Yesterday I ran an item about incoming rookie running backs who put up huge numbers (1,800 total yards) their final seasons of college; how they fared in their rookie seasons. This is the companion piece: how the running backs who weren't as productive their final years of college performed in their first NFL seasons.

I limited it to running backs drafted in the first three rounds, to make for a more manageable list (and to exclude later picks who sometimes hit as rookies, but aren't expected to). Teams seldom count on fourth- or fifth-round running backs doing big things in their rookie seasons, and fantasy GMs shouldn't either.

Finally, I'm splitting the players in half, since all sub-1,800 yard guys aren't equal. Players who put up 1,700 total yards are a lot more similar to yesterday's group than those who were under 1,000. I'm showing all the numbers, but I'm classifying the "lesser" college performers as the ones who were under 1,300 total yards in their final years of college. That gives us a group of 18 running backs from the past decade, including a pair of 2020 third-rounders (KeShawn Vaughn, pictured, and Antonio Gibson).

Of those previous 16 backs, just under a third (five) put up top-25 (PPR) numbers in their first seasons. That includes 2019 rookie Josh Jacobs (the other 2019 rookie in this group, Damien Harris, barely got on the field). So decent odds for those "lesser" performers in college having significant rookie seasons.

Like yesterday, table shows total yards and touchdowns for each player in their final year of college, followed by rookie numbers and fantasy rank at the position.

20191Josh Jacobs, Oak.8871511501661316721
20151Todd Gurley, St.L.968911061881294109
20101Jahvid Best, Det.1080165554871032620
20152T.J. Yeldon, Jac.1159127402791019328
20153Matt Jones, Wash.8827490304794441
20143Jerick McKinnon, Minn.107312538135673048
20111Mark Ingram, N.O.11571447446520546
20113Stevan Ridley, N.E.12081544113454173
20133Knile Davis, K.C.534324275317556
20163Kenyan Drake, Mia.684217946225274
20132Christine Michael, Sea.46512790790131
20143Dri Archer, Pitt.854114023630155
20193Damien Harris, N.E.10809120120142
20112Ryan Williams, Ariz.586100000--
20203KeShawn Vaughn, T.B.129810?????
20203Antonio Gibson, Wash.110412?????

Finally, for completeness, here are the other 31 running backs selected in the first three rounds over the last decade, including three 2020 backs (D'Andre Swift, Cam Akers and Darrynton Evans). These are guys who fell a little short of yesterday's group but were over today's -- the 1,300 total yards to 1,799 total yards guys. That includes a couple of last year's rookies, Miles Sanders and David Montgomery. Just under a third (9 of 28) put up top-25 numbers as rookies.

20121Doug Martin, T.B.15541814544721926122
20173Alvin Kamara, N.O.988137288261554143
20132Eddie Lacy, G.B.15111911782571435118
20171Leonard Fournette, Jac.9898104030213421010
20142Jeremy Hill, Cin.15821611242151339910
20192Miles Sanders, Phil.141398185091327615
20132Giovani Bernard, Cin.1718176955141209813
20182Nick Chubb, Clev.13751599614911451017
20193David Montgomery, Chi.1373138891851074724
20181Sony Michel, N.E.13231793150981634
20193Devin Singletary, Buff.138422775194969433
20182Kerryon Johnson, Det.158520641213854433
20112Daniel Thomas, Mia.17561958172653151
20183Royce Freeman, Den.16391652172593546
20123Bernard Pierce, Balt.15332753247579159
20193Alexander Mattison, Minn.15881746282544161
20101C.J. Spiller, Buff.171516283157440155
20142Carlos Hyde, S.F.16681833368401461
20163C.J. Prosise, Sea.133712172208380168
20143Charles Sims, T.B.149614185190375173
20173James Conner, Pitt.13942014401440113
20182Ronald Jones, T.B.173720443377195
20122Isaiah Pead, St.L.1578155416700130
20112Shane Vereen, N.E.137616570571123
20113Alex Green, G.B.156219116170150
20102Montario Hardesty, Clev.1647140000--
20102Ben Tate, Hou.1467100000--
20182Derrius Guice, Wash.1375130000--
20202D'Andre Swift, Det.14348?????
20202Cam Akers, LAR136918?????
20203Darrynton Evans, Tenn.167824?????

At the risk of giving too much of a blanket statement, it doesn't look like a huge difference between the guys who knocked it out of the park in their final college seasons and the guys who, for one reason or another, but up ordinary or lesser numbers. If you select a rookie running back drafted in the first three rounds in April, looks like about a 1-in-3 chance of that player hitting for you. And although odds are a little better for first-rounders (9 of the 22 top-25 backs in these two posts were drafted in the first round), about 60 percent (13) were drafted in the second or third round.

--Andy Richardson