Ranking the 1st round: RBs, WRs & TEs

We are through four weeks of the season which is essentially a quarter of the year for most teams. So I am going to be looking at the first round of the draft and rank each positional players by how well they have done based on expectations for them and overall performances.

Yesterday I reviewed the rookie Quarterbacks, in this article I will be looking at this year’s offensive skill positions from the first round. 

1st – Calvin Ridley (63.7 points)

Ridley is undeniably the number one on this list so far. His week three performance against New Orleans will go down as one of the best rookie wide receiver performances in a while, hauling in three touchdowns for 146 yards off just eight targets.

To have six touchdowns at this stage of the season is ridiculous when you consider he is sat in an offense with known entities in Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Austin Hooper and quality receiving backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Ridley has quickly become one of the hottest offensive rookies and is steadily putting himself in the conversation for offensive rookie of the year.

I had my doubts about him coming into the NFL. I am always wary of Alabama receivers purely because they play in Nick Saban’s system with a team that seems to score 1,000 offensive yards per game. But Calvin Ridley has proved me wrong and may be considered the Falcons WR1 fairly soon as Julio Jones is still touchdown-less.

2nd – Saquon Barkley (63.3 points)

Barkley has had a great start to the season for the Giants with over 100 scrimmage yards in every game. So I am sure you want to know the reason he is third? Simple, he was probably the most overly hyped running back coming into the draft ever. So yes, he has played well so far, but has he exceeded expectation based on all the hype around him?

The Giants have some interesting games coming up where Barkley will be utilised more and more against the Panthers, Eagles, and Falcons. So expect him to continue putting up good numbers, but probably not the 400 yards a game that people seemed to think he would get before the draft.

3rd – Sony Michel (26.2 points)

Michel was highly thought of coming into the NFL which was proven by being drafted in the 1st round by the New England Patriots, the team that famously rarely takes skill players this early.

He had a slow start in weeks two and three (he was inactive week one), averaging 3.5 yards per carry across the two games, but his breakout game in week four was incredible. He ran hard and hungry for 112 yards and a touchdown, averaging 4.5 yards per carry in the Patriots demolition of the Dolphins.

Michel gets the 3rd rank purely because of his expectation. Bill Belichick is so unpredictable with running backs as he has James White, Kenjon Barner, Sony Michel, and James Develin currently on the roster, with Rex Burkhead and Jeremy Hill, sat on IR. The fact that Michel has overcome this and has managed a 100-yard game in just his third game deserves respect.

4th – D.J. Moore (12.4 points)

So Moore is at a disadvantage in these rankings as he has only played three games due to the Panthers being on their bye week in week four. But apart from week two where Moore had 51 yards from two targets (including a touchdown), he has done nothing. He doesn’t get any targets and at the moment is playing second string to Devin Funchess, and running less routes than Jarius Wright.

Since the Panthers main guy, tight end Greg Olsen is injured for a while, you have to feel that Moore will get more opportunities in this team, so as the season goes on I would expect him to start scoring more fantasy points. But for now, he is underperforming. Not because of something he has done, but because the team is underutilising him.

I was a huge fan of Moore before the season, so come on D.J., get something going and climb these rankings!

5th – Rashaad Penny (12.7 points)

“A seventh-round running back will never beat out a first-round running back.” Wrong.

I have no idea what Rashaad Penny is doing wrong, but Pete Carroll seemingly trusts Chris Carson more than he trusts Penny. Apparently Mike Davis too. Maybe he was just good in San Diego State’s system, like NCAA rushing yard record holder Donnel Pumphrey was.

Penny did nothing in the first three weeks even when he was given the opportunity, averaging 1.1, 3.0 and 1.7 yards per carry. Even in week four where Carson was inactive, Penny was only given nine carries, granted he did turn those into 49 yards which makes 5.4 yards per carry, but he is still touchdown-less.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we get to the end of the season and people have started classing Penny as a flop. I’m not prepared to do that yet, but he has to prove himself to the Seahawks coaches and take that number one job, or things will go south quickly for him.

6th – Hayden Hurst (0 points)

Hurst is likely to get his first start in week five against the Browns. The Ravens seem to be using a very tight end friendly system with Marty Mornhinweg as offensive coordinator, which should give Hurst opportunities when you consider Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams, and Mark Andrews have all been given chances so far.

If he can stay healthy, I would be expecting Hurst to start getting used a lot as the season goes on so I am interested to see what he can do in this Ravens offense.

Follow me on Twitter @DFF_JamesH for all things Football and occasionally some humor. (Don’t get too excited, it’s not great). Thanks for reading!


I work as an In-Play US Sports trader, father to Elijah, Archie and Izzie. Fan of Pittsburgh Steelers. Play the game as DT for Staffordshire Surge (Find them on Twitter @StaffsSurge). FSWA member. Follow me on Twitter @DFF_JamesH

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