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2024 NFL Draft Prospects: Overvalued Running Backs (Fantasy Football)

2024 NFL Draft Prospects: Overvalued Running Backs (Fantasy Football)

The 2024 class is one of the best draft classes we have seen in the last couple years, but one position has been dragged through the mud and labeled as a bust for NFL teams and fantasy managers alike: the running backs. I am here to tell you that, while the class lacks truly elite talent at the position, it brings eight or more players who will be toting the rock on Sundays for a long time. While these will change as we gather more information, my Pre-Combine top 12 RB Rankings are below:

  1. Audric Estime (RB – Notre Dame)
  2. Braelon Allen (RB – Wisconsin)
  3. Jonathon Brooks (RB – Texas)
  4. MarShawn Lloyd (RB – USC)
  5. Bucky Irving (RB – Oregon)
  6. Jaylen Wright (RB – Tennessee)
  7. Blake Corum (RB – Michigan)
  8. Trey Benson (RB – Florida State)
  9. Will Shipley (RB – Clemson)
  10. Isaiah Davis (RB – South Dakota State)
  11. Ray Davis (RB – Kentucky)
  12. Kimani Vidal (RB – Troy)

When we have a class like this, the important thing to focus on is how to determine which of this large group of similarly-talented players will fail to elevate themselves from the rest. So, let’s dive in.

2024 NFL Draft Guide

Overvalued NFL Draft Targets: Running Backs

Blake Corum (RB – Michigan)

Blake Corum has been one of the more productive runners in college football over his last few seasons at Michigan. He played a significant role in securing Michigan’s National Championship this season. So why is he on the list of overvalued RBs in this class? When we dive into Corum’s tape, there are a few red flags that will limit his ability to be a standout player at the next level. Corum lacks the long speed you see in the elite running backs in the NFL. Not only that, but he has shown some inconsistency when it comes to his impact on passing downs. Corum has demonstrated the ability to be a weapon out of the backfield as a receiver, but he is not a natural receiver and needs to sharpen his routes. His counting stats tell us he is an elite rusher, and when evaluating his vision, elite is the only word you can use. That said, he regularly struggled with contact in 2022 and 2023, sporting an unimpressive 2.4 yards after contact per attempt last season. Finally, his age is something of note, especially when evaluating running back prospects in the NFL. At the beginning of his rookie season, Corum will be 23. When looking at some of the other prospects in this class, like Braelon Allen (20), Jonathon Brooks (20), and Audric Estime (20), Corum’s age is somewhat of a red flag.

Current Draft Projection: Top 70 Pick

Where He Should Go: 4th Round

Ideal Landing Spot: Los Angeles Chargers. Not to state the obvious here, but Corum landing with his college coach, Jim Harbaugh, would bode well for his chance at success in the NFL. He may be limited to early down work and will likely be a part of a committee at the next level, but he can find a role that should give him some longevity.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

Trey Benson (RB – Florida State)

I can already hear the boos echoing in after picking two fan favorites as the players to avoid but remember, this is all within the context of where projections have them being drafted and their expected role for an offense. Trey Benson is an interesting evaluation. His tape is incredibly fun to watch and he probably has the most YouTube highlights of any back in this class. But he is not without flaws and if NFL teams are investing in Benson, they shouldn’t burn a pick in the top three rounds.

The positives for Benson are the things that will blow up the NFL combine. Speed, burst, acceleration, strength, you can see it all over his tape, and it’s why he sits near the top of many people’s rankings. But the concerns are there, too. Benson lacks hip flexibility and has limited wiggle when navigating traffic. He frequently seeks out contact as soon as he gets a chance, exposing him to big hits and making it difficult to evaluate his vision. Benson relies on his athleticism rather than being a high-IQ runner, which will only take him so far at the next level. For all of his highlight plays, his production at FSU was solid but unspectacular, and he saw a dip in efficiency from year one to year two for the Seminoles. When looking at player comparisons for Benson, he lands somewhere between Trent Richardson and David Montgomery, and I don’t think it’s the latter.

Current Draft Projection: Top 80 Pick

Where He Should Go: 4th Round

Ideal Landing Spot: Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs have one of the more impressive receiving running backs in the NFL in Rachaad White. Where White fails is between the tackles and early down efficiencies. Benson could slot into this committee and bring the thunder to Rachaad White’s lightning.

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