2022 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Hassan Haskins (Fantasy Football)
Many big names at RB and WRs will highlight the top of your rookie drafts, but there are interesting prospects at running back beyond Breece Hall, Isaiah Spiller, and Kenneth Walker. In fact, someone you may see go undrafted in mock drafts is Michigan RB Hassan Haskins. Despite this lower consensus appeal, Hassan Haskins is worth a late round flier in your dynasty rookie draft because he’s almost guaranteed to make an NFL roster and will find his way into relevant playing time with an injury or two.
Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Rookie Profile series going on until the 2022 NFL Draft. For more on each rookie, check out Andy, Mike, and Jason’s exclusive rookie rankings and production profiles found only in the Dynasty Pass, part of the UDK+ for 2022.
Haskins did not start his collegiate career as a running back. Jim Harbaugh recruited him as an athlete, and most of the Michigan coaches believed his future was at the linebacker position or somewhere on the defensive side of the ball. Haskins played running back in high school, but Haskins faced stiff competition for carries as an underclassman. Michigan’s backfield was deep in 2018, when he was a freshman, given the presence of Karan Higdon and Chris Evans, both of whom were drafted to be NFL running backs. Also, Michigan secured the commitment of highly sought-after RB, Zach Charbonnet the same year Haskins committed. Nevertheless, an opening at RB arose in 2019 for Haskins when Chris Evans left the program for “academic issues”, and Haskins never looked back.
Technically, Charbonnet led the Wolverines in rushing 2019, but it was Haskins who looked the stronger runner in the second half of the season when given the opportunity. The following season, Haskins was the clear RB1 in the shortened COVID-affected 2020 season.
In Haskins’ senior season, he became a true leader of the team. He accumulated 1327 rushing yards and 20 (!!!) rushing touchdowns. In the Big Ten, Haskins was #1 in rushing attempts, #2 in rushing yards, and #1 in touchdowns. Integrally, he excelled when it mattered most, scoring 5 touchdowns against rival Ohio State and rushing for 169 yards. Haskins impressive senior year looks even better considering that Haskins was part of a clear 3-way timeshare with dynamic running Blake Corum and exciting freshman Donovan Edwards. Also notable, Haskins played behind the NCAA’s best offensive line.
Haskins is not a huge pass catcher, but he’s capable. He caught 18 passes in his senior season for 131 yards.
|6′ 2″||228||31 3/4″||9 1/4″||27 reps|
Haskins could not fully participate in the NFL draft combine because of an ankle injury, nor did he participate in Michigan’s pro day for the same reason. However, he was able to put up the most reps on the bench press among all eligible running backs. Haskins’ 27 reps is two more than second place and six more than third place among running backs. This impressive output on the bench highlights Haskins’ best feature: his power/strength. He is a power back, he is big and strong, and he can move the pile. That ability is valuable in the NFL, especially near the goal line, which also makes him an interesting prospect for fantasy football players.
What’s on Tape:
Strength and Moving the Pile
Every scouting report you read on Haskins will likely highlight that he lacks that top end speed. But that one missing feature is not a death sentence. What Haskins lacks in speed, he makes up for with power, balance, vision, and strength. Haskins always moved the pile at Michigan, he handled the load, and he made highlight plays without outracing defensive backs.
Haskins primary appeal comes from power running. Just watch the video clips from below – the first demonstrating his ability to use strength and stiff arms to compensate for the lack of lateral speed.
Also, famously, the entire Northwestern team could barely bring him down because he was able to maintain his balance and keep his legs move even among a huge scrum.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 23, 2021
Michigan relied upon Haskins’ ability to fall forward so often that the team renamed important short yardage downs “3rd and Haskins”. Always consistent, he pushed the pile and made sure he kept Michigan’s offense on the field, which of course led to a Big Ten Championship and Michigan’s first College Football Playoff Appearance.
In addition to power, Haskins’ athleticism allows for the a few famous hurdles.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 10, 2021
— Pablo Viruega (@PabloViruega) November 27, 2021
All considered, Haskins is a between the tackles runner with enough strength and vision to accumulate consistent yards. These skills are enough to always fall forward, even in the NFL, which should entice a team to take him as high as the 3rd round, but he is still likely a Day 3 pick.
What’s Not on Tape
Haskins was noted by his teammates as a silent leader. Jim Harbaugh frequently credited Haskins, along with QB Cade McNamara and Aiden Hutchinson, as one of the player-driven reasons why Michigan was able rebound so successfully from a terrible 2020 season. Haskins is noted as a hard worker who inspires his teammates.
Haskins played special teams for Michigan all year, even as a senior. Haskins often played special teams for punt coverage and kick coverage for Michigan, and played well in both roles. His willingness to play special teams goes back to his quiet, “do-as-I-do” leadership mentioned above, but also demonstrates his versatility.
For a rookie, especially a likely Day-3 draft pick, playing special teams might be the ticket to avoiding the cut line. Between being a rookie and having significant experience and talent playing special teams, Haskins ought to easily make any NFL team.
2022 Fantasy Outlook
Hassan Haskins is unlikely to immediately inherit a starting role, or even a fantasy-relevant complementary role. However, he is likely to make the roster of whatever team that drafts him because of his willingness and ability to play strong special teams. That means Haskins likely starts the year as a #3 running back for an NFL team, which is probably only one injury away from fantasy relevance. If given the chance to play significant snaps, I have full faith that Haskins will become a touchdown scoring machine and a consistent yardage producer on the ground. His game doesn’t currently have huge upside in the passing game, so his ceiling may not be particularly high, but he could be a great bye week fill-in and should not be on a dynasty waiver wire.