We spent months scouting this year’s rookie class. And then — bang! — the draft happens and the whole thing is turned upside down.
It’s important to keep the pre-draft variables (production, measurables, tape) in mind. But we also need to factor in when and where all of these guys went in the draft.
The gap between Saquon Barkley and the rest of the field appears to have widened post-draft. If you have the 1.02, consider trading down a few spots. There’s not much separating #2 and #6 in our rankings.
On the other hand, some of the mid-tier guys in our pre-draft rookie rankings — like Michael Gallup, Tre’Quan Smith and Kerryon Johnson — landed in nice spots and made up some ground relative to the top tier. The late 1st and early 2nd round of rookie drafts looks stronger than usual this year.
Here are the top 60 rookies separated into tiers. Below that you’ll find expanded positional rankings.
Top 60 Overall
1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants
Truly a special talent. While dazzling as a rusher, Barkley added 95 catches — at 12.5 yards per — across 3 seasons at Penn State. The 21-year-old profiles as a clear workhorse RB1 over the long term. For at least 2018, Barkley will get a chance to soak up knowledge from 10-year vet Jonathan Stewart.
2. Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks
Penny dominated the Mountain West Conference in 2017. The senior tallied 7.4 yards per carry on 275 attempts, adding 18 grabs and 21 total scores. As the 27th overall pick, you know Seattle envisions him as a 3-down back. His blend of power, elusiveness and receiving ability were clear on tape and project well to the pros. The Seahawks desperately need a spark after failing to crack 4.0 yards per carry in consecutive seasons.
3. Derrius Guice, RB, Redskins
Marshawn Lynch 2.0? Guice played like it at times at LSU, and we certainly like that he broke out as a 19-year-old sophomore (183-1,387-15). Character concerns likely caused his drop to Round 2, but Washington V.P. of player personnel Doug Williams remains unfazed. “[He] doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, hasn’t been arrested, no failed drug tests,” Williams said. “He’s a happy-go-lucky kid.” Guice should quickly take over as Washington’s lead ball-carrier, although he’ll lose passing-down work to Chris Thompson.