The 2023 NFL Draft started off great for this running back class. Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs were drafted in the first 12 picks, but day two crushed the hopes of many fantasy managers with some odd landing spots. As always there are a few interesting late-round running backs to consider as well. Let’s break it down tier by tier.
Tier One - The 1.01
Bijan Robinson, ATL
One man stands alone atop this much-heralded running back class. Let’s not waste too much time on Robinson. His profile and first-round draft capital lock him into a top pick regardless of format. The Falcons ran the ball more than any other team in 2022, so he is in line for a huge workload. He’s a top-three dynasty running back.
Tier Two - The other first-rounder
Jahmyr Gibbs, DET
Gibbs went earlier than expected at 12th overall. His stock received a boost when the Lions traded D'Andre Swift to the Eagles on day two, which means Gibbs will see significant passing volume. He will get plenty of work in the backfield, and he should also get some snaps out wide and in the slot. His small frame is still problematic, but his speed (4.36-second 40-yard dash) and pass-catching acumen are a dangerous combination in the modern NFL. Plus, it’s hard to beat that draft capital. Gibbs will be a popular 1.02 in 1QB leagues.
Tier Three - Day Two running backs and a Day three gem
There are a few interesting prospects who went on day two in this draft, and their shaky landing spots could mean potential value later in rookie drafts.
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Great article Jake, always interesting to see the RB’s tiered especially after so many surprises in the draft. I suppose guys like Tucker and McBride would fall in a tier five had there been another tier listed?
A little surprised to see Hull make it into tier four above those two guys, though he was a 5th round draft selection compared to round 7 for McBride and Tucker being undrafted. I suppose I would rather take a chance on a guy like Tucker in particular who went undrafted more so because of medical concerns then actual on the field play/talent and who really only has White ahead of him as opposed to Hull who has to deal with Taylor in front of him. Same with McBride who I could much see having a better shot at a meaningful role should the Vikings move on from Cook.
I find tier three to be the most fascinating of the tiers. Having a guy like Charbonnet who most consider the most talented and best of the bunch yet put in such a bad landing spot and trying to decide between him and guys like Achane and Miller who are in much better situations yet were not ranked as highly as Charbonnet pre draft, wow good luck trying to pick out of that group the best of the bunch! Not to mention Johnson who might not have as good of the draft capital as the other guys yet he finds himself in a very interesting situation there in Chicago, could easy see him climbing to the top and being that RB1 in the Bears backfield. I can’t wait to see how that tier shakes out several years from now. If anyone has a pretty good idea please share!
It would seem if your in a 1 QB league and in need of a RB and do not have a pick at the top of rd 1 that your best off picking near the very end of rd 1 or early rd 2 and taking whoever is left of that group rather than having to decide between them in the middle of rd 1.