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Marcus Mosher afresh went on a abysmal dive in our chargeless NFL abstract newsletter exploring this class’ best atomic backs. We’re administration a sample with you today, but the alone way to get these kinds of abstract assay pieces in your inbox ablaze and aboriginal every weekday morning is by signing up for free.Anyone who has watched football over the accomplished several years knows that the NFL is now a casual league. Continued gone are the canicule with your acceptable fullbacks, I-formations and bound splits (unless you are the Jacksonville Jaguars, of course). For abounding teams, the pass-run arrangement is about 70-30. Although teams may not run the brawl as frequently as they did 20 years ago, it is still a basic allotment of the NFL game.
Entering the 2018 season, best teams are attractive for a altered blazon of active aback than they did alike a few years ago. They are attractive for runners who can actualize big plays on the arena and in the casual game, rather than players who aloof agitate out constant yards. The Panthers are a abundant archetype of this as they called a “receiving back” with the eighth-overall aces in the 2017 abstract in Christian McCaffrey. Another archetype from that aforementioned abstract chic is the NFL’s arch rusher in Kareem Hunt, who averaged a 15-yard run or added on about 7 percent of his carries. With NFL teams appetite those big plays in the active game, they are starting to abstract players that can accommodate atomic plays at a moment’s notice.
Without added ado, actuality are a scattering of the top active backs in the 2018 NFL abstract and how frequently they created big plays. Listed beneath are the cardinal of runs of at atomic 15 and 20 yards (percentage of absolute carries in the parenthesis) and the cardinal of runs that absent yardage for aloof their 2017 season. That aftermost cardinal is important because it helps appearance which active backs can rip off big runs afterwards consistently accident yardage.
21 carries over 15 yards (13.5%)
14 carries over 20 yards (8.97%)
7 carries that absent yardage (4.49%)
If a aggregation is attractive for the abutting game-breaking active aback in the cast of Alvin Kamara, attending no added than Sony Michel from Georgia. No amateur in the chic had a college allotment of runs of at atomic 15 yards (13.5 percent) than Michel. Aside from his antic efficiency, Michel additionally was able to absolute his cardinal of abrogating runs to aloof seven. In the Bulldogs’ aftermost seven amateur of the 2017 season, Michel had aloof one backpack that absent yardage. In comparison, his active acquaintance Nick Chubb had 13.
Michel doesn’t accept aristocratic acceleration or a ton of acquaintance in the casual game, but his balance, eyes and activity acquiesce him to breach off big assets with ease. Afterwards the success of Kamara aftermost season, don’t be afraid if Michel sneaks his way into the basal of the aboriginal round. He is the best “satellite back” in the chic and is absolutely the blazon of amateur that NFL teams are activity to love.
Rashaad Penny, San Diego State
35 carries of over 15 yards (12.11%)
29 carries over 20 yards (10.03%)
21 carries that absent yardage (7.27%)
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Michel had the accomplished allotment of 15-plus backyard runs, but no one had added than Rashaad Penny of San Diego State. His 35 runs of 15 or added yards led the nation, and he additionally had 29 carries of at atomic 20 yards (no added amateur in the country had added than 20). At 5-foot-11, 220 pounds, Penny has the ideal admeasurement to handle a big workload in the NFL but additionally has the acceleration to abuse defenses bottomward the field.
His better affair will be his adeptness to canyon assure at the abutting akin and absolute his abrogating runs. In one bold adjoin Boise State, Penny absent yardage on bristles altered runs. Will his active appearance charge to change at the abutting level? Possibly. But he has the size, acceleration and access to be a botheration for defenses if he acreage with the appropriate NFL team.
24 carries over 15 yards (10.8%)
19 carries over 20 yards (8.52%)
22 carries that absent yardage (9.87%)
While at Georgia, Nick Chubb was anticipation of as the “thunder” to Sony Michel’s “lightning”. However, that adeptness not accept been absolutely accurate. Chubb was one of the best atomic active backs in the country, averaging a run of over 15 yards on added than 10 percent of his carries. He showcased his athleticism at the NFL aloof amalgamate as he ran a 4.52 40-yard birr at 227 pounds.
Chubb may not attending like an explosive, big-play threat, but get him in the accessible acreage and he can be as alarming as any active aback in this class. One affair that is concerning, however, is the cardinal of abrogating runs for Chubb. Adjoin a fast aegis like Alabama, Chubb had bristles runs that absent yardage. His boilerplate activity may absolute his big-play adeptness some, but his explosiveness, adeptness and admeasurement should acquiesce him to get by.
24 carries over 15 yards (9.20%)
16 carries over 20 yards (6.13%)
18 carries that absent yardage (6.89%)
One amateur who will actualize a lot of altercation over the abutting several weeks is Ronald Jones of USC. At aloof 5-foot-11, 205 pounds, Jones doesn’t accept the prototypal admeasurement to be an aristocratic every-down aback in the NFL. Instead, he will acceptable accept to be a allotment of a board in which he is accepted to accommodate the acceleration and big plays rather consistently. However, that may be easier said than done.
Jones bankrupt off a admirable bulk of runs of over 15 yards (especially in the additional bisected of the division aback he had 19 runs of at atomic 15 yards in the team’s final eight games), but that doesn’t absolutely acquaint the accomplished story. Jones saw, on average, aloof 6.42 defenders in the box. The acumen for the almost low cardinal is that quarterback Sam Darnold was so acceptable that teams were affected to aback off the run. Although Jones took advantage of ablaze boxes, that may not be the case in the NFL. With Jones’ bound accepting adeptness and underwhelming size, there will acceptable be agnate types of active backs accessible in afterwards rounds.
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22 carries over 15 yards (9.02%)
16 carries over 20 yards (6.56%)
11 carries that absent yardage (4.51%)
The best advantageous aback in the chic comes in at No.5 in agreement of big-play ability. Royce Freeman racked up over 6,000 yards from flat in his four-year career at Oregon. Despite a massive workload, Freeman was able to aftermath big runs at an absorbing clip, all while attached the cardinal of abrogating runs. Freeman doesn’t accept abundant acceleration — he ran a 4.54 40-yard birr at the amalgamate — but he has the adeptness to run through arm-tackles and the backbone to let blocks advance afore dispatch on the gas pedal. Freeman isn’t your archetypal “space-back”, but he has apparent that he can accomplish defenses pay if they aren’t disciplined. Freeman should be an accomplished amount aces anywhere afterwards the top-100 selections.
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
19 carries of over 15 yards (8.76%)
14 carries of over 20 yards (6.45%)
38 carries that absent yardage (17.5%)
Surprisingly, the top active aback in this chic has some apropos in commendations to his big-play ability. We accept all apparent the amazing highlights of Barkley’s big runs, but those didn’t appear as frequently as we appetite to believe. What is the best apropos is the awfully aerial cardinal of abrogating runs. Barkley was consistently attractive to hit a big comedy — and that generally resulted in big losses.
Anytime numbers like these are presented adjoin Barkley, the acknowledgment that comes aback is that Penn State’s abhorrent band played ailing this season. That may be true, but abounding of these added active backs played abaft anemic abhorrent curve as well. Barkley additionally had the account of arena adjoin ablaze fronts as he had aloof an boilerplate of 6.29 defenders in the box, the atomic in the class.
Truth be told, Barkley is a boom-or-bust agent who relies on his athleticism to exhausted defenses. He will consistently be a blackmail in the accepting bold to actualize big plays, but his resume as a big-play agent leaves a lot to be desired.
13 carries over 15 yards (6.88%)
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7 carries over 20 yards (3.7%)
24 carries that absent yardage (12.7%)
John Kelly is a active aback who has gotten some adulation over the aftermost several weeks from aptitude evaluators — and for acceptable reason. Kelly is a backbreaking agent who has the abeyant to be a three-down amateur in the NFL. However, he is aloof an boilerplate amateur who doesn’t accept the continued acceleration or activity to accomplish plays at the additional akin actual often. His skill-set will acceptable get him on the acreage early, but he aloof doesn’t accept the explosiveness to accumulate arresting coordinators up at night. He can be an able role amateur in the NFL, but aloof don’t apprehend him to be acclimated in the aforementioned way as his above teammate, Alvin Kamara.
17 carries of over 15 yards (5.96%)
9 carries over 20 yards (3.16%)
22 carries that absent yardage (7.72%)
How Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson will construe to the NFL will be alluring to watch. In 2017, he agitated the brawl 285 times for about 1,400 yards. Despite about averaging bristles yards per carry, Johnson didn’t breach off as abounding big runs as you would apprehend for a amateur who averaged added than 115 hasty yards per game.
He had aloof nine carries of at atomic 20 yards — which was the affliction allotment amid draft-eligible active backs. However, he is somewhat of an bewilderment because his anatomy blazon suggests that he should be a slasher who can exhausted defenses with speed, but his comedy on the acreage shows that he is added of a “hammer” who thrives on contact. How the NFL decides to use Johnson will acceptable depend on area he lands, but apprehend him to be allotment of a board that will brace him with a smaller, added atomic runner.
13 carries of over 15 yards (5.49%)
9 carries of over 20 yards (3.80%)
12 carries that absent yardage (5.06%)
Not surprisingly, Derrius Guice struggled to actualize big plays in LSU’s ancient offense. Guice averaged 7.25 defenders in the box in 2017, added than any added active aback in the class. With his team’s poor QB comedy and subpar abhorrent line, Guice rarely saw abundant aurora to accomplish defenses pay. Although it’s fair to be anxious about Guice’s bound big-play production, his adeptness to abstain abrogating plays was acutely impressive. Guice absent yardage on aloof 12 runs this year, best of which were aloof one-yard losses.
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