The backfield. Roster Reference
Okay, we have a bit of a mess on our hands here, but it will settle out, easily.
Last year I had three first round picks (in the teens and twenties, natch), couldn't deal out, and ended up burning them on guys who looked good but not great. We drafted RB Gabe Banks
among those spots, and got a useful-enough guy who looks like he has some solid skills, and posted 5.6ypc as the nominal RB1 last season with a wronged gameplan and roster. So, he's got a roster spot locked up.
Banks is in the 10-11 group, part of the trio that we rebuilt our chemistry around to fit with WR Duran. He's 77 Leadership, 88 Personality, so he could end up as our long term answer as the group leader. The group leader spot is actually up for grabs here, as we released the 3-4 guy who was in that slot last season - he was angry about playing time, and we would have been unable to re-sign him anyhow. We have no fullback on this team (and no real plans to add one), so this is basically a game about filling in two remaining spots.
On paper, I like the looks of Drake Bryant
. He jumped on camp last year to 52/52 by my scout, and has no voids other than returning. So, he seems like the sort who would be a lovely RB2. In Atlanta, he posted nearly 5ypc in that role, then they let him walk. In BAL, in two seasons as a rotation guy, I have only gotten 3.0 and 2.6 ypc out of him - he's dead weight with us. Not a huge sample size, but... He's also in the same chem sign as Banks, which could be good or bad. Right now, he shows up as our chem leader, making Banks a non-affinity. Not wild about that. He's on the bubble as a possible cut.
Veteran Tony Priar
is a 9th year guy, who also got his start with ATL and roared to a couple huge seasons as the feature back in Ben's monster offense. In limited duty here, he was great two seasons ago, then sat last year out. Overall ratings of only 40/40, but he has a nice combo of Hole Rec and third down stuff that makes me think he could still give us another season as our third down back. 120 carries for 600 yards and a smattering of catches? I'd be fine with that. He's ideally suited as a chem follower (1/78) in the 5-6 grouping.
So, the rest of these guys on the roster, signed or not, are basically auditioning for a role as RB3/affinity gimp:
Charlie Nixon, 4th yr - 37/40, 3-4 group, 66L 86P - Decent mix of skills in the 40s
Donnell James, 3rd yr - 29/38, 5-6 group, 86L 99P - 70ST, decent 3rd down skills
Joshua Roberts, 2nd yr - 27/35, 3-4 group, 82L 99P - 72 Breakaway, 50/60 HoleRec
Ernest Van Meter, 2nd yr - 23/30, 3-4 group, 82L 96P - 89 Breakaway, 66/74 Elus
Relevant note: 3rd yr QB Mathews is in the 5-6 group with 87 personality
- - - - -
I know, nothing here is electrifying. But these are important guys for my way of team building.
So, the fairly obvious thing to do here is probably:
-cut either Bryant or Priar after Pre-season 2, depending on how badly Priar fades, but neither guy figures in our plans longer term
-keep one of the 3-4 young RBs (Roberts?), get him starts this year to push him in as leader by the end of this season
-see if James can lose weight from 220 to be a credible WR, thinking that a move to become an affinity leader there could be savvy longer term
-figure the plan forward is Banks, [futureguy], and Roberts(?) in that order
Chemistry figures into this, but RB is a strange position anyhow. Partially because I just don't understand what exactly makes guys good (seems like HoleRec is most people's #1, I'm still a sucker for the breakaway speed, and I have mixed experience with elusiveness)...and on top of that I seem to always have this situation I do now, where moderately-interesting marginal guys for a role like RB3/3rdDownRB, seem to be easy to come by.
If we were cap crunched, another possible play here would be to keep two young guys this season, and have the depth chart look like: Banks / James / Roberts. The season would start out with Banks as the leader, but I think Roberts would take it after qualifying, and we'd have a strong triple affinity either way. Can't rule that out, especially with Banks having 76 endurance, and presumably being up for 18 carries a game (with the others getting maybe 6 total).