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Wolf's Big Board:     Tuesday, May 30, 2017     Tier One - The Big Three   1 ) David Johnson (ARI) RB1   2 ) Le'Veon Bell (PIT) RB2   3 ) Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) RB3   Tier Two - High-end WR1 and RB1s   4 ) Antonio Brown (PIT) WR1   5 ) Julio Jones (ATL) WR2   6 ) Mike Evans (TB) WR3   7 ) Odell Beckham JR. (NYG) WR4   8 ) DeMarco Murray (TEN) RB4   9 ) Melvin Gordon (LAC) RB5   10 ) LeSean McCoy (BUF) RB6   11 ) Jay Ajayi (MIA) RB7   12 ) AJ Green (CIN) WR5   13 ) Jordy Nelson (GB) WR6   14 ) Michael Thomas (NO) WR7   15 ) Dez Bryant (DAL) WR8   16 ) Devonta Freeman (ATL) RB8   Tier 3 - Lower-end RB1 and WR1s, elite second options   17 ) Lamar Miller (HOU) RB9   18 ) DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) WR9   19 ) TY Hilton (IND) WR10   20 ) Leonard Fournette (JAX) RB10   21 ) Rob Gronkowski (NE) TE1   22 ) Brandin Cooks (NE) WR11   23 ) Demaryius Thomas. (DEN) WR12   24 ) Jordan Reed (WAS) TE2   25 ) Doug Baldwin (SEA) WR13   26 ) Amari Cooper (OAK) WR14   Tier 3.5   27 ) Todd Gurley (LAR) RB11   28 ) Carlos Hyde (SF) RB12   29 ) Christian McCaffrey (CAR) RB13   30 ) Jordan Howard (CHI) RB14   31 ) Marshawn Lynch (OAK) RB15   32 ) Davante Adams (GB) WR15   33 ) Alshon Jeffery (PHI) WR16   34 ) Isaiah Crowell (CLE) RB16   35 ) Tyreek Hill (KC) WR17   36 ) Keenan Allen (LAC) WR18   37 ) Spencer Ware (KC) RB17   Tier 4 - Elite QBs, Solid #2 RBs + WRs, side TE1s   38 ) Bilal Powell (NYJ) RB18   39 ) Tom Brady (NE) QB1   40 ) Sammy Watkins WR19   41 ) Aaron Rodgers (GB) QB2   42 ) Travis Kielce (KC) TE3   43 ) Terrelle Pryor (WAS) WR20   44 ) Allen Robinson (JAC) WR21   44 ) Mike Gillislee (NE) RB19   45 ) Mark Ingram (NO) RB20   46 ) Golden Tate (DET) WR22   47 ) Jamison Crowder (WAS) WR23   48 ) Greg Olsen (CAR) TE4   48 ) Tevin Coleman (ATL) RB21   49 ) Willie Snead (NO) WR24   50 ) Doug Martin (TB) RB22   51 ) Michael Crabtree (OAK) WR25   52 ) Brandon Marshal (NYG) WR26   53 ) Julian Edelman (NE) WR27   54 ) Donte Moncrief (IND) WR28   55 ) Drew Brees (NO) QB3   56 ) Ameer Abdullah (DET) RB23   57 ) Jimmy Graham (SEA) TE5   58 ) Tyler Eifert (CIN) TE6   59 ) Martavis Bryant (PIT) WR29   Tier 5 - Last Startable WRs and RBs + TE1 Candidates   60 ) Pierre Garcon (SF) WR30   61 ) Eric Decker (NYJ) WR31   62 ) Jarvis Landry (MIA) WR32   63 ) Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) WR33   64 ) Samaje Perine (WAS) RB24   65 ) Joe Mixon (CIN) RB25   66 ) CJ Anderson (DEN) RB26   67 ) Matt Ryan (ATL) QB4   68 ) Stefon Diggs (MIN) WR33   69 ) Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) WR34   70 ) Ty Montgomery (GB) RB27   71 ) Hunter Henry (LAC) TE7   72 ) Corey Davis (TEN) WR35   73 ) Adrian Peterson (NO) RB28   74 ) Kelvin Benjamin (CAR) WR36   75 ) Delanie Walker TE8   76 ) Paul Perkins (NYG) RB29   77 ) CJ Prosise (SEA) RB30   78 ) Eddie Lacy (SEA) RB31   79 ) Dalvin Cook (MIN) RB32   80 ) Theo Riddick (DET) RB33   81 ) Frank Gore (IND) RB34   82 ) Cameron Meredith (CHI) WR38   83 ) Mike Wallace (BAL) WR39   84 ) DeSean Jackson (TB) WR40   85 ) Martellus Bennett (GB) TE9   TIer 7 - side QB1s and Top WR and RB Lottery Tickets   86 ) Andrew Luck (IND) QB5   87 ) Derek Carr (OAK) QB6   88 ) Kirk Cousins (WAS) QB7   89 ) Marcus Mariota (TEN) QB8   90 ) Philip Rivers (LAC) QB9   91 ) Ben Roethlisberger QB10   92 ) Dak Prescott (DAL) QB11   93 ) Jameis Winston (TB) QB12   94 ) Joe Williams (SF) RB35   95 ) Derrick Henry (TEN) RB36   96 ) Kareem Hunt (KC) RB37   97 ) Jamaal Williams (GB) RB38   98 ) Davante Parker (MIA) WR41   99 ) Josh Doctson (WAS) WR42   100 ) Ted Ginn (NO) WR43  
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2016 Rookie RB Rankings (Pre-draft)

Top Running Back Prospects for Fantasy Football

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1) Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State

Similar to most of the draft boards this year, Ezekiel Elliott is the No. 1 running back on our board.  The package of extremely skilled rushing, receiving, and pass protection ability is what has us sold on ‘Zeke as the best back in the draft. I like Ezekiel’s stop-start ability and his ability to get his pads low and gain extra yardage. At 6-foot and 225 lbs, Elliott has the ideal size and speed (4.47 second 40-yard dash) to translate his college production into the NFL. He displays soft hands out of the backfield and with his knowledge of blocking techniques, he could operate as a true three-down-back in the pros.

After backing up Carlos Hyde as a freshman, Elliott emerged on the scene in 2014, leading the Buckeyes to a national championship with 2,100 overall yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns.  Although Ohio State did not live up to their lofty expectations in 2015, as a junior, Elliott still had a great statistical season with 2,020 total yards and 23 touchdowns.

The one criticism that NFL scouts might have of Elliot is a small character issue, with him calling out the coaching staff after a loss to Michigan State this past November, but it could be argued that it showed his competitiveness and will to win.

Elliott is the safest running back pick in the draft because his rushing style matches the quick-twitch speed needed for the NFL. He looks like Le’Veon Bell because they both have strong lower bodies and the breakaway speed to break a long run.

Talent: 9

Risk Level: 8

Overall (so far): 17

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2) Derrick Henry, Alabama

One thing that makes it difficult to evaluate Derrick Henry and other running backs out of Alabama, is their monster offensive line. The Crimson Tide offensive line consistently opened massive holes for Henry, with no contact being made anywhere near the line of scrimmage. How will he perform in the NFL when there’s no hole or a defender breaking free in the backfield? It’s a legitimate question and was something that lowered Melvin Gordon on my draft board last year. Henry did nothing to dispel the critiques about his side-to-side speed with mediocre times in the quick agility drills at the combine.

Henry did however run a 4.54 second 40-yard dash and has a 37” vertical leap at 6-foot-3 and 247 lbs, proving he is an athletic freak.  Something to love about Derrick is his reputation for being a “gym rat.” In the NFL, it is not all about athleticism because everyone is supremely talented at that level and the players that last the longest in the league are the ones who put in the work after practice ends.

Watching Henry’s tape, I saw a running back that consistently avoided tacklers, along with the ability to fall forward to pick up an extra one to two yards. In his final season, he carried the Alabama offense to a national championship by defeating Clemson. In the process, Henry carried the ball nearly 400 times for 2,220 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also chipped in on the screen game and was strong as a pass protector, en route to winning the Heisman Trophy.

Henry came to Alabama as a 5-star recruit and set a national record for the most career rushing yards at Yulee High School in Florida.  He played third-wheel to TJ Yeldon and Kenyan Drake as a freshman and split time with Yeldon as a sophomore when Drake got injured.  In 2015, it was Henry’s turn to take the crown as the lead back when Yeldon turned pro and he definitely made the most of it.

His NFL comparison is an upgraded version of LeGarrette Blount for his big frame and fall forward mentality.

Talent: 9

Risk Level: 6

Overall (so far): 15

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3) Devontae Booker, Utah

If it were not for Booker and his 1,500 yards and 11 TD’s last season, the Utes offense would have looked completely different. Booker maximized his rushing yards and displayed soft hands out of the backfield until he went down with a torn meniscus in his knee.  Booker showed he has the skills to contribute right away as a three-down back in the National Football League.

He broke out in 2014 for 1,800 yards and 12 touchdowns with Utah as a top JUCO recruit out of American River Junior College. Originally signed to Washington State out of high school in Sacramento, Booker went the junior college route and had a standout year at American River before sitting out all of 2013 to focus on academics.

I like Booker’s ability to break first contact with a strong lower body and bowlegs reminiscent of Marshawn Lynch.  Booker shows a good feel for his blocking as well as making quick, decisive cuts to gain speed. At 5-foot-11 and 219 lbs, he adds a lot of value in the passing game, making all the catches while continuing to keep his speed.

One concern with Devontae is his top-end speed and his ability to break long runs against the fast defenses of the NFL and his knee injury, which forced him to sit out of the NFL combine, could be something to keep an eye on. Entering the NFL off an injury-shortened season could be a cause for concern, and some NFL scouts could question if Booker can withstand the pounding that an NFL running back takes.

With a strong lower body and exceptional skills out of the backfield, Devontae Booker could be compared to Matt Forte.

Talent: 8

Risk Level: 6

Overall (so far): 14

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4) Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech

Running backs transitioning from a smaller collegiate program to the NFL are often more difficult to evaluate.  It is easier to evaluate a prospect when they are facing top end talent on defense, such as the Power Five conferences. Dixon is entering the NFL Draft from Louisiana Tech of Conference USA, where he was the school’s all-time leading rusher for 4,480 yards and 87 touchdowns and a four-year starter.

At 5-foot-10 and 215 lbs, Dixon posted a very average 40-yard dash time of 4.58 seconds but put up a top time in the 3-cone drill and a top vertical leap among running backs of 37.5 inches.  While the mediocre 40-time was expected, it was nice to see Kenneth finish near the top in the vertical leap, which shows explosion and the 3-cone drill, which shows stop-start quickness.  The sudden change of direction skills and a wicked jump-cut should greatly benefit Dixon going from a non-Power Five conference, to the much bigger and faster NFL. While he may not have the breakaway speed to break many long runs, Dixon is a physical runner who has the foot speed and cutting ability to succeed in the NFL.

One major concern I have for Dixon are his thirteen fumbles over the past three seasons, as he must clean that up to stay on the field in the NFL. I am also worried about Dixon’s lower body strength and his capability to break tackles at the professional level. The Louisiana Tech star needs to add bulk and must improve in pass protection to become the full package.

Kenneth Dixon is a real asset catching the ball out of the backfield and is advanced in his route running. Due to his size and cutting style, he looks similar to Lamar Miller breaking through the line of scrimmage into the second level.

Talent: 8

Risk Level: 5

Overall (so far):  13

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