Rankings, scouting profiles, film, and an analytical model for the 2022 NFL Draft RB class.
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A 3-star recruit out of high school, Walker (5’9/211) started out as an extremely patient, bursty early-down rusher at Wake Forest before becoming a Heisman candidate as a true junior in 2021 for Michigan State (inside and outside zone scheme). Walker led college football with 89 missed tackles forced per PFF (0.34 per carry) with 4.5 yards after contact, the best in the class. He presses the offensive line and manipulates linebackers well with good vision and timing before making second level defenders miss with elusiveness, short-area burst, and quality power. Walker’s breakaway speed is above average, too, clocking in a 4.38 forty (89th percentile adjusted SPARQ). His third-down ability is by far his biggest question mark, as he only had a 5% reception share at Michigan State and used cut blocks as a crutch in pass protection. Walker was late to getting to the check down often, too, likely because of his overall inexperience on passing downs. Overall, Walker possesses high-end rushing skills and projects as a 200-275 carry player immediately. Anything in the pass game is a bonus, though he at least wasn’t credited with a drop in 2021 by SIS. The feather in his cap was Daniel Jeremiah gushing over Walker's character. My prospect model = 89th percentile. Comp = J.K. Dobbins.
Hall (5’11/217) was a 4-star recruit and 3-year starter at Iowa State (inside and outside zone scheme). He was an early declare (20.8 years old) after totaling 1,750 total yards in back-to-back seasons, enough for 94th percentile adjusted production. Hall is built and plays like a bellcow, maxing out at 273 carries (2020) and 36 receptions (2021). His elusive jump cut ability and passable power led to 74 forced missed tackles per PFF (0.29 per carry) in 2021 and a career 5.5 yards per carry. At his worst, Hall stumbled in space often, didn’t press the line of scrimmage, and only averaged 2.8 yards after contact in 2021, the worst of the consensus top-10 backs. But he has above-average straight-line juice, as evidenced by his 96th percentile adjusted SPARQ athleticism (4.39 forty and 40-inch vert) and his college football high 8.8 yards per carry on pitches and stretch runs. Overall, Hall’s value comes in disguising pass/run tendencies as a three-down player because he can rip off big plays as a rusher and is fluid as a pass-catcher. He needs to really improve his pass protection recognition and get rid of the cut blocks to maximize his passing-down value, however, otherwise he’ll be somewhat of a fantasy tease. My prospect model = 96th percentile. Comp = D'Andre Swift
White was the 9th overall high school recruit (5-star) and the RB1 overall in his recruiting class. Early on at Georgia (gap and zone scheme), White suffered two torn ACLs and struggled in 2020 before somewhat bouncing back last season (62 total yards and 0.73 total TDs per game). Physically, he looks like an NFL back (6’0/215), flashes rare burst (4.40 forty and 90th percentile broad jump) to get to the second level and beyond, and finishes run with physicality. That gives him plenty of upside if his elusiveness comes back post-surgeries. White needs to make more defenders miss in open space (below-average 0.23 forced missed tackles per carry) and improve his vision/timing with more on-field reps to reach his ceiling. He was a committee back each season, heading to the sideline often on passing downs in favor of 2022 scat back prospect James Cook, so his fit in the passing game is a total projection. Overall, White hasn’t played like an NFL starter yet, but the physical tools are there if he can get healthier and develop. Boom. Bust. My prospect model = 71st percentile. Comp = Lamar Miller.
Dalvin’s younger brother, James Cook, was a 4-star recruit and 4-year committee back at Georgia (gap and zone scheme). He is undersized (5’11/195) and was often subbed in on passing downs, leading to 27 receptions without a single drop per Sports Info Solutions as a senior. The Bulldogs used him in pony personnel (2-back sets) as the motion man capable of creating in space off of end-arounds. Cook’s best traits are his short-area explosiveness (76th percentile broad jump) and long speed (4.42 forty), but he had underwhelming wiggle for a back of his size (54th percentile adjusted SPARQ athleticism), resulting in a below-average 0.22 missed tackles forced per carry. Overall, Cook looks like Tony Pollard or a faster Kenny Gainwell, someone who will always have a capped workload but should be an efficient complement and third-down back. Cook is a versatile player with straight-line juice. My prospect model = 67th percentile. Comp = Tony Pollard.
A 3-star JUCO recruit, White (6’0/214) transferred to Arizona State (zone and gap scheme) where he averaged 135 total yards and 1.46 total touchdowns per game from 2020-21. He has serviceable wiggle at the first level with 4.48 forty speed on the backend (84th percentile adjusted SPARQ athleticism). White has NFL size but isn’t a powerful rusher (0.24 missed tackles per carry and 3.4 yards after contact). Instead, White has nice patience and burst in short spaces, with his biggest value coming on passing downs. He was very fluid as a receiver (3.4 receptions per game) with routes beyond checkdowns, including a 2022 prospect high 15 screens. Out of 251 RB qualifiers, White was 2nd in PFF receiving grade and had good awareness on blitzes/stunts in pass protection. Overall, White is a passing down starter with enough three-down ability to be vaulted into a bigger role if necessary. The red flag in his profile is being 23 years old. I'm concerned that I like White more than the NFL does. My prospect model = 60th percentile. Comp = Kenyan Drake.
Spiller (6’0/217) was a 4-star recruit and 3-year starter at Texas A&M (inside and outside zone scheme) with 203, 208, and 204 touches before being an early declare. He is a mid-sized back who can play in both ground and pass games. Spiller has below-average top speed (4.63 forty) and short-area burst (22nd percentile adjusted SPARQ athleticism) but has some elusiveness and flexibility to make defenders miss in space. PFF credited him with 56 missed tackles forced (0.31 per carry) and 3.6 yards after contact. Spiller looks for the big play often, sometimes too often. In fact, out of 72 RBs with at least 100 zone carries on 1st/2nd down, Spiller was dead last in designed hole rate per Sports Info Solutions, meaning he was looking to create more than any back. His chaotic rushing style and vision makes him a home-run threat rusher only, but he doesn’t have the long speed to cash in. In the pass game, Spiller is comfortable as a check-down option with some wheel and option route ability (29, 20, and 25 receptions each season), and he seeks out the blitz in pass protection. Overall, Spiller should start out in a committee but has a path to a 3-down workload. My prospect model = 70th percentile. Comp = Mike Davis.
Robinson waited patiently at Alabama (zone scheme) behind Josh Jacobs, Damien Harris, and Najee Harris before totaling 1,639 yards and 16 touchdowns as a redshirt senior (41st percentile age-adjusted production). The 4-star recruit has muscles on top of muscles (6’2/224), a physical profile that translates inside. Robinson can run through tackles (forced 0.29 missed tackles per carry), consistently falls forward for an extra yard, and has a decent cutback thanks to vision on zone runs. He unfortunately doesn’t have the contact balance (below-average 3.3 yards after contact) to create much beyond that, and his pro day confirmed that with a 8th percentile three cone and 3rd percentile shuttle. Robinson caught 35 passes in his final season (way more than most big backs) but was poor in pass protection, opting for cut blocks way too often. Overall, Robinson projects as a backup with some short-yardage committee value. He had 52nd percentile adjusted SPARQ athleticism (4.53 forty), largely buoyed by his size. My prospect model = 57th percentile. Comp = Jordan Howard.
Before being a Notre Dame Leprechaun, Williams (5’10/199) was a 4-star recruit. He was a 2-year starter with 246 touches in each of the last two seasons. Williams ran in a pro-style offense with both zone and gap runs, oddly leading college football in duo runs (power concept) with 38. Williams doesn’t have a difference-making trait as a ballcarrier, however, due to well below-average athleticism (13th percentile adjusted SPARQ). His iffy burst and inconsistent vision (3.7 yards after contact and 0.28 forced missed tackles per carry) limit him to passing-down duties, but he is the most reliable passing-down back in the class featuring the best pass protection (both with technique and blitz recognition) by a wide margin. He caught 35 and 42 receptions with no drops in 2021 before declaring early and showcased a passable 46th percentile three cone at his pro day. The ceiling is low, but Williams could carve out a third-down role as a rookie. We are talking about teach tape in pass protection. My prospect model = 59th percentile. Comp = Pass-Blocking Myles Gaskin.
Allgeier (5’11/224) was a 0-star recruit and 2-year starter in his junior and senior seasons at BYU (outside zone scheme). Playing behind a bulldozing offensive line against a Mickey Mouse strength of schedule, Allgeier eclipsed 1,800 total yards and 23 touchdowns (all rushing) in his final season. He averaged 4.2 yards after contact and forced 0.28 missed tackles per carry, the former being a very solid mark. Allgeier did so largely with power, not with wiggle (41st percentile three cone) and speed (4.60 forty). He has quality hands (28 receptions in 2021) for a bigger back, but his bread gets buttered on early downs. Allgeier is an early-down backup capable of operating as a bellcow back in a pinch. He was a 42nd percentile adjusted SPARQ athlete with sub-par balance because of his big frame. My prospect model = 60th percentile. Comp = Zack Moss.
A 4-star recruit, Pierce never was a full-time player in four seasons at Florida (gap and zone scheme) despite having a 5’10/218 frame. He was held to 123 and 119 touches in his last two seasons (17th percentile adjusted production) but did score 16 touchdowns as a senior and caught 19 passes despite playing time issues. Pierce is a low-to-the-ground power rusher with a jump cut and truck stick, leading to 3.65 yards after contact and an elite 0.39 forced missed tackles per carry. Defenders are simply sorer leaving games against Pierce, who seeks contact at the end of his runs. Pierce tested like a 40th percentile adjusted SPARQ athlete (4.59 forty) with a shockingly bad 2nd percentile three cone, but he had more balance than that on tape while running behind PFF's No. 121 run-blocking OL. It’s unclear why Pierce didn’t play more, but the tape shows more of a ceiling than what his production would indicate, especially after showcasing above-average pass protection. This sometimes happens at the upper-end programs, so keep the light on. Pierce's upside is similar to James Robinson. My prospect model = 40th percentile. Comp = Round 4 Josh Jacobs.
Strong (5’11/207) was a 23-year-old prospect from FCS South Dakota State. He has 86th percentile adjusted SPARQ athleticism (4.37 forty), which gives him an outside zone projection at the next level. Strong was used in the wildcat on occasion and was comfortable on swing passes in the flats (22 receptions as a senior), so he has some versatility on non-short-yardage plays. But for an undersized back, Strong’s open-field elusiveness was sub-par, and he won’t run over defenders either, capping his upside to change of pace and special teams work in the NFL. He only handled more than 144 carries in one season at SDSU (240-1,673-18 last year). My prospect model = NA due to non-Division I. Comp = FCS Elijah Mitchell.
Badie (5’8/197) was a 3-star recruit and 4-year contributor at Missouri (zone scheme), who broke out of a passing-down-only role as a senior. He averaged 161 total yards per game with 18 total touchdowns, enough for 96th percentile PPR per game and 84th percentile receiving yards among all draft RBs since 2005. Badie is stockier than other receiving backs, yet still showcased 47th percentile agilities and a 4.45 forty during pre-draft testing. His 54 receptions were the third most in the country, and PFF only credited him with one drop. After the catch, Badie passes the eye test with one-on-one missed tackles, but he will go down on contact easily because of his size. If he contributes to special teams, Badie can be a passing-down option in the NFL. My prospect model = 42nd percentile. Comp = Kenny Gainwell.
Haskins (6’2/228) was a 3-star recruit and one-year contributor at Michigan (gap scheme), finishing with 55th percentile adjusted production as a senior. His evaluation is easy. He'll run through a MFer's face. Haskins hit 27 bench press reps at the NFL Combine, and he had 10 more carries with 9+ defenders in the box than any other Power 5 back last year, which partially explains his forgettable 4.9 YPC. Haskins has enough athleticism to leap over defenders in open space, too, probably because he's a tone setter with a monster truck stick and power causing defenders to dive at his ankles. For a bigger back, Haskins has good enough hands (18 receptions) to catch a ball in the flats. His lateral ability keeps his ceiling low (worrisome 0.20 missed tackles per carry), but Haskins serves a purpose as a backup grinder. My prospect model = 28th percentile. Comp = Alfred Blue.
A 4-star recruit, Ford signed with Alabama before transferring for more playing time at Cincinnati (zone scheme). He broke out in his redshirt junior season (1,539 total yards and 20 total touchdowns) and declared early afterwards. Ford has an NFL compact frame (5’11/210) with inside rushing ability. He’s a no wasted movement ball-carrier with zero hesitation on making cuts. His decision-making and timing are on par with NFL backs, too, but he has below-average wiggle (9th percentile three cone) for his size. He forced 0.24 missed tackles per carry and averaged 3.1 yards after contact, both sub-par marks. Ford caught 21 passes in his final season and was fine identifying blitzers, but he had technique failures and wasn't as fluid as other backs when the ball was in the air. Overall, Ford will pick up all yards made by the offensive line and has enough burst/speed (4.46 forty) to rip off the occasional big play. My prospect model = 42nd percentile. Comp = Ke'Shawn Vaughn.
Smith (5'11/213) was a 3-star recruit and 1-year contributor at Baylor (outside zone scheme) because he played linebacker from his redshirt freshman to junior seasons. As a redshirt senior, Smith averaged 120 total yards per game (56th percentile) on 6.2 YPC. His 3.9 yards after contact is above average because he runs with power, but he doesn't offer much wiggle (0.18 missed tackles per carry and a 14th percentile three cone). Smith ultimately had 46th percentile adjusted SPARQ athleticism (4.50 forty), a good enough score to project a special teams role in the NFL, especially with his toughness and size. He is more likely than most 23-year-old rookies to hang in the league for longer than expected. My prospect model = 28th percentile. Comp = Alex Collins.
Goodson (5'9/197) was a 3-star recruit and 3-year contributor at Iowa (zone scheme) before declaring early. As a true junior, Goodson had 41st percentile adjusted production (256-1,151-6) and a really bad 2.3 yards after contract and 0.15 missed tackles forced per carry because he's undersized. The good news is that he had 65th percentile receiving yards per game and caught 31 passes in 2021. Goodson projects as a rotation pass-catcher, who has a chance to be a low-volume sleeper thanks to his 75th percentile adjusted SPARQ athleticism, 4.42 forty, and 93rd percentile three cone. He must contribute on special teams to be active, however, and Goodson has little experience doing so. My prospect model = 28th percentile. Comp = Darwin Thompson.
A 3-star recruit and 4-year contributor at Washington State, Borghi (5'9/210) caught 53 and 86 passes as a true freshman and sophomore in their air raid system before he missed his junior season. In a new offensive system as a senior, Borghi only caught 16 passes and had 24th percentile total yards per game (86). His size limited him to 160 carries, but he was efficient on them, averaging a rock-solid 0.29 forced missed tackles and 3.40 yards after contact. Borghi's third-down upside will be hard to reach because of his 26th percentile adjusted SPARQ athleticism (4.51 forty and 28th percentile three cone) and lack of special teams experience, but he is one of the most natural pass-catchers in the RB class. My prospect model = 11th percentile. Comp = Shane Vereen.
Chandler (5’11/204) is a 24-year-old prospect who grad transferred from Tennessee to North Carolina where he had a 182-1,092-13 rushing and 15-216-1 receiving line as a redshirt senior. In total, Chandler had 6th percentile adjusted production and projects as a potential third-down back only. He runs too upright to make defenders miss (below-average 0.26 forced missed tackles per carry) and had wild testing results, including a great 4.38 forty paired with a 5th percentile three cone and 10th percentile vertical. Chandler's straight-line speed rarely translated to big plays. My prospect model = 13th percentile. Comp = Travis Homer.
The following had at least 10th percentile projections in my model, but I haven't watched their tape:
Oklahoma's Kennedy Brooks (20th percentile on 38th percentile production and 28th percentile athleticism)
UTSA's Sincere McCormick (19th percentile on 65th percentile production and 27th percentile athleticism)
LSU's Tyrion Davis-Price (15th percentile on 15th percentile production and 55th percentile athleticism)
Snoop Conner (13th percentile on 22nd percentile production and 38th percentile athleticism)
Jerrion Ealy (12th percentile on 42nd percentile production and 14th percentile athleticism)
Trestan Ebner (11th percentile on 7th percentile production and 58th percentile athleticism)
Jaylen Warren (11th percentile on 30th percentile production and 42nd percentile athleticism)