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Blake Corum

Rams talking up third-rounder

Blake Corum is getting some hype at Rams minicamp. The third-round pick was a workhorse at Michigan last year, but his combine numbers weren't great and then he was drafted by a team seemingly set at starter. But we'll see.

Kyren Williams, after all, tested even worse a couple of years ago, running a 4.65 (Corum ran 4.53), with smaller measurements (5-9, 194) than Corum (5-8, 205). And he was sidelined at OTAs while dealing with a foot issue, according to Sean McVay.

Good news on that front: Williams was spotted working out at practice last week. But given the praise McVay has had for Corum, saying that the rookie has "stood out" in offseason workouts, it's fair to wonder if we'll see a little more of a committee than those with Williams would like.

Corum put up huge numbers in helping Michigan win a national championship. Most notably, he scored 28 touchdowns last year. I wondered what that scoring track record might augur for his NFL future, based on recent, similarly productive backs.

In the last 10 years, there have been 21 other running backs to score 20-plus touchdowns their final year of college, then go on to be drafted in the first three rounds. Their NFL careers have largely been pretty good to this point.

Nearly half (10) of those 21 players have delivered at least one top-10 fantasy season in PPR leagues. Four more have finished in the top 20. Of the other seven, two (Dobbins, Penny) have looked like they belonged as NFL running backs, with injuries limiting them. Even Kerryon Johnson had his moments, briefly.

Table shows all those 20-TD college backs from the last decade, with the first column showing those final year stats, and the others showing run-rec-TD and ranking in PPR leagues from their best NFL seasons.

2021Jonathan Taylor, Ind.1140-305-22181140360201
2023Breece Hall, NYJ1245-117-289947659192
2020Dalvin Cook, Min.1472-302-23155744361172
2016Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.1348-36-22163132363162
2018Saquon Barkley, NYG1271-632-21130791721152
2020Derrick Henry, Ten.1480-198-24202719114173
2021Najee Harris, Pitt.2587-153-32120074467103
2021James Conner, Ari.2003-247-2375237375185
2017Melvin Gordon, LAC1391-194-20110558476125
2023Bijan Robinson, Atl.1580-314-209765848788
2022Najee Harris, Pitt.1466-425-301034412291014
2021Javonte Williams, Den.1092-302-2090343316717
2020Ronald Jones, T.B.1550-187-2097828165819
2021Devin Singletary, Buff.2219-91-2887040228820
2020J.K. Dobbins, Balt.1821-206-2380518120924
2021Darrell Henderson, LAR1765-488-2068829176827
2018Kerryon Johnson, Det.2003-252-2664132213433
2023Tyjae Spears, Ten.1581-256-2145352385334
2017Ameer Abdullah, Det.1611-269-2255225162540
2021Rashaad Penny, Sea.2248-135-25749648642
2023Darrynton Evans, 2TM1909-295-25121749185
???Blake Corum, LAR1245-117-28???????????????

Some of the guys in the table were first-round picks, selected a lot earlier than Corum. (Comparing him to Barkley or Elliott isn't necessarily valid.) But a promising history.

I'm still in on Kyren Williams. McVay has tended to favor one back, and I think he'll remain the lead runner in the offense. But Corum also makes sense as one of the first backup running backs to select. Even last year Williams missed a month. Corum will probably make an impact this year, and down the road as well. Other teams might be wondering why they let the Rams get him.

--Andy Richardson

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