Rookie SWOT: Alvin Kamara

Paul Perdichizzi

Name: Alvin Kamara 

Position: Running Back

Pro Team: New Orleans Saints

College Team: Tennessee

Draft Status: 67th pick (third round)

Video Highlights

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Combine Review

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 214 lbs

Arm Length: 32 ¾

Hand Size: 9 ¼

40 Yard Dash: 4.56 seconds

Vertical Jump: 39 ½

Broad Jump: 131

Bench Press: 15 reps


  • NFL size and frame to play the position
  • Excellent burst and acceleration with good speed
  • Ability to change directions at full speed and make people miss in open field
  • Can finish runs with power and run through contact
  • Possesses great balance, footwork, agility and flexibility
  • Displays good competitive toughness as a runner seen as he finishes runs
  • Explosive with elite athletic ability as seen in his broad and vertical jumps
  • Elite receiving ability with natural hands and route running skill
  • Can be used in the return game as well


  • Decision making in the open field could improve
  • Needs to display better vision as a runner when hitting the hole
  • Has never had more than 18 rushing attempts in a game in college
  • Must continue to improve and refine his technique in pass protection
  • Does not possess elite long speed as seen in his 40-yard dash time
  • Needs to show improvement protecting the ball


At first glance, the Saints backfield does not seem to be an ideal landing spot for fantasy relevance with Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson at the top of the depth chart. With that said, the Saints and head coach Sean Payton understand how to have an offense built around multiple backs, all who have a clear role in the offense. With only Travis Cadet on the roster as a true pass-catching back, Kamara will have an immediate opportunity to seize that position in the offense. Over the years, we have seen that the pass-catching back in the Saints offense can provide very good to great production for fantasy. In addition to the receiving work, Kamara could see some carries right away, because his running style complements both Peterson and Ingram nicely, as Kamara is best in open space and on the perimeter.  If Peterson shows he has very little left in the tank or if he or Ingram suffer an injury, Kamara could be asked to immediately be part of a two-man committee backfield, further increasing his chances at being a fantasy factor in year one.


With both Ingram and Peterson on the roster, Kamara will be competing with two players that have had a tremendous amount of success during their careers in the NFL. Both Ingram and Peterson should dominate most of the rushing attempts, especially between the tackles, short yardage, and in the red zone. While Peterson has rarely played much of a role in the receiving game, Ingram has shown the capability to be an adequate receiving back, which could limit how fast Kamara takes over that role full time. For Kamara to become the receiving back this season, he will also have to show he can pass protect for Drew Brees, which is of highest importance when in the backfield in obvious passing downs for the Saints.

Short-Term Expectations

The fact the Saints made an aggressive trade up in the draft, giving up a future second-round pick to land Kamara, I do believe he will be an integral part of the team right away.

In year one, I expect Kamara to be heavily involved in the Saints pass offense, filling the pass-catching role that Darren Sproles, Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas all had great success with when a part of this offense. With Ingram and Peterson handling most of the early down and goal line work though, Kamara may see sporadic carries or touchdown opportunities in year one. With that said, I still expect Kamara to possibly catch over 50 passes in year one and see four to five carries a game in a change of pace role. I think he could push to have some low RB3 value this season, but expect the production to be inconsistent from game to game since he will be so reliant on how many receptions he gets each week.

Long-Term Expectations

While Kamara will struggle for consistent rushing attempts in year one, things could open up very quickly for him in year two. Both Ingram and Peterson are only signed for two years and have little to no guaranteed money committed to them past this season. It is possible that one or both are not on the roster next season. If either happens, Kamara’s role could go from change of pace, receiving running back, to the focal point of the entire running game. While Kamara will never become a true work workhorse that gets 20 plus carries a game, he can be used in Jamaal Charles like role, where he could get a total of 16 to 18 touches a game. If he ever receives that number of touches consistently, I think Kamara could push to be a low RB1 or high RB2 in PPR leagues. I believe Kamara has the possibility of being a running back that catches over 70 passes a year and can rush for between 800-1000 yards a season, with a total of 1,300-1,400 total yards.

Rookie Draft Advice

Kamara should come off the board in the first round of any dynasty rookie drafts. His range to be selected is between 1.06 and 1.11. I have him as the seventh-ranked player in my rookie rankings. The choice people will have to make towards the middle to late part of round one is between Kamara, wide receiver John Ross and the top tier tight prospects in OJ Howard, Evan Engram, and David Njoku. With an ideal landing spot, I would take the upside of Kamara over any of those prospects in PPR leagues.


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