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Wolf's Big Board:     Monday, May 29, 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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Evaluating The Remaining NFL Free Agent Running Backs

The free agent running back market has been an interesting one so far. The richest deals so far have been handed out to guys like Danny Woodhead and Eddie Lacy, while the likes of Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, and Rashad Jennings continue to look for a uniform to don in 2017. Furthermore, plenty of teams could still use a reliable option at running back. The NFL Draft presents a handful of promising options in Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette, and others, but many coaches will take history over mystery in this league, even with aging running backs.

The “Lead Back Potential” Tier

Adrian Peterson

Obviously, when looking at this crop of RBs, Adrian Peterson is the most eye-catching of the group. Yes, he’s 32, but after appearing in just 20 games over the last three seasons, AP has the legs of a 29 year old. Not to mention this is the guy who tore his ACL in 2011 and returned for Week 1 less than 9 months later, and went on to rack up the 2nd-highest yardage total in NFL history that season. Peterson’s best and brightest days may be behind him, but he still holds the potential to be a reliable RB option for a team that needs him. The problem is, he doesn’t seem to be garnering as much interest as we initially thought. The Vikings were always up near the top in the AP Sweepstakes, but that seems unlikely now that they’ve inked Latavius Murray to a 3-year deal. He had also been discussed as taking over as Murray’s replacement in Oakland, but those talks seem to have stalled and the Raiders have even resorted to trying to coax Marshawn Lynch out of retirement. Regardless, AP definitely still has some juice left in the tank, and it’s tough to think that some team won’t eventually find a spot for the future Hall of Famer.

Jamaal Charles

Simply put, Jamaal Charles is a fantasy GOAT whose best days were taken from us far too soon. Charles is only 30 years old, but has endured multiple ACL tears and seems to be on the back end of his career at this point. He’ll surely be rested after playing in just 3 games in 2016 with a grand total of 12 rushing attempts, but his injury-prone knees and aging frame remain the biggest roadblocks between Charles and an NFL contract. I’m still not ready to declare that the speed and elusiveness that netted Charles 4 Pro Bowl appearances and the NFL record of career rushing yards per attempt (5.5) — along with a few track & field state championships — as gone for good, but they’ll be tough to get back, and first he’s gonna need a team to believe in him.

The “Capable Backup/3rd Down Back” Tier

Rashad Jennings

Rashad Jennings is an interesting one. After setting career highs in rushing attempts (195), rushing yards (863), and receiving yards (296) in 2015, Jennings started just 12 games in 2016 due to a thumb injury. He managed to get a healthy amount of carries (181), but his production dropped pretty sharply. Jennings excelled early in his career as a backup to guys like Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew, but having a starting role in New York didn’t work out too well, which will certainly scare away teams looking for a feature back. He’s 31 years old but is still definitely someone I think could be a 3rd down back on a competitive team — once he completes Dancing With the Stars.

LeGarrette Blount

As much as it pains me to come to terms with it, it looks like the Patriots are unlikely to re-sign LeGarrette Blount. I’m really not sure why, but that’s what it sounds like. Blount spent last season as a part of a talented but cheap three-headed monster alongside James White and Dion Lewis, and it led to him leading the league with 18 rushing touchdowns. But after the Patriots went out and signed Rex Burkhead in free agency, Blount’s role seems just about filled in New England. He turned 30 in December and obviously had discipline issues in the past (this and of course this), so he’s not the safest option, but some team at some point will be able to use his services.

DeAngelo Williams

If DeAngelo Williams manages to sign anywhere for decent money this offseason, he should send Le’Veon Bell an Edible Arrangement. Most guys backing up arguably the best running back in football don’t get a lot of opportunities, but suspensions and injuries to Bell resulted in Williams starting 14 games and rushing over 1,200 yards over his 2 seasons in Pittsburgh. But as a free agent at 33, it’s not gonna be easy to find a team willing to pull the trigger on him. Teams are becoming more and more wary of running backs once they hit their 30s, and Williams has taken quite a few hits over his 11-year career. If Pittsburgh doesn’t bring him back for one more year (they still may) there’s a decent chance that nobody else will.

The “Guy That Could Ride Some Team’s Bench All Year” Tier

James Starks

If we’d made a Roto Award for the “Running Back Who Had The Best Opportunity To Break Out But Didn’t”, it probably would’ve gone to James Starks. After Eddie Lacy struggled with injuries and other issues over the last few seasons, Starks had a job to win on a great offense. But his 2015 performance was underwhelming, and he did little to impress anyone in 2016 before suffering a knee injury — followed by a car accident that put him in concussion protocol and ended his season. The Packers have already re-signed Christine Michael and indicated they plan to extend the Ty Montgomery experiment to season 2, so Green Bay seems like an unlikely destination. At 31 there’s still time for Starks to prove his worth and health to someone, but he’ll not topping any team’s list at the moment.

Reggie Bush

Reggie Bush looked to be poised to have a productive, lengthy career after amassing over 1,000 yards in his age-29 season in 2013. But he’s managed just 96 rushing attempts since then — and only 20 over the past 2 seasons — due to injuries and just general lack of production. Last season, he actually became the first non-quarterback in NFL history to have over 10 rushing attempts and end the season with negative yards gained (he had -3). Not exactly the resume teams are looking for in a 32-year-old. Bush certainly isn’t doomed to retire just yet, but plenty of names will definitely move before his comes up.

Honorable Mention: Chris Johnson, Justin Forsett, Tim Hightower, Karlos Williams, Khiry Robinson, Matt Asiata & Ronnie Hillman

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