Russell—
RB Pierre Thomas—New
The following section of the
rookie report will recap performances by rookies each week for each game.
Normally, this section of the weekly report
will be in summary form, however, due to there only being one game in the NFL
this week, additional detail is given.
Hall of Fame Game Rookie Recap—New
RB Antonio Pittman—Pittman showed
good burst to the outside and off tackle.
He seemed to get lost when running in between the tackles in this
Pittman looked very adept to picking
up the blitz, which could help him get on the field sooner.
He finished the game with 7 carries for 20
RB Pierre Thomas—Was used in the
third on kick returns.
He received some
carries in the late third and fourth quarters.
Thomas looks to have good hands on receiving out of the backfield and
One thing I noticed is that
if there wasn’t a clear running lane, he liked to dance a little bit in the
He ended the game with 4
carries for 17 yards and 2 catches for 35 yards.
QB Tyler Palko—Palko looked
rushed on most of his throws.
to force the ball into coverage several times, and hung his WRs out to dry by
leading them into waiting defenders ready to deliver a big hit.
One thing Palko did well was scramble and move
around the move.
He appears to have
pretty good speed.
Palko finished the
game 4 for 8 for 53 yards and an interception.
Also, he had 1 rush for 13 yards.
WR Robert Meachem—Meachem
received his welcome into the NFL by getting jacked up in the fourth
He later returned to the field
a couple plays later; however, he was quiet for the remainder of the game.
Meachem had 1 catch for 6 yards in this NFL
RB Gary Russell—Russell showed
good feet, burst and patience in his NFL debut.
At 5-11 and 215 lbs, he appeared to rush with more power than his size
Russell finished the
game with 8 carries for 41 yards.