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Faraz's Rookie RB Rankings



Bijan Robinson - Atlanta Falcons (RB4)


In today's NFL, we don't see too many RBs taken in the first round, let alone in the top 10. The talent was too much for Arthur Smith to give up.


Once Arthur Smith became the OC in Tennessee, Derrick Henry finally became the workhorse we now know him as. Henry averaged 340 carries per season in Smith's two seasons as OC in Tennessee. Atlanta also had the 2nd most rushing attempts in the NFL last season (32.9/game), only behind the Eagles (33.2/game) - and that was without a QB rushing as much as Jalen Hurts was. I'd expect Bijan to slide in to get 80% of those rushing attempts, with Tyler Allgeier getting the rest.


Here's the kicker: Bijan is an exceptional pass catcher out of the backfield, as well. Picture 50+ receptions on top of his rushing workload.


There is a world where the Falcons don't force him into a huge workload from Day 1. They have a good enough RB2 in Allgeier to allow Bijan to ease into it. But make no mistake: Bijan is still worth a 1st round pick in 2023 as a Top-5 RB. Good offensive line, run-heavy offense, elite talent.

 

Jahmyr Gibbs - Detroit Lions (RB10)


What does Jahmyr Gibbs need in order to be an RB1 for fantasy in Year 1? All he needs is ~20% target share and some of the rushing attempts. Guys like Alvin Kamara and CMC have done it with less than 30% of their team's rushing share... and I'd imagine Gibbs might be higher than that in Year 1, even with David Montgomery there.


80 catches in Year 1 is a possibility, and given his draft capital and all the expected usage around him, it's hard to rank Gibbs outside the Top-12.


If you need a reminder on why Gibbs is a special talent, he had two of the most efficient years in the last 10 years among collegiate RBs in the receiving game. He's explosive, and he's deadly after the catch.


The Lions were ready to take him at 6 overall ahead of Bijan Robinson if the Cardinals didn't come knocking to get out of that pick - and you think they're not going to use him enough? Go get Gibbs at his price, even if he's not the goal-line back.

 

Devon Achane - Miami Dolphins (RB27)


As of right now, the best RB on the Dolphins is Devon Achane. He's not going to be a goal line back, but there is a lot of upside here in Mike McDaniels' outside zone scheme... think Raheem Mostert on the 49ers when he would pop those long runs again and again - Achane can do that and more, including working him in the receiving game.


He's not the biggest back, but he did bulk up a bit by the time he got to training camp - he got up to 192, which is a good sign. He's on a good offense with other playmakers that you have to account for, and because of that he has a higher chance to be more efficient than what he probably would've already been. 31-year-old Raheem Mostert isn't holding him back, and neither is Jeff Wilson – although I do think Wilson will be the goal-line back. Obviously, we're assuming Dalvin Cook doesn't sign here because if he does, the touches simply won't be there for Achane, but if Cook doesn't sign, Achane can easily see 15 touches/game on this offense, with some of that coming in the receiving game.


That's really all this guy needs to be an every-week RB2 - He's being drafted as the RB39, and that's just too low, especially as an RB who was drafted on Day 2. The landing spot was just perfect for him and his skill set. And all the hype around him in OTAs helps, too... it seems like he's going to be very involved in the offense.



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