J.K. Dobbins – 75 Overall
The rookie out of Ohio State may not have been the first back taken, but he finds himself at the top of the ratings for the rookie HB class. Interestingly, outside of his overall rating, he doesn’t lead this group in any one category. Dobbins may not “wow” you with any single ability, his balance in all facets of the game make him a day one starter and a very capable one at that.
My outlook on Dobbins is all development dependant. Without and distinguishable attribute, Dobbins will need a high development to peak my interest in him. If Dobbins is star development, or below, I am probably holding on to him as the Ravens owner due to his low value and passing on him as an opposing team looking for my future HB.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire – 74 Overall
Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the first back off the board in the draft and checks in at number two on the list. A perplexing speed rating of 86 makes Edwards-Helaire a tough evaluation as it puts him tied for the lowest of the backs in the class. What makes this hard is the fact that once you get past the speed issues, Edwards-Helaire boasts the best change of direction, spin move, and second-best juke move of the class.
Edwards-Helaire will probably be left on the side of the road in most leagues because of his speed. A potential high development could salvage his career, but in most leagues, his career is over before it started. The one potential caveat here for me is further playing time with change of direction in mind. If change of direction is a big factor in running Edwards-Helaire may be worth a late-round flyer to try out.
Continuing the trend of relatively pedestrian speed and acceleration, D’Andre Swift finds himself sitting right in the 89/90 sweet spot. Swift does boast top-three agility and change of direction ratings, making him one of the shiftier backs in the class. Where Swift excels is in the passing game. The second-best pass catcher in the class, swift will get touches early as a 3rd down back for the Lions.
I look at swift similarly to the way I viewed Dobbins in terms of development driving decisions. The lions have a capable back already in Kerryon Johnson, and as a Lions owner, I would probably proceed forward with him getting the lion’s share of touches. If I am another team in need of a back Swift is a decent option I’d consider but not for any large amount of compensation.
Cam Akers – 73 Overall
Cam Akers finds himself in a crowded backfield in LA, but I must confess he is my favorite back of this class. The top acceleration (94), agility (93), and juke move (86) of the class make Akers a really intriguing prospect for those who covet elusive backs. If there is a concern for Akers it would be his 81 carry rating, which could result in more than a few fumbles early on in his career.
I’ll be honest here, if I need a young back in my franchise I am calling the Rams. Even if they won’t move off Akes, which I would not, they have another nice young back in Darrell Henderson that I would gladly take as a consolation prize. As a Rams owner, I’ll listen to offers since I have other options in Henderson and Brown, but I am probably looking to turn Akers into a primer back in my franchise.
Jonathan Taylor – 73 Overall
Speaking purely from an athletic standpoint, Taylor is probably the top back with his combination of 93 speed and 92 acceleration. Where it can get a bit fuzzy though is his change of direction rating (81) and agility (84) make him somewhat limited. Solid, but not great, in terms of ball carrier moves Taylor isn’t going to make a lot of guys miss. The biggest concern with Taylor will be the class worse 80 carry rating he holds.
Taylor possesses the trait most coveted in Madden and that’s speed. I personally would look for a trading partner for Taylor as I prefer my ball carriers to have more agility, but not everyone thinks like me so finding that partner shouldn’t be difficult. With other capable backs on the roster in Indianapolis, moving Taylor should allow the Colts to stack assets in other areas of need such as defense.
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