When the 2018 NFL draft kicks off on April 26th, we’ll witness one of the most unpredictable drafts that we’ve seen in a while.
Will we see 4 quarterbacks go in the top 5?
What the F’ are the Giants going to do at No. 2?
Will Saquon Barkley be the first RB taken No. 1 since his fellow Penn State alumna Ki-Jana Carter was picked back in 1995?
And of course, the point of this article, where should the fantasy degenerates draft Derrius Guice?
While Barkley has ankle breaking agility, fantastic receiving skills, other-worldly measurements (he ran a 4.40 40 yard dash at 6-foot and 233 pounds), and is understandably getting all the love this draft season, people are overlooking another fantastic, first-round-worthy RB in Derrius Guice.
Guice was hyper-productive in the SEC, which, of course, is no guarantee of NFL success (I’m lookin’ at you Alabama backs...), but it does tick the ‘he’s done it before against a high level of competition’ box.
Watching his game tape, you see Guice is much more of a bend-the-corner-gently-at-top-speed guy than a sudden start-stop ankle-breaker. This should not be mistaken as a condemnation of his agility. Guice showed time and time again the ability to float down the line, plant, and get upfield like you want a running back to do in a zone blocking scheme. This ticks the box for ‘agile enough to be elite’.
Despite being a little undersized for a work-horse back at 5’10” and 212 pounds (NFL combine measurements), Guice showed no hesitation to hit the hole hard on inside runs. Guice also does not try and bounce everything outside, when defenses do blow up a running play. Defenses will occasionally do that and when they do, it is much better to get back to the line of scrimmage instead of trying to bounce it outside and end up in 2nd and 15. Guice shows maturity as a runner by showing he understands there is more to a game than just the play being called right now.
In the passing game, since LSU does not throw to their backs much, we don’t have a ton of tape to go off of here. The limited receptions Guice did put on tape make me comfortable giving him at least a ‘serviceable’ grade as a receiver out of the backfield.
As a pass blocker, we see him whiff on a few blocks, and we see him blowing up some rather big dudes, too. So while I make no assertions that I am a fantastic evaluator in this area, Guice appears at least willing to stick his head in there and try to block. I see enough to tick the pass box for Guice in the passing game.
When you put it all together, Guice is an NFL-ready, starting caliber back. In mock drafts, we’re seeing Guice slotted somewhere in the middle of the first round, and that feels about right to me. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see him go as high as No. 6 to the Indianapolis Colts (or more likely to the Colts when they trade back) if both Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb are gone. If Guice makes it out of the first round, I’d be shocked.
Guice’s College Stats
Best Fantasy Fits
- Indianapolis Colts: The Colts have been searching for a running back ever since Edgerrin James left town in 2005. This year, the Colts will finally get a feature back to help take a little pressure off Andrew Luck. After the Colts trade back to the QB-needy Bills in exchange for the Bills two 1st round selections, the Colts will get Guice at No. 12. With Andrew Luck back under center, and no real competition for carries, Guice will end up coming off the board early in the 2nd round in fantasy drafts.
- Oakland Raiders: The Raiders have made several old-school moves this offseason, and we might see that continue here at pick No. 10. At Tampa Bay, Jon Gruden selected Carnell ‘Cadillac’ Williams with the 5th overall pick back in 2005 . Why not take a do-it-all, workhorse back to team up with Amari Cooper and Derek Car? The Raiders had a down year offensively last year, but they still have a solid offensive nucleus. Someone in your fantasy draft will choose to ignore Oakland’s 2017 performance and take Guice in the middle of the 2nd round in fantasy drafts.
- Seattle Seahawks: Seattle made one 1st round selection in the past 5 years. And while they desperately need help along the offensive line, why not go ahead and take a blue-chip runner to try to take pressure off Russell Wilson? There should be plenty of work, and not much competition for Guice if he ends up in Seattle. But, concern over the offensive line and outstanding training camp press for C.J. Prosise push Guice down to the end of the 2nd, early 3rd round in fantasy drafts.
PS: Nick Chubb is better.