Evan Royster, Washington Redskins
Mike Shanahan is back at it again, and has the RB carousel in full effect. Evan Royster, the 2nd-year back out of Penn State, is consistently getting first-team carries in training camp. Skins’ Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan has been gloating over him, saying, he can be “a top back in this league”, and also saying that “with Evan, it’s about him realizing he can be as good as he wants.”
What happened to Roy Helu? This is why you can never trust Mike Shanhan or now his son for that matter; these guys are never satisfied.
Royster has a small sample size in the NFL, filling in for an injured Helu in weeks 16 and 17. He ran for over 1oo yards in both games and ran fairly well. Royster doesn’t have great speed, but has fairly good shiftiness and good size at 6’1, 213. However, this appears to be typical Shanahan psychology and procedure. They are trying to keep everybody hungry. Helu is still the best running back on the team and the most explosive as well. I wrote about Helu back in July, before this Royster character popped into the picture, you can read it here. It appears right now Royster needs to be taken seriously. But while Royster is getting hype, people might now be down on Helu and he could end up being a steal as you grab him in later rounds.
Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Bucs
Martin is another back who is getting a lot of pre-season hype. The 5’9, 223 pound back out of Boise State was drafted by the Bucs late in the first round of this year’s draft. Early reports are he’s due for a big workload and is the favorite for the majority of the carries over LeGarrette Blount. New head coach Greg Schiano will definitely be looking to play ground-and-pound-type ball and Martin has the size to handle a big workload. There have been some comparisons to Ray Rice, since both have similar body types, run low to the ground, and are shifty and explosive.
Since he’s a rookie and plays for the Bucs you need to temper your expectations for Martin. Martin is talented, but I wouldn’t expect anything crazy out of him in his rookie season. You are most likely looking at nearly 1,000 yards with 5-7 TD’s. In dynasty leagues he has more value, because there is a lot of upside here. I personally don’t see MJD or Ray Rice when I watch Martin, but generally the short thick-legged backs like Rice, MJD, Brian Westbrook, Barry Sanders, etc, succeed in the NFL. This is mostly because their low-center of gravity allows them to have great balance and gives them the ability to shake off tackles.
Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos
McGahee had a resurgent season last year in Denver, rushing for 1,199 yards and 4 TD’s on 249 carries. No doubt playing with Tim Tebow helped McGahee’s cause since the threat of Tebow on the ground opened up running lanes for him. Denver also was a run-first offense because of Tebow’s raw passing skills.
But while the rushing attempts and yards may drop a bit, McGahee’s TD’s should increase. Now playing with Peyton Manning, this offense is going to be in scoring position often. McGahee will have plenty of opportunities to punch the ball in. 10+ rushing TD’s is not of the question for McGahee in 2012. Reports are also that McGahee has gotten into great shape this off-season adding 10 pounds of muscle and dropping his body fat to 9%.
McGahee will be an excellent flex and a fairly reliable RB2 playing with Peyton in this revamped Broncos offense.