2022 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Rachaad White (Fantasy Football)
While Breece Hall, Kenneth Walker, and Isaiah Spiller are generally considered the consensus top-3 of this class, there are multiple running backs with later-round draft capital that could still make an impact for your dynasty teams. Rachaad White out of Arizona State is one to keep an eye on as he profiles as one of the more versatile and productive prospects in this running back class. While he started his career at Mt. San Antonio Junior college, White finished his career with the Sun Devils, operating as one of the most productive running backs in the Pac-12. Now he enters the league with the potential to be a late Day 2 or early Day 3 pick in the NFL draft.
Editors 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.
College Production Profile
Rachaad White does not have a traditional prospect profile as he enters the draft as a redshirt-Senior, declaring for the NFL five years after graduating high school. As a result, he will be an older rookie in his age-23 season, while prospects such as Breece Hall and Isaiah Spiller will not turn 21 until after the draft. In addition, White was not a highly recruited prospect coming out of high school which is why he started his collegiate career playing for Mt. San Antonio Junior College (after redshirting his true freshman season at the University of Nebraska Kearney) . Despite the lesser competition, he was not an immediate contributor in his redshirt-freshman season as he only totaled 392 rushing yards. However, in his second year, White gave us a glimpse of his potential by totaling 1,480 scrimmage yards in 11 games. He would average an impressive 34.5% weighted team dominator rating, and a much-improved 8.9% receiving yards market share. Because of his stellar Sophomore campaign, White would receive offers from multiple Division I programs such as UCLA and Tennessee. And while he initially committed to the UCLA Bruins, he eventually enrolled with the Arizona State Sun Devils for his Junior season.
Transferring into a Power 5 conference, the biggest question was whether White could maintain his production against better competition. He would put those concerns to rest rather quickly as he continued to dominate, operating as the lead running back for the Sun Devils. And while his rushing yards share did decline at Arizona State, it was his involvement in the receiving game that truly set him apart from other prospects. In his final two seasons, White totaled 607 receiving yards in only 15 games, averaging an impressive 20.6% receiving yards market share. More importantly, since 2020, he averaged 2.21 yards per team play, proving that he is more than capable of producing against higher-level competition.
Despite an unconventional path to the NFL, White now enters the draft with a very productive profile. He would finish his career 3rd in this class in weighted team dominator rating (27.2%) and yards per team play (1.67), only behind Breece Hall and Sincere McCormick. In addition, he also leads the class in receiving yards market share at 10.52%. Based on his numbers alone, it is clear that White is one of the more versatile running backs in the 2022 draft. And while he is only projected to be a late day 2/early day 3 pick, he presents plenty of upside for dynasty managers, especially with his outstanding receiving ability.
White showcased some impressive athleticism at the NFL combine. Measuring in at 6’0” and 214 lbs, he comes in just slightly below the average RB1 weight of 219 lbs. In addition, his 40-yard dash of 4.48 is well above average as well for someone with a 214 lb frame. That would equate to a 106.3 weight-adjusted speed score, which ranks in the 84th percentile per PlayerProfiler. His burst score of 127.1 – which combines a player’s vertical and broad jump – is equally impressive ranking in the 87th percentile. Based on these combine results, it is clear that White possesses above-average athleticism, further improving his overall profile. Draft capital will ultimately determine whether he is relied upon as a three-down running back; however, it is encouraging to see that White has the frame and athletic ability to potentially succeed on all three downs in the NFL.
What’s on Tape
If you followed along with my weekly Dynasty Report, you might already be familiar with my film-evaluation process. In short, I watch 4 to 6 games, taking notes on nearly every offensive snap that the player was involved in. Let’s dive in!
Games Viewed: 2021 vs UCLA, 2021 vs Colorado, 2021 vs Oregon State, 2021 vs Washington
1. White displays excellent vision, especially on zone running plays
White’s vision was one of the most impressive aspects of his game, as he consistently identified the correct running lane to exploit. And while he was successful on inside runs as well, he made most of his damage rushing outside. Especially in the zone running game, White’s patience was on full display as he never forced an opportunity until the opening presented itself. He would usually wait for the blocking to develop, identify the open lane, and accelerate into the open space. We see some of these traits in the play below against Oregon State. While this run was partially a product of outstanding blocking, White patiently waits until the play is fully developed before exploding into the open field.
2. White is one of the most versatile running backs in this class
White stands out in this class due to his versatility and usage in the Sun Devils’ offense. He was leveraged as an inside/outsider rusher, a red-zone weapon, and, more impressively, as a receiver lined up all over the field. His receiving ability is what makes him an intriguing prospect as he ran routes out of the backfield, in the slot, and at times even out wide. And while he was primarily asked to run flat routes, he also showcased the ability to succeed on wheel routes, angle routes, and even go routes. In their matchup against Colorado, White was even used in the screen game lined up on the outside. In short, White was a swiss-army knife in the Sun Devils offense, and I believe his versatility could land him an immediate role in an NFL offense.
3. White’s footwork allows him to navigate through tight spaces and find the open field
White’s ability to anticipate and react to defenses is one of the reasons why he is much more than just a receiving back. He keeps his feet moving in the trenches, which allows him to quickly react laterally/vertically to the defensive coverage. Whether it was a subtle sidestep, a spin-move, or a hesitation, White has the athleticism and reactionary ability to evade defenders in tight spots. Below is one of my favorite plays from White’s film. While this was not a massive gain, I love how he stays light on his feet while moving laterally to avoid a crowd of defenders. And then to close out the play, he battles through contact for additional yards.
What’s Not on Tape
1. Wasted Receiving Opportunities
As we already discussed above, White was used heavily as a receiver in the Sun Devils’ offense. While his volume was obviously a catalyst to his receiving production, it was White’s ability to create yards after the catch that led to his impressive 10.8 yards per reception (which ranks 4th in the class). Rarely in his film do you see White wasting a receiving opportunity as he frequently created impactful plays even on short receptions. In addition, in the four games that I reviewed, I only observed one dropped reception in the multitude of opportunities that White received. And even on plays where the pass was slightly off target, White showcased an ability to adjust to the pass and even reel in contested catches. In short, he is one of the most reliable receivers in this running back class as evidenced by his efficiency and production in his final two seasons.
2. Consistent Success as a Pass Protector
Unfortunately, this is where White’s game takes a hit as he was not the most consistent pass protector for his quarterback. The willingness and effort were always there as White was never afraid to initiate contact. However, there were multiple instances where he was caught flat-footed (unable to adjust to pass rusher) or simply missed his assignment in the backfield. And as we know, pass protection is a pre-requisite to being a 3rd down weapon. For someone who excels so much as a route runner and receiver, White needs to improve in this aspect of his game if he wants to have an immediate role at the next level.
2022 Fantasy Outlook
Rachaad White enters the draft with a productive profile finishing top-5 in the class in a variety of efficiency and usage metrics. Regardless, the most predictive metric that we have (especially for running backs) continues to be draft capital. And as of right now, White is only projected to be a 4th round prospect according to the NFL Mock Draft Database. The good news is that his stock has steadily improved over the last few weeks, which could be a sign that he might just sneak into the 3rd round.
And if we compare his profile to previous draft classes, the range of outcomes is extremely wide due to his projected capital. However, his usage in the receiving game is what continues to set him apart. We just have not seen many running backs average a 10% receiving yards market share for the entirety of their career. More impressively, we rarely see running backs hit that 20% receiving threshold in a single season, which White accomplished nearly twice in his collegiate career. As a result, if we look at all running back prospects since 2013, filtering those who entered the league at age 23 or older, with Round 3 or later draft capital, and collegiate averages of:
- +10% Receiving Yards Market Share
- +20% Total Team Yards Market Share
…we arrive at an interesting group of running backs:
- Charles Sims
- Marion Grice
- David Johnson
- Devontae Booker
- Rachaad White (assuming he is selected in round 3 or 4)
Naturally, my eyes gravitated towards David Johnson, who is by far the most accomplished running back of this group. However, Sims and Booker are also interesting comps as they both produced when given the opportunity, though were never truly relied upon as lead running backs. It is also slightly ironic that Marion Grice makes this list as he was a former Arizona State prospect, but was selected in the 6th round. In short, David Johnson could very well be the ceiling for White, however, it is probably more realistic that he has a career arc similar to Sims and Booker. So while White does check a lot of boxes as a prospect, draft capital will ultimately dictate his outlook in the NFL.