2020 NFL Draft Rookie RB Landing Spots: Rounds 1-3 (Fantasy Football)
Here’s a look at the landing spots of each RB selected in Rounds 1-3. The draft started slowly for this class of RBs with Clyde Edwards-Helaire just sneaking into the first round, but eight RBs had their name called during Day Two of the NFL Draft with some of these RBs landing in prime positions to make immediate and long-term impacts. Let’s analyze the fantasy fits of the NFL’s newest rushers.
You can take a deeper look at these rookies and more through our Rookie Player Profiles.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire – Kansas City Chiefs
Round 1, Pick 32 (32nd Overall)
Most had Jonathan Taylor or D’Andre Swift tapped for most likely to be the first RB taken, but Edwards-Helaire ended up winning the honor. Incredibly, Edwards Helaire goes from one of the best college offenses of all-time at LSU to one of the best offenses in the NFL led by Patrick Mahomes. I’ll admit, I didn’t think KC was going to add an RB given their stable of RBs and the recent acquisition of DeAndre Washington, but it appears there was never a doubt in house. It helps when your young league MVP- and Super Bowl-winning QB gives their stamp of approval:
— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) April 24, 2020
As good as Kansas City was in 2019, the RB situation was a bit of a mess. An early injury to Damien Williams allowed LeSean McCoy to rack up some touches early in the season, but no KC rusher exceeded 500 yards rushing or 30 receptions in the regular season. The ceiling might not be too high in year one with Damien Williams and DeAndre Washington on the roster, but Edwards-Helaire offers an immediate floor in PPR-leagues because of his abilities as a pass-catcher and his ceiling is overall RB1.
2020 Competition: Damien Williams, DeAndre Washington, Darwin Thompson
D’Andre Swift – Detroit Lions
Round 2, Pick 3 (35th Overall)
The Lions’ pick was an emphatic and early answer to the question “Can Kerryon Johnson remain atop the depth chart?” In three years at Georgia, Swift never averaged less than 6.2 yards per carry and managed to rack up 834 yards from scrimmage his Freshmen year despite playing on the same team with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Swift is nasty-elusive in the open field and his pass-catching abilities give him immediate fantasy appeal even if splitting time with Kerryon Johnson. Incredibly, Detroit has only had one 1,000-yard rusher in the past 15 years(Reggie Bush-2013). We’ve seen promising young backs like Joique Bell, Ameer Abdullah, and likely Kerryon Johnson fail to deliver. This time will be different right? Right!?
2020 Competition: Kerryon Johnson
Jonathan Taylor – Indianapolis Colts
Round 2, Pick 9 (41st Overall)
Taylor was an exceptional producer in Wisconsin with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage every year as a Badger. He then went and blazed a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL combine at 226 lbs. There is some good and some bad to this landing spot. Indianapolis has some of the best coaching in the league starting with Head Coach Frank Reich. Indianapolis also has a solid offensive line to work behind. The problem for Taylor is the depth chart where Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines will steal carries and targets in the short-term. The offense will also be led by aging vet Philip Rivers who has a questionable ability to stretch the defense. Taylor might not have the immediate fantasy appeal the Edwards-Helaire and Swift have, but he’ll have a massive ceiling once he starts dominating touches.
2020 Competition: Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines
Cam Akers – Los Angeles Rams
Round 2, Pick 20 (52nd Overall)
Darrell Henderson owners, you may have a problem. Akers was one of the most highly-decorated and recruited RBs coming out of high school. He chose to go to Florida State University, which was still one of the top programs in the country. Unfortunately, FSU fell apart suppressing Akers’ production. Clearly the Rams liked what Akers was able to do behind a dreadful-awful-no good-very bad offensive line and trusted in his pedigree. With Todd Gurley out of the picture, Akers’ competition comes from veteran Malcolm Brown, and 2019 Third-Round pick Darrell Henderson. Sean McVay likes to employ RBBC’s, but my money is on Akers taking on primary back duties before long.
2020 Competition: Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson
J.K. Dobbins – Baltimore Ravens
Round 2, Pick 23 (55th Overall)
Another great back and another great landing spot. Dobbins rushed for over 2,000 and amassed 21 rushing TDs his final season with Ohio State. He also displayed consistent hands with over 20 receptions in each season. He didn’t participate in any drills beyond the bench press, but his athleticism coming out of high school puts him elite territory and also showed up on his tape. He lands on a team with entrenched veteran Mark Ingram II, but Dobbins should be the heir apparent with only Gus Edwards and 2019 rookie Justice Hill behind him on the roster. Expect a committee out of the Baltimore backfield this year, but it’s wheels up once Dobbins gets his shot atop the depth chart.
2020 Competition: Mark Ingram II, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill
A.J. Dillon – Green Bay Packers
Round 2, Pick 30 (62nd Overall)
I got nothing – this was a bad pick. This has nothing to do with Dillon. He has exceptional athleticism for his size and he’s an absolute beast to bring down, but Dillon is not a particularly good pass-catcher and his pass-blocking is a liability. That is not what you want for Aaron Rodgers in his twilight years. There are rumblings that Matt LaFleur wants to go to more of a run-focused offense. It’s not hard to imagine this draft pick is part of a larger plan to move Green Bay’s offense into something like what LaFleur had in Tennessee with Derrick Henry. We can’t trust Dillon in a crowded backfield, he caps Jones’ goal line production, he doesn’t really help Rodgers, and Dillon is not Derrick Henry despite the comparable size and athleticism.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn – Tampa Bay
Round 3, Pick 12 (76th Overall)
Of the teams that were likely to draft an RB, Tampa Bay was the juiciest spot for fantasy. Vaughn has a very good shot at becoming the bell-cow RB on a team whose offense is stocked with weapons. Vaughn possesses adequate athleticism and succeeded against superior SEC competition despite Vanderbilt’s poor offense. Vaughn exceeded 1,000 yards rushing and double-digit TDs each of the past two seasons and did some damage in the passing game with 29 receptions last year. The biggest concern is pass-blocking where Vaughn struggled. The RB to own in Tampa Bay may come down to whoever wins Brady’s trust the quickest.
Zack Moss – Buffalo Bills
Round 3, Pick 22 (86th Overall)
Zack Moss appeared to be one of the hottest RB prospects heading into the 2019 draft, but an injury cut his 2018 season short. Moss choose to stay in Utah for an extra year and while he produced with 1,416 yards rushing and an additional 388 yards receiving, his tape looked unimpressive at times. Worse, he flopped at the combine. He ran a 4.65 40-yard dash after a poor showing in the vertical jump, although reports emerged that he injured himself on the vertical jump. One of the most underrated aspects of his game is pass-blocking where he scored among the top of the RB class. He also showed well as a pass-catcher with 28 receptions on only 31 targets. Moss’ abilities in the passing game and sufficient abilities as a rusher mean that he will get plenty of touches for Buffalo. Moss and Singletary are a formidable pair from a team perspective, but they’re likely to become a headache for fantasy owners making Start/Sit decisions.
Darrynton Evans – Tennessee Titans
Round 3, Pick 29 (93rd Overall)
While a lot of fantasy players were looking to see who would land in Tampa Bay and some other RB-needy teams, Tennessee’s RB need went largely unnoticed. The departure of Dion Lewis left virtually no depth behind Derrick Henry. Evans offers immediate potential as a change of pace back. His 4.41 40-yard dash was second to only Jonathan Taylor at the combine allowing him to break massive plays anytime his offensive line opened a hole. His speed, vision, and burst also make him a dangerous weapon on special teams. The problem with Evans is his size measuring in at 5’10” and only 203 lbs. Evans probably won’t be able to maintain a work-horse role in the NFL, but he could become a useful PPR flex-play especially without much pass-catching competition in Tennessee’s backfield.
2020 Competition: Derrick Henry