Editor’s Note: As our coverage of the 2016 NFL Draft and its impact on fantasy football continues, we bring you our 2016 Rookie SWOT series. These articles will feature video highlights, combine reviews, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, short-term expectations, long-term expectations and rookie draft advice for over 30 of the best dynasty league prospects from this year’s draft. We’ll follow that up with team-by-team draft reviews because, you know, that’s kind of what we live for.
Make sure you’re ready for your dynasty league rookie draft by staying up on all these articles, checking out our rookie draft guide, rookie rankings, rookie draft cheat sheet and mock draft rooms. There are simply no better resources out there for dynasty fantasy football enthusiasts.
Name: Keith Marshall
Born: February 16, 1994 (age 22)
Position: Running back
Pro Team: Washington Redskins
College Team: University of Georgia
Draft Status: Seventh Round, 242nd Overall
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 219
- Hand Size: 9 3/8”
- 40 Time: 4.31
- Bench Press: 25 reps
- Vertical Jump: 30.5”
- Short Shuttle: 4.25
- 3 Cone Drill: 6.98
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- Legitimately elite speed, especially for his size
- Quick feet and lateral agility
- Plenty of burst
- Strong build to handle a full workload
- Catches the ball naturally
- Hard working, high character player with leadership qualities
- Long injury history including torn ACL in 2013
- Lack of collegiate touches
- Plays much more tentatively post-ACL injury
- Average vision
- Body gets in front of his feet, causing balance issues
- Does not trust his own instincts
No matter what the Washington brass says, incumbent Matt Jones is just a guy. Sporting an uninspiring 3.4 YPC over his 144 rookie carries to go with one more fumble (four) than touchdown (three), there is ample evidence backing up my assertion. With that in mind, Marshall could have a shot at meaningful time right out of the gate should Jones falter.
Even if Jones takes the reigns, there is not much competition to be his direct backup. As long as Marshall is healthy, he has the talent to be the front-runner for that position on the depth chart. Chris Thompson will steal third down looks, but he isn’t an early down back, making him less of a competitor and more of a complement to whoever is handling early down work.
Lack of draft pedigree and his injury history are likely to be Marshall’s biggest non-Jones impediment. With the likes of Mack Brown (Who?) and Rob Kelley (Say what?) as competition behind Jones, Marshall shouldn’t have much trouble finding himself number two on the depth chart alongside pass game specialist Thompson.
Washington is locked into Jones to start the season, but he is far from special and has a pretty serious fumbling issue. If Jones continues to treat the ball like a stick of butter coated in Astroglide, the rookie from Georgia could find his way to carries sooner rather than later. As we will discuss in just a second, what he does with that opportunity is anybody’s guess.
Marshall has the build and athleticism to be a RB1 in the NFL. Unfortunately he has been a much more tentative runner since he tore his ACL in 2013. More worrisome still, his football instinct development has been stilted, with him often running into closed holes or finding the backs of his linemen. You can’t be big or fast enough if you are unable to find holes or unwilling to run through them. All of this may very possibly be attributed to a startling lack of college touches, as he totaled a paltry 277, 128 of which came during his freshman season.
There might not have been a player drafted on day three with a wider range of potential outcomes. He could be out of the league in two years or find himself being taken as a top-50 dynasty player. Due to his lack of draft pedigree, injury history, lack of experience carrying the ball at the college level, and stunted development as a player, Marshall will have a steep uphill battle to fight, but then again, so did Arian Foster.
NFL Player Comparison
He reminds me a bit of David Johnson in that they are both insanely fast for their size, but lack the instincts to run inside effectively at their current state of development. Of course Johnson is bigger and a decent bit slower, but he is also a much more explosive all-around athlete in a much better offense with a much more secure role.
Another comp I’d make is Lamar Miller. They are similar in size, athleticism, and skill set, with each being best in a straight line and then in the open field where they can create mismatches with their speed. That is where the similarities end, as Miller is much more decisive and instinctual than Marshall even if he does have poor vision at the second level.
Rookie Draft Advice
Marshall has crept his way into the tail end of the second round of rookie drafts. At first blush, that seems at least round early, but when you look at the names going after him, I’m hard pressed to argue with his ADP. If I’m in need of help at the running back position and am given the choice between Marshall, Alex Collins, and Jonathan Williams, our subject is the easy choice. Even if he ends up proving the NFL right for drafting 241 players ahead of him, you aren’t out too much by taking him in that 2.08-2.12 area.
Jeff can be found on Twitter at @FFJeffM
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