This crop of running backs in the 2020 NFL Draft isn’t the best we’ve seen, but there are some players who should be able to be valuable contributors to their respective offenses as rookies. We break down what backs are most likely to have the most fantasy football value.
One of the things that makes running backs desirable in today’s NFL is versatility, and a good amount of the players up for grabs have a wide range of skills. One of the players with the most to offer NFL offenses is LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He’s short but powerful and was impressive as a runner and pass catcher for the Tigers. Not only did he rush for 1,414 yards on 6.6 yards per carry last season, but he also 453 receiving yards. He has natural ability to make precise maneuvers in tight spaces, and the 55 receptions he tallied in his junior season prove his hands are elite. He might not be first off the board but should have a good shot to get plenty of touches as a rookie, wherever he goes.
Other frontrunners include Georgia’s D’Andre Swift and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor. Swift is projected to be the first running back drafted in many mock drafts and also ran for more than 1,000 yards while showcasing strong pass catching abilities last season. He has more prototypical size and can plug into virtually any offense. Taylor is more of a traditional workhorse who averaged more than 300 carries per season for three years. He’s showed promise as a pass catcher last season but still has a ways to go.
Ohio state’s J.K. Dobbins ranked third in the country in rushing yards (2,003) and rushing touchdowns (21) as a junior. With production like that and a 217-pound frame, it’s hard to believe he won’t find success at the next level.
Boston College’s AJ Dillon has one of the sturdiest builds in the draft pool. He’s a physical runner with a 250-pound frame, but doesn’t have much to offer as a receiver. Durability at the next level with his running style could be a concern, but that doesn’t mean he can’t capitalize on his advantage when given a chance.
Cam Akers broke the 1,000-yard mark last season and did so behind an erratic offensive line at Florida State. If he gets a more competent group up front, he could show wha he’s really capable of.
Cincinnati’s Michael Warren tallied 505 carries for 2,594 yards in his last two college campaigns. He’s a physical runner who powers through contact, but can his hard-nosed style translate against bigger, strong competition? He has serious upside in short-yardage situations.