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NFL Draft 2009 Review: RB Rashad Jennings

Going into the NFL Draft, pundits and mock drafters generally liked Liberty University RB Rashad Jennings.  ESPN's Super Pundit Mel Kiper had him ranked among his top running backs.  It wouldn't have been crazy to see Jennings taken in the second round.  Jennings wasn't drafted in the second round. 

He wasn't drafted in the third round.

Or the fourth.  Or the fifth.

This led to the awkward (for ESPN, not me) situation where Jennings was listed on  "Mel's Best Available" list for about a day and a half.  At first, ESPN analysts tried to delicately address the issue ("Mel, why do you think teams are passing on Jennings?") but eventually they just pretended Jennings didn't exist so Kiper didn't have to tap dance around his pick.  Hmm-hmm-hmmm nothing to see here, move along.

Jennings eventually landed with the Jaguars in the 7th round, the last running back taken in 2009.  Even though he's big (6'1", 231 lbs) and put up big sparkly stats in college (Big South Offensive Player of the Year two years in a row), teams questioned how good he really was considering the lower level of competition he faced.  I don't know if he's any good or not,  but I do know that Jennings landed in a great fantasy situation.  A fantastic fantasy situation. Knowshon Moreno dreams of having a situation like this.

The Jaguars said goodbye to long-time RB Fred Taylor and turned away from the running back by committee approach in order to make Maurice Jones-Drew the sole starting running back.  This plan makes Jones-Drew an absolute fantasy stud (drool) but I don't think it's going to work. 

Jones-Drew has never had more than 197 carries in a season.  He's capable of amazing things but he's not going to pound the ball into the end zone from the 3 yard line.  Jennings is a serious candidate to be the Jags' regular short yardage back.  The only guys standing in his way are Greg Jones and Alvin Pearman and those two guys don't scare anybody.  Jennings looks like a huge fantasy sleeper opportunity this season.

I expect Jennings will start to make some noise in the preseason the way Tim Hightower did last year.  I'm hoping Jennings doesn't do that, because I want him available for the late rounds of my draft.