Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The 2018 XFL Mock Draft - Running Backs

In anticipation of Vince McMahon bringing the fun back to football (more concussions, woohoo!), Lukewarm Jonah and I went back and forth to do an XFL Draft. Admittedly, both Jonah and I did minimal research before the draft and did all of our analysis during the draft. This meant that there was little rhyme or reason to any picks past the first two rounds. So instead of breaking this down round by round, we are going to go by position groups. We also only did a two-team league, because I cannot imagine finding enough nerds to have a 12 or 16 team league. We did do a whole 53-man roster, so you could imagine these guys being spread around across the league. Today, we continue our list with the running backs.

Running Backs
Jonah: Denard Robinson, DeAngelo Williams, Barry Sanders Jr.

Joe: Reggie Bush, Trent Richardson, CJ Spiller
Fullback: LenDale White, Mark Weisman

Joe: A common theme with my team is college studs. I want pedigree over relevant talent today. Also, I figured if you were good in college that you would probably be good in this league since the talent level probably won’t be much better than a Power-5 conference. I have three top-10 draft picks at running back, so I feel pretty dang good about that.

Reggie Bush and CJ Spiller were both not only recently on NFL rosters, but they have great name recognition that will surely get people to tune in. We top it off with Trent Richardson who still believes he is going to get that gold jacket. Could he one day make the XFL Hall of Fame? Hell yeah, he could, and that’s why I’m happy he’s on my side.

Where Jonah ignored the fullback position, I embraced it. Sure, spread offenses like to score points, but our viewing audience is going to want smash mouth football, and that’s exactly what they are going to get. I started with LenDale White, a man who once bragged about losing 30 pounds by cutting patron out of his diet. This is the kind of attitude we need to be a success in the XFL.

For the other fullback position, I went with a less known name in Mark Weisman. Weisman was a walk-on at Iowa who somehow overcame the odds to become the starting running back. He was slow and white and universally loved as even I own a “Weisman For Heisman” shirt. I wanted an Iowa running back on the team and it came down to him and Brandon Wegher. Wegher definitely has the talent advantage, but Weisman has the nickname of the Hebrew Hammer, so we are going to make bank on those jersey sales.

Jonah: Even though I only have three, I love my running backs and I have more in mind in case changes need to be made or injuries happen.  Dri Archer is still out there and a favorite of mine, I just thought he was too similar to other running backs on my team to be a real difference.  Denard Robinson has name recognition from his electrifying college days as well as actually having multiple good games running the ball in the NFL.  He’s also going to be great for a bunch of trick plays as he was a quarterback in college, and his first official NFL position was “Weapon.”  He’s relatively young and has fresh legs, I’d imagine he can still do great things, especially against XFL competition.

Deangelo Williams had a pretty productive season filling in for Leveon Bell last year, so I’m not sure why he didn’t play this year, but that’s my team’s gain.  He’s up there in years, but had plenty in the tank when he had to start due to Bell’s suspension.  He’s my team’s between the tackles runner who can also catch the ball out of the backfield. 

Barry Sanders Jr. is Barry Sanders’ son, do I need to say more?  He showed flashes of brilliance at Stanford and at Oklahoma State both on the offense and special teams.  He’s probably my returner, but I’d love to see what he could do.  He would have been a rookie this season so he’s very young and boy does he have name recognition.

Joe: I definitely like your first two picks. Denard is a fine running back who isn’t over the hill yet, although if you ever saw Denard actually throw a ball in college, you might reconsider the trick play plan. DeAngelo might be over the hill, but his hill was much higher than most. As someone who added a few late career backs on his own roster, I can’t fault you for giving Williams a shot. As for Barry Sanders Jr. showing flashes of brilliance, I’m not sure if clapping for Christian McCaffery qualifies as brilliance, but to each their own I suppose.

Jonah: Sanders made some big plays, I mean he didn’t get much of a chance playing behind McCaffery but I’d take a flier on him especially with his genetics, I mean I’d still take a flier on Barry Sanders Sr. if I thought he would play.  Your running back picks were very good.  Bush would do well against a lower level of competition just like he did in college and maybe Richardson could find it again, but I think he’s done.  However, he brings great name value, college fans will still want to see him play.  CJ Spiller is a fun all around back, and I think he’s better than Richardson and probably Bush at this point.  Fullbacks are boring, they’re important but boring and no one needs two fullbacks when most NFL rosters have zero.  I do applaud reuniting Bush and White so we can remember the glory days of USC.

Joe: You would have been better off taking Barry Sanders Sr. And your talk of fullbacks just shows your West Coast Bias. Many people (me, Kirk Ferentz) think fullback is possibly the most important position on a football team. The only downside is that XFL fantasy players are going to be pissed when my fullbacks are definitely going to vulture touchdowns near the goal line. But the true fans are going to love my goal line package. I call them WW3 (White, Weisman, RG3), and the merchandise is going to be LIT.

But that’s all for today. Next time, we will continue with the glory boys out at wide receiver.

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