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Bijan Robinson gained No. 8-overall pedigree by heading to Atlanta as the assumed lead back. However, the rest of the rookie running backs begin the four-month ramp-up to Week 1 as at least upside RB2 types and need some help to be the lead back. Here is a look at the current landscape around the NFL:
Rookie in a Committee (or Better) Role
Jahmyr Gibbs, Lions
The Gibbs selection spurred Detroit to trade away D'Andre Swift and make the big (for a running back) free agent contact to David Montgomery seem questionable. The Lions were the second-best HLO (High-Leverage Opportunities) score in 2022, pointing to strong upside for either back with clarity of usage. With No. 12-overall pedigree, Gibbs will be a prominent part of the backfield and offense quickly in Year 1.
Rookies in Clarified Primary Backup Roles
Tank Bigsby, Jaguars
Zach Charbonnet, Seahawks
Charbonnet was a surprising amount of draft capital after Kenneth Walker was an impressive rookie and second-round selection a year ago.
Rookies Who Should Win Primary Backup Roles
Chase Brown, Bengals
Chris Evans has struggled to advance in opportunities, and Brown, despite falling in the draft, should win the RB2 job with his balanced profile.
Tyjae Spears, Titans
Spears has more pedigree than Hassan Haskins a year ago for Tennessee and far more juice.
Zach Evans, Rams
Evans was another running back who plummeted in the draft but was saved by landing on one of the thinnest depth charts behind the starter on Day 3. In addition to Evans, the Rams added prototypically-sized rookie Tiyon Evans as a dark horse.
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