It’s that time of year again where we turn our dynasty attention to our upcoming rookie drafts that will take place in late spring. It’s February already which means we need to get going on giving you the knowledge you need for all the rookies that will be joining the NFL in 2019. First we start with the running back position. Please note that there is still have plenty of time for these rankings to change with the combine, pro days, and actual NFL Draft still to come, but it’s never a bad idea to get an idea on who these rookies are and what they can possibly do for your fantasy teams come September. Here is my February ranking of the 2019 rookie RB class, complete with breakdowns of each player.

*All sizes/stats come from Sport Reference’s online database.

1. David Montgomery, Iowa State

Size: 5’-11”, 216lbs

Age on Draft Day: 21

Best Traits: Tackle breaking, receiving game, great intangibles

Worst Traits: Bounces too many runs outside, breakaway speed, “just” an above average athlete

Breakdown: Montgomery rarely goes down without breaking a tackle first. According to PFF, he averaged .38 missed tackles per carry which was first in the FBS. He has incredible combination of balance and strength to shred or spin out of would-be tacklers. His swift jump cut and patience has helped him have success behind a poor offensive line. They often split him out wide as he is an extremely capable receiver, catching 71 balls during his three seasons in Ames. He is average in pass protection and that will be something he needs to improve his stance on though it isn’t for a lack of trying. He gives full effort on the field and in the weight room. Despite being suspended for half a game this season, head Coach Matt Campbell credits Montgomery to changing the locker room culture and stated that he knows “no better person”.

2. Darrell Henderson, Memphis

Size: 5’-9”, 200lbs

Age on Draft Day: 21

Best Traits: Acceleration, receiving ability, footwork

Worst Traits: Top-end speed, undersized combined with running style

Breakdown: If you watch Henderson’s tape against UCF in the AAC title game, you will seriously question how Memphis didn’t win by 21 points as Henderson showed he was in another league rushing for 210 yards and three scores. Henderson hits a speed that is dangerous in a minimal amount of time. His pass catching ability is a major plus as he has 63 grabs in his three year career. He has a toughness about him that speaks loudly to those who question his size. He is isn’t afraid to truck over a looming linebacker. That aggressive running nature looks good on the field, but worse on X-rays. While he has avoided major injury, he has missed a few games here and there and will need to alter his style if he hopes to avoid injury at the NFL level.

3. Josh Jacobs, Alabama

Size: 5’10”, 216lbs

Draft Day Age: 21

Best Traits: Power, Size, Wear & Tear

Worst Traits: Acceleration, Route Running, Top-End Speed

Breakdown: Jacobs is everything you want in a back. He has the size, vision, and receiving chops to be a workhorse back at the NFL level. He runs with some of the best downhill power in this 2019 class due to his quick choppy steps as he analyzes the field. He cuts like a back who is 15 pounds lighter but lacks the acceleration and straight-line speed to separate from some defenders. Jacobs had only 299 touches during his time at Alabama giving his body a good edge when compared to his counterparts. David Montgomery, for example, has twice as many carries as the both enter the NFL. From time to time, Jacobs will look lackluster on his receiving routes; something he needs to clean up at the next level to be a complete three down back.

4. Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma

Size: 6’1”, 220lbs

Draft Day Age: 22* (unconfirmed)

Best Traits: Lateral elusiveness, Pass-catching, Size

Worst Traits: Injury History, Passive tendencies

Breakdown: Anderson has been oozing potential since he committed to Oklahoma in 2015. Unfortunately, Anderson’s seasons have ended early more often than not with him seeing only four games outside of his junior season. 2015 he broke his fibula as a true freshman, 2016 he fractured his C5 vertebrae, and this past year his season ended in the first game of the season going down with a right knee injuries. During his lone healthy season, he showed out however. Anderson has extremely quick jump cuts that moves him into position to use his good burst to break off big gain after big gain. He has soft hands and great body control when receiving (watch TCU tape). He isn’t overly aggressive, although that could be a product of coming off back-to-back season ending injuries. He could be a major steal if he stays healthy as a pro.

5. Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic

Size: 5’9”, 200lbs

Draft Day Age: 21

Best Traits: Change of Direction, Balance, Aggressive Nature

Worst Traits: Size, College Workload

Breakdown: Singletary has unbelievable balance even though contact and an absolutely filthy jump cut. He creates his separation, not with speed, but with his patience and quick stop and start. The kid they call “Motor”, ran his way to 4,287 yards and 66 touchdowns in his three years in Boca Raton. While Singletary is undersized, he plays extremely aggressively making him seem larger than he is whether he is toting the rock or picking up a blitzing linebacker. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, however he has enough and good acceleration to be a big play threat on every touch.

6. Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M

Size: 5’-9”, 200lbs

Age on Draft Day: 21

Best Traits: Long speed, burst upon handoff, pass blocking

Worst Traits: Undersized, lack of power

Breakdown: Williams has some traits that NFL coaches love. He is incredibly fast, can get through the hole in a flash, and can pass block like a champ. Let’s start with the latter first. Williams did not miss a block through four game films that I viewed. He would always chip when going out on a route and picked up any invading backer. Williams’s draft stock will greatly depend on how he does at the combine. If he shows his speed in front of NFL scouts with timers, I think he will flip the script on his current end-of-draft expectations. A big knock on Williams is his size. He looks small on film and it shows when defenders get hands on him. It should be noted he is an aggressive pass blocker though.

7. Justice Hill, Oklahoma State

Size: 5’-10”, 190lbs

Age on Draft Day: 21

Best Traits: Vision, Lateral Movement, Speed

Worst Traits: Small Frame, Lower Body Strength

Breakdown: Hill is an extremely smooth runner with really good vision of the field. When he gets a handoff you almost expect him to juke past the first defender and cut back after seeing a lane for a 10+ yard gain on every carry. He has the ability to change direction quickly and turn on the after burners once he reaches the secondary. Hill is near impossible to tackle in the open field. He lacks lower body strength to drive for extra yards once wrapped so he likely won’t be in on most short yardage situations at the next level. He needs to add some size before the draft for NFL front offices to view him as a legit contributor.

8. Damien Harris, Alabama

Size: 5’-11”, 215lbs

Age on Draft Day: 22

Best Traits: Burst in the open field, juke ability

Worst Traits: Never been the workhorse, lacking power for size

Breakdown: If you just watched film and didn’t look up Harris’s size, you would think he was a 200 pound back. He has an absolutely filthy juke move that’s normal followed by a quick burst to get him into the open field. He has good burners once he see open turf but his top-end speed is not elite. Alabama never used Harris as their sole back and that could be the case in the NFL as well. Despite his size, Harris doesn’t show a ton power once contact is made.

9. Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky

Size: 5’-11”, 223lbs

Age on Draft Day: 21

Best Traits: Power, yards after contact, pass blocking

Worst Traits: Lacks speed, lacks elusiveness

Breakdown: Snell put Kentucky football back on the map during his time in Lexington helping get the Wildcats to their first winning seasons since 2009 and first AP ranking since 2007. Snell is a power back that grinds hard for every yard, especially after first contact. He has good footwork for a bigger back but does not have ideal speed or elusiveness to stay on the field on passing downs. What will keep him on the field is his pass blocking. Snell is very solid is that department with an establish base and the size to pick up linebackers coming around the edge.

10. Miles Sanders, Penn. State

Size: 5’-11”, 215lbs

Age on Draft Day: 21 (1 week until 22)

Best Traits: Athletic, balance, receiving ability

Worst Traits: Fumbling issues, top speed is capped

Breakdown: Sanders attempted to fill big shoes with the departure of Saquon Barkley and did an admirable job. Sanders displayed good athleticism on tape with his leaping ability, nimbleness, and body control. He often managed to spin forward or contort his body for an extra few yards on most plays. Coach James Franklin had him split out wide a decent amount due to his receiving chops. Sanders is never afraid to deliver a hit or cut hard up field past an over-pursuing defender. He has a major issue with ball security with 10 fumbles in just 308 scrimmage plays. He also would get caught from behind by faster DBs in college.

11. Myles Gaskin, Washington

Size: 5’-10”, 193lbs

Age on Draft Day: 22

Best Traits: Quick burst, versatility

Worst Traits: College usage, size, pass blocking

Breakdown: Gaskin’s claim to fame is his consistent ability to churn out yards year in and year out at Washington. Rushing the rock, he had over 5,300 yards in his four seasons in addition to nearly 60 receptions from his sophomore year on. He has extremely quick get-up-and-go acceleration. That,  coupled with his ability to read linebackers, was why he was able to average 5.6 yards per carry for his collegiate career. However, he took a lot of hits as well getting over 1,000 touches as a Husky. His size at 193lbs is not built for that kind of abuse at the NFL level. He also struggles in pass protection, though he showed on film he can cut block with good technique.

12. Bryce Love, Stanford

Size: 5’-10”, 202lbs

Age on Draft Day: 21

Best Traits: Ability in open space, lateral quickness

Worst Traits: Injury concerns, pass blocking, goes down easily

Breakdown: Love has a set of wheels that draws comparisons to Chris Johnson. His speed allows him to exhibit big play ability when he reaches the second level of defenses and turns the corner. The Stanford senior displayed good patience behind the line while waiting for his blockers, but he doesn’t waste time dancing. He is quick laterally which helps him evade tacklers; however, he does not break many tackles due to his small frame. Further consequences of his small frame are his pass blocking and his health. His pass blocking is some of the worst in this class and he has dealt with a multitude of injuries during his time at Stanford including an ankle injury that plagued his 2018 campaign. Two major question marks that leaves Love as one of the riskier options in this rookie RB class.

13. Elijah Holyfield, Georgia

Size: 5’-11”, 215lbs

Age on Draft Day: 20

Best Traits: Balance/Pad-level, Power

Worst Traits: Lack of burst, bouncing plays to the outside

Breakdown: Holyfield was hidden behind the dominant duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel last season in Athens but was finally able to show his own skills in 2018. Holyfield has a really good-pad level on his runs by getting low in the hole and expanding through contact. More often than not he initiates the contact rather then being the recipient. He has really impressive power and balance that should make him a tackle breaking machine at the next level. He lacks burst and too often tries to bounce plays to the outside, which is the last thing you want to do when lacking quick acceleration. He has shown little in terms of pass-catching so that will be a big question on whether he can play all three downs moving forward.

14. Alexander Mattison, Boise State

Size: 5’-11”, 211lbs

Age on Draft Day: 21* (unconfirmed)

Best Traits: Shifty, Effort

Worst Traits: Lack of power, inside running

Breakdown: Mattison is a shifty runner with a jump cut that is almost guaranteed to make the first man miss. He has shown an ability to be a good receiver in the passing game with 57 receptions in his past two seasons. He gives a lot of effort on every play whether he gets the ball or not. He has the ability to pick up a blitzing linebacker consistently. He doesn’t have a lot of lower body power. He gets stood up a lot and does not project to be a good inside runner. Pad level could be lowered to improve this as well as lower body strength.

15.
Dexter Williams, Notre Dame

Size: 5’-11”, 215lbs

Age on Draft Day: 22* (unconfirmed)

Best Traits: NFL vision, size

Worst Traits: Lateral movement, slow acceleration, pass blocking

Breakdown: Williams has decent straight-line speed, for his size, that showed in his senior season with the Fighting Irish. His accelerations leaves something to be desired but his vision and patience set up a lot of his success when his number is called. He also struggled in pass protection as most college backs do, but he definitely showed a willingness to get a hat on a defender which is step one. It must also be noted that he was arrested in 2016 for marijuana possession as well as possession of a hand gun without a license.

16.
Mike Weber, Ohio State

Size: 5’-10”, 214lbs

Age on Draft Day: 21

Best Traits: Pass blocking, aggressive running style

Worst Traits: Lacks burst, poor change of direction

Breakdown: Opposing safeties in the Big Ten felt the boom whenever Weber got the rock. He has a downhill, almost violent, running style that displays his power. Pass blocking is another big strength where he has good technique and his size gives him a solid base to pick up blitzers. At times he can run east-west instead of north and south, which goes against the type of back he is. He has a sneaky bit of agility but, make no mistake, he lacks NFL elusiveness. He often rounds his cuts rather than plant and change direction. The wheel route was a consistent connection between him and quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

17.
Bruce Anderson, North Dakota

Size: 5’-11”, 210lbs

Age on Draft Day: 22* (unconfirmed)

Best Traits: Acceleration, Footwork

Worst Traits: Level of competition, vision

Breakdown: Anderson has a little bit of everything that scouts would want in a running back. He isn’t afraid to bowl over linebackers, he has smooth footwork, and has a really good acceleration once he picks a running lane. Although his vision/decision making fails at times, he still average a meaty 7.5 yards per carry in his senior year. It must be noted that he played in the Missouri Valley Conference (FCS) and his level of competition is a step below in comparison to other backs in this list. Anderson didn’t display a lot of catching ability, but he had a great wheel route reception against UNI that showed his ability to make the play when called upon.

18.
Karan Higdon, Michigan

Size: 5’-10”, 202lbs

Age on Draft Day: 22

Best Traits: Acceleration, pad level

Worst Traits: Vision, lack of shiftiness

Breakdown: Higdon, toted the rock for the Wolverines the past two seasons and was able to put up over 2,000 yards rushing over that span. He had really good pad level that allows him to drive into defenders and push for extra yardage. He looks to have very poor vision however and often makes poor cuts and runs right into defenders. He doesn’t have much in terms of shift or wiggle. He is a decent pass blocker.

19.
LJ Scott, Michigan State

Size: 6’-1”, 225lbs

Age on Draft Day: 22

Best Traits: Short yardage, pass catching

Worst Traits: Little burst, oft injured, vision

Breakdown: Scott is one of the larger backs in this class and does a good job of using that size to his advantage. He is very good at converting in short yardage. His power and momentum make him hard to bring down. He doesn’t have much for burst and his vision is questionable at best. He does display some good receiving skills. He has had a few injuries throughout his time in Lansing with most recently being an ankle injury that had him miss most of his senior season.

20.
Wes Hills, Slippery Rock

Size: 6’-2”, 205lbs

Age on Draft Day: 23

Best Traits: Power

Worst Traits: Athleticism, level of competition

Breakdown: Hills is a bit tall for a running back and it seems to show on film at the DIII level. He looks like the 8th grader playing in the 6th grade game at time simply out-running and out-muscling his competition. This speaks louder about his competition than it does about him however. Hills has poor running technique and runs way too high. His speed is not great and he is brought down rather easily if the defenders go at his legs due to his high running style. He does have decent vision but his cuts are not very sharp. He looks very raw at the position despite being the oldest draft entrant on this list.