Late-round running backs
Posted Apr. 30 at 11:01 PM
If you've got a rookie-only draft coming up, you're probably scouring over the multitude of running backs selected in the later rounds of last weekend's draft, trying to figure out which of them will amount to anything, and which ones won't. Any Tim Hightowers there? Let's take a look.
(Runners drafted in the fifth round or later)
Quinn Johnson, Packers. Johnson is a candidate to play fullback for the team, and a longshot at that.
Frank Summers, Steelers. Pittsburgh media is already speculating that Summers will be a candidate for a goal-line role. That's just speculation, but he's worth a look if you're already invested in Steelers running backs.
Javon Ringer, Titans. One of my favorite sleepers, since he goes to a Tennessee team that will probably happily replace LenDale White a year from now. Ringer is a capable inside runner who scored 22 TDs last year at Michigan State. As a Chris Johnson dynasty owner, I'll hope to get Ringer with a late pick.
Cedric Peerman, Ravens. Peerman turned in the fastest 40 time at the combine and will probably return kicks for the Ravens. He could reasonable see some time as a change-of-pace back, but there's a bit of a logjam for the Ravens right now, with Willis McGahee, LeRon McClain, and Ray Rice ahead of him. We know McGahee's time in Baltimore will probably be short, but Peerman still has a long way to climb before he has fantasy relevance.
Aaron Brown, Lions. Brown is built like a wide receiver (6-0, 196), and could work his way into a role as a pass-catching third-down back. It seems unlikely that he'll ever be more than that with the Lions.
James Davis, Browns. Hello! Davis has good size (though he lacks speed); he stands a reasonable chance of challenging Jerome Harrison for the primary backup job to Jamal Lewis, who's really slowing down. Worth a flier in deep leagues.
Bernard Scott, Bengals. Smaller, shifty type of back; could have a future as a change-of-pace option in Cincinnati. The Division II runner has some off-the-field concerns -- past run-ins with the law -- which make his selection by the Bengals either surprising or unsurprising, depending on your estimation of the team's common sense.
Chris Ogbonnaya, Rams. A hard-nosed runner who can catch the ball out of the backfield, which sounds a little like Steven Jackson. Jackson owners should have him on their radar.
Javarris Williams, Kansas City.Tough runner, but we're into the seventh round now and there are a bunch of players ahead of him in Kansas City.
Taufui Vakapuna, Bengals; Eddie Williams, Washington. Fullbacks.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals. Great name. Small, speedy little back who might get a shot on returns and maybe as a change-of-pace option. No threat to start, however.
Rashad Jennings, Jaguars. I can't figure out why Jennings lasted so long, but no matter. He has a realistic shot to be Maurice Jones-Drew's primary backup, with only Chauncey Washington to surpass. The small-school runner has good power and enough speed to be a factor in this backfield; definitely a possible handcuff (at worst) for MJD owners.
Let's be clear: it's possible not one of these players will ever have significant fantasy impact. They wouldn't have lasted until the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds if NFL GMs were confident in their abilities. But then again, if you're holding the projected starter on one of these players' teams, you might want to snag them with a late-round pick. Better that than having to trade for them a month into the season.
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