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NFL Draft 2009 Review: RB Chris Wells

CBS Sportsline thinks Chris "Beanie" Wells is the greatest running back in this year's draft.   They have him rated #14 overall -- ahead of QB Josh Freeman and ahead of RB Knowshon Moreno.  If he's that good, how did he slip to #31 overall?

Hmmm....

With Edgerrin James leaving, the Cardinals needed a solid, everyday back.  They got one in Wells, a 6"1", 235 lb back with power to move the line and enough speed to break loose on any given play.  The Cardinals will throw less and run more this season, and Wells will be the beneficiary.  He should easily see 15+ carries a game and should put up big time yardage totals.  He'll lose touchdowns at the goal line to Tim Hightower but that shouldn't be a big problem.

Great!  He's awesome!   Where do I draft him?  Third round?  Second?

Well.....here's the problem.  He almost dropped out of the first round because some people think he's soft.  They think he avoids tacklers he should hit, they think he steps out of bounds too quickly, they think his (frequent) injuries last just a bit too long.  Peter King reported that some teams think he has a foot injury. Mike Mayock of the NFL Network didn't rank Wells in his draft Top 20.

So what do you call a guy that looks like he has everything (skill, size, a starting spot) you need for fantasy greatness, but teams are going "Ehhhhh..."?  

You call him a sleeper and draft him accordingly.   Even in a large league I wouldn't want to have to rely on him as an RB2.  He could certainly provide RB2 value -- he may even provide RB1 value -- but it's not something you can count on.