2022 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Zamir White (Fantasy Football)

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The 2022 running back class has been labeled as shallow. According to Grinding the Mocks, no running back is expected to be selected on the first day of the NFL Draft, and only four will go off the board over the first three rounds. However, there are a plethora of backs that will be selected later in the draft with plenty of potential. Zamir White has the pedigree to rise to the top of the late-round backs, if not the whole running back class. 

Apologies to those in the devy streets, but most of the fantasy football world knows little to nothing about White. He was a five-star prospect and the top-ranked high school running back of the 2017 recruiting class. It’s been a winding road for White since then. Let’s see how he projects as a fantasy football prospect within the 2022 NFL Draft class. 

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.

College Production

Year Games Attempts Yards Yards/Att Rush TDs Rec Receiving Yards Yards/Rec Rec TDs
2019 12 78 408 5.2 3 2 80 10.0 0
2020 10 144 779 5.4 11 6 150 6.2 0
2021 15 160 856 5.4 11 9 169 8.3 0

As mentioned above, White was an elite high school prospect. Not only a dominant football player, he also excelled on the track. He ran a blistering 10.58 seconds in the 100 meter dash. For what it’s worth, Jonathan Taylor ran a similar 10.49 seconds in the 100 meters in high school.

Unfortunately, White suffered a torn ACL in the playoffs of his senior season. He still secured a scholarship to Georgia and was recovering well before unfortunately suffering another torn ACL on the opposite knee during preseason camp in 2018. He was redshirted and didn’t play as a true freshman.

In 2019 White finally got on the field. He was productive but understandably limited in his snaps as he played behind star teammate D’Andre Swift. It wasn’t until 2020 that White took over as the lead back. He led Georgia with 1,635 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns over his final two seasons.

Measurables

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Height Weight 40-Yard Dash  Vertical Jump Broad Jump
6’0” 214 lbs 4.40 33 ½” 128”

White crushed the combine in March. Breece Hall may have overshadowed him, but maybe that shouldn’t have been the case.

White and Hall are practically the same height and weight with nearly the same 40-yard dash time. He may have had a lower vertical jump than Hall, but considering it was just a half of an inch lower than Kenneth Walker’s, I don’t think it needs to be considered an area of concern. After all, running backs aren’t typically asked to elevate vertically on the football field.

What’s on Tape

Games Viewed: Alabama (2021 National Championship), Clemson (2021), Arkansas (2021), Florida (2021), Missouri (2020), Auburn (2020) 

White always finishes forward, gaining every extra yard possible

When watching White’s film, one thing stood out over everything else. He finishes nearly every run falling forward. He’s rarely brought down by the first defender to make contact with him. According to Pro Football Focus, he averaged 3.6 yards after contact/attempt and racked up 580 yards after contact in 2021. That accounted for 68% of his total rushing yards on the season.

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In the clip below, you can see White carrying the pile for a first down. In this game against Arkansas, I counted at least seven rushes where White pushed forward to gain extra yards after the initial defender attempted to bring him down.

He has the vision to find openings and the footwork to take advantage of them

White has the instincts you love to see in a running back. He’s patient in setting up blocks, has the vision to find a hole, and can move and cut with the best of them. In the clip below, he sees the unblocked linebacker coming to fill the run lane and he makes a textbook jump cut to the outside. Once there, he bursts upfield for a big gain. It’s exactly the type of play you love to see from a running back.

Pass Blocking

He didn’t put up many receiving stats, but White wasn’t a liability on pass plays. He frequently chips edge rushers or fits into pass protection, often right after a play-action fake. He didn’t shy away from larger defensive linemen or oncoming blitzers in the SEC, a trait that should benefit him in the NFL.

What’s NOT on Tape

Pass Catching

White’s most glaring deficiency is his lack of work in the receiving game. Over his three seasons as a Bulldog, he caught just 16 passes on 21 targets. That may have been because he shared the backfield with fellow 2022 running back draft prospect James Cook, who was used as the pass-catching back and hauled in 59 receptions over the same three seasons as White. Make sure you check out Cook’s rookie profile as well. 

This doesn’t mean he can’t catch. White put a handful of receptions on tape, just not nearly enough. We’ve seen backs in the past, Melvin Gordon for example, go underutilized as a receiver in college before succeeding there at the NFL level. It may not be the norm, but it shouldn’t be ruled out.

Breakaway Speed

White had plenty of long touchdown runs, but they typically came on well-executed plays that allowed him to run free to the endzone without having to outrun the secondary. I’m not saying he’s slow, because he isn’t, but given his track background, I was surprised that I didn’t see that speed on tape. In the clip below, I expected him to outrun the safety up the sideline and score instead of getting caught. 

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2022 Fantasy Outlook

White isn’t expected to get the kind of draft capital that thrusts him into an immediate lead role for an NFL team. He’ll likely either start his rookie campaign as a backup or, best case scenario, part of an ambiguous multi-back committee. An injury to the lead back in front of him could lead to an increased workload and fantasy value, but that isn’t something you can bank on in your draft. As far as redraft leagues are concerned, White probably won’t be worth drafting but is a name to have on your radar for the waivers later in the season.

From a dynasty perspective, Whtie is more interesting. He has the background and athletic profile that matches that of a fantasy RB1. He won’t be handed the role, however, and it will take time for him to get it, if he ever does. Still, his potential ceiling is a reward that makes him well worth selecting with a later low-cost rookie pick.

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