- Scott Engel, ESPN Fantasy Games
Here are ESPN.com's pre-NFL draft rankings of the top rookie running backs from a fantasy perspective. Ratings by position and overall player rankings will be revised after this weekend's draft.
1. Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma: He is a complete package of size, power, speed and explosion. Peterson will certainly be the first running back off the board on Saturday, and he could go as soon as the third pick to Cleveland. Peterson has outstanding vision and is a punishing runner who can also gain extra yardage after contact. He also has a lot of promise as a pass-catcher. The main knock on Peterson, though, is that he runs high and exposes himself to injuries. While he has eventual star potential from the fantasy perspective, Peterson could initially end up splitting carries in his rookie season, limiting his standout potential in his first pro season.
2. Marshawn Lynch, California: He should be the only other running back besides Peterson to go in the first round. Lynch has good vision and runs well inside, and he is a threat to bust outside and take off at any time. He has a lot of potential as a pass-catcher, although he might need more polish to succeed regularly at the NFL level. There are some questions about Lynch's character, but it will be difficult for Green Bay to pass on him at No. 16 overall, where he should be a nice fit and will become a viable No. 2 fantasy running back. Lynch also must prove he can handle a heavy workload after sharing time with other prominent runners at Cal. Injuries could be an issue, and Lynch will have to prove himself before being regarded as a solid fantasy starter.
1hEthan Sherwood Strauss