2020 NFL Draft Running Back Sleepers
Here are some of the sleeper RBs in the 2020 NFL Draft that are just outside of my Top 12 Dynasty rookie running backs. Also, stay tuned for my updated Top 12 list.
LeVante Bellamy – Western Michigan
The 2019 Mid-American Conference’s (MAC) Most Valuable Player ran for 1,472 yards and an FBS leading 23 rushing touchdowns. Yes, it was against lesser non-power five competition, but his skill-set translates to the next level. Bellamy’s jump cut and balance through contact stands out. I envision him in an outside zone scheme where he can utilize his vision, patience, and burst to put his foot in the ground and explode in the open field. Once Bellamy gets into the open field, he is very dangerous as he kills angles and finds the edges to the end zone.
DeeJay Dallas – Miami (FL)
Being one of the best pass protecting running backs in the 2020 NFL Draft Class is not that sexy from a fantasy perspective. However, it should afford Dallas reps early on, as coaches tend to favor a back that can protect their franchise quarterback in passing situations. Not only is Dallas a great pass protector, but he is a very smooth runner that sees the field well. Dallas has an uncanny ability to break tackles in the open field as he powers through potential tackles. His overall skill-set will be a valuable commodity to an NFL roster.
A.J. Dillon – Boston College
One of the biggest winners from the NFL Combine was A.J. Dillon. The big, bruising back from Boston College not only showed off his physique, but wowed fans with a 4.5 40-yard dash at 247 pounds. A guy that big shouldn’t be that fast. After he exploded in his true freshman season for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns he was well on his way to be a high draft pick, but questions about his pass catching ability and a “down” 2018 made some folks forget about Dillon. He can be a huge sleeper candidate in the right system where he can utilize his one cut ability to get downhill and show off his 4.5 wheels. If Dillon can cut some weight and become a more agile back to make people miss consistently, he can become a stud at the next level.
Darrynton Evans – Appalachian State
Another player with a good combine performance, Darrynton Evans ran a 4.41 40-yard dash and looked good in the on-field drills. Making the first guy miss is not a problem for Evans as he sets up defenders with his feet and body movements. Not only can he make defenders miss, but Evans also showcases his patience and vision before attacking the hole. One skill that I saw on tape that can lead to a lengthy career is that he has an innate ability to avoid big blows. Evans manages to contort his body to gain additional yardage without getting the worst of a hit.
Antonio Gibson – Memphis
The do-it-all Memphis product gives you shades of last year’s surprise back in the league Tony Pollard. Like Pollard, Gibson is a Mike Norvell creation that utilizes his running backx as wide receivers and vice versa. Gibson played part-time everything catching 38 balls, getting 33 carries, and excelling as a kick returner. The challenge now becomes what position he will play at the next level. For the innovative offensive play callers in the NFL, the answer is that it really doesn’t matter as they will find a way to get him the ball in space. Space is his game. Gibson is explosive, has a strong lower body to absorb contact and break tackles, and utilizes his vision to find the end zone early and often.
Joshua Kelley – UCLA
One of CPGM’s favorite running backs from the Senior Bowl, Joshua Kelly is a hard nose back that can drop his shoulders and deliver the boom to defenders. Not only is he a no non-sense north-south type runner, but he can also use his feet, vision, and patience to decipher rushing lanes. The former transfer from Cal-Davis proved he belonged on the big stage posting back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons for the Bruins the last two years. He actually gave me some Leonard Fournette vibes as he may not be the best at making guys miss by eluding penetration, but once he gets going downhill he is a load to handle at the second level.
Benny LeMay – Charlotte
After a terrible NFL Combine performance running a putrid 4.75 40-yard dash, CPGM Juice asked me if I still liked LeMay as a sleeper candidate. As you can see, my answer was yes and that’s because I fell in love with his tape despite him more than likely being an undrafted free agent after that 40 time. LeMay is a crafty slippery inside runner that can avoid tackles and finish with power. Although he doesn’t have the top end speed teams may covet, his elusiveness, awareness, and bowling ball nature can be an asset to an NFL team. An added benefit is LeMay’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He is a poor man’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It will be a tough uphill battle going forward, but I am still a fan of his skill-set.
Lamical Perine – Florida
Another Perine?!?! Lamical comes from a long line of football players starting with his father and most recently Samaje from Oklahoma. A four-year contributor at the University of Florida, Perine may never be a star at the next level but he does something very well that should help him stick around for a long time. He catches the football out of the backfield effortlessly. He is also a tough inside runner that gets what his line gives him and can elude tackles on contact balance. Making guys miss consistently can improve if he loses more weight and work on his agility. That can take him from an average back to a good one. Nevertheless, his pass-catching prowess is the driving factor on why he is a sleeper candidate.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn – Vanderbilt
When I initially put on Vaughn’s tape, I wasn’t a huge fan because I didn’t see anything special. The more games I saw him play against defenders I was scouting, the more his physical, competitive nature started to wear on me. Vaughn is an upright runner but he carries piles forward with his powerful upper and lower body strength and can absorb contact and bounce off defenders. He is a see hole hit hole one cut runner that relishes contact. This can be a great thing for a team that wants to set an identity, however it can work against Vaughn as well opening him up to injuries. 2020 NFL Draft