Projecting Third Round Running Backs
According to Apex’s Average Draft Position, there are currently three running backs being selected in the third round: Lamar Miller, Frank Gore, and Mark Ingram. Today I’m going to look at what the RotoViz Similarity Scores say about the floors and ceilings of these three players.
Lamar Miller, RB12, 30.1
In the first two games of 2014, Miller shared carries with Knowshon Moreno – this led to Miller seeing just 11 carries in each of his first two games. After that, Miller saw at least 12 carries in every game except Week 9 (where he carried the ball 11 times) and Week 10 when he carries the ball just four times because due to a sprained AC joint.
When you remove Miller’s Week 10 performance (because of his injury), here are the results from his Similarity Scores:
His comparables plot looks promising.
Miller had an impressive season in terms of efficiency last year. Out of running backs with at least 200 carries, only Justin Forsett and Jeremy Hill rushed for more yards per carry.
In a contract season with his high efficiency last year, there’s reason to believe Miller could be a workhorse this season. Coach Joe Philbin admitted he is open to giving Miller more carries this season.
After a RB9 finish last season, Miller is being drafted RB12. He currently has the look of a value pick.
Frank Gore, RB13, 31.3
After signing with the Colts, many expect Frank Gore to be rejuvenated by the Colts’ offense. Currently being drafted at RB13, Gore finished as RB21 last season. The issue with Gore is his age, we’ve previously written about how running backs fall off a cliff at 30 years old. Gore is entering his age 31 season.
The age concern shows up in Gore’s Similarity Scores.
As the comparable chart shows, not many running backs have been successful after turning 30.
While joining the Colts’ offense could lead to easy goal-line touchdowns and additional receptions, there are concerns about Gore’s age. He doesn’t have a ton of competition for touches but you’ll have to invest a third round pick to acquire him.
Mark Ingram, RB14, 36.1
Ingram had the best season of his career last year but it required an injury to Pierre Thomas. When Thomas was out, the Saints went run-heavy leading to at least 23 carries for Ingram in five games (this took place in a six game stretch). Here’s a look at his splits in games with at least 23 carries.
When Ingram saw heavy workloads, he was really valuable. In the other games, he averaged just 12.4 carries per game. Ingram will see goal-line carries but likely won’t average 25.4 rushing attempts per game without a Spiller injury. Or should I say, another Spiller injury.
Although influenced by his heavy volume stretch last season, the Similarity Scores like him.
His comparable players are also promising.
I believe it would require a C.J. Spiller injury for Ingram to reach his ceiling but there are reasons to like him coming off a career best season.