RB Athletic Archetype Guide: How Each Rookie RB Fits New Team’s Archetype

With the NFL Draft in the books and the undrafted free agents largely signed, it’s time to examine the efficacy of our RB Athletic Archetype Guides.

Evaluating RB Prototype Fits

Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons

Selection: Round 1, Pick 8

  • Atlanta Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot models his running back archetypes based on tactics taught to him by his former mentor, New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis. 
  • Loomis utilizes a tandem backfield featuring a pair of dual-threat players, one with a run-centric skillset and one specializing in the passing game.  
  • Bijan Robinson qualified for either role but was billed for the run-centric role given his high-volume potential. 
  • In his April 27th press conference, coach Arthur Smith praised Robinson’s “contact balance” while referring to sophomore Tyler Allgeier as the “sledgehammer.” The comments indicate Robinson may be billed for an Alvin Kamara-type role rather than the Mark Ingram II role. 
Athl. Archetype Fit Ht. – BMI Arms – Hands (Inches) 40-Yd – 10-Yd (Sec.) Jumps: Broad – Vert. (Inch)
Terry Fontenot Archetype Minimums 5’9” – 28.0 31 – 9 10’6” – 36
Bijan Robinson 5’10” – 30.0 31.125 – 9.75 4.46 – 1.54 10’4” – 37

Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions,

Selection: Round 1, Pick 12

  • The Detroit Lions found the long-term replacement for D’Andre Swift by selecting former Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th overall pick. 
  • Gibbs possesses the requisite height, arm length and hand size for general manager Brad Holmes’ athletic archetype and forgivably fell one-pound short of the preferred weight minimum at 199 pounds. 
  • Gibbs’ 1.52-second 10-yard split was significantly faster than Holmes’ ideal 1.57-second time. 
  • A good performance in the three-cone drill is helpful for Holmes’ consideration but not critical, making Gibbs’ lack of three-cone participation a nonissue. 
  • Gibbs skipped the broad jump and bench press and was surprisingly not removed from consideration; 17-of-20 pre-2023 running backs participated in the broad jump, and 18-of-20 participated in the bench press.
  • Perhaps the strength of Gibbs’ pass-catching profile was enough to offset his abstention from the latter two drills.

Zach Charbonnet, Seattle Seahawks

Selection: Round 2, Pick 21

  • One year after drafting former Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker in the 2022 NFL Draft’s second round, Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider used a second-round pick on former UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet.
  • The 6-foot, 214-pound Charbonnet perfectly aligns with Seattle’s post-2015 propensity for taller, leaner running backs. 
  • The table below compares Charbonnet’s specifications with Schneider’s 2016-to-2022 preferences.
Athl. Archetype Fit Ht. – Wt. (lbs) Jumps: Broad – Vert. (Inch)  Bench Press 10-Yd. Split (Sec.) Arm Length
SEA 2016-2022 5’10.6” – 214.2 10’1.9” – 35 17 30.25
Zach Charbonnet 6’ – 214 10’2” – 37 18 1.54 32
  • Seattle’s archetype evolution is discussed in-depth in the RB Athletic Archetypes Guide: Seattle Seahawks article, where Charbonnet was identified as a likely Schneider selection. 

Kendre Miller, New Orleans Saints

Selection: Round 3, Pick 8

  • As mentioned in Robinson’s section, Loomis employs a tandem backfield featuring a run-centric player and passing-game specialist.
  • An MCL injury prevented Kendre Miller from participating in the pre-NFL Draft workout process. Still, the 2022 top-five NCAA tackle breaker (37 broken tackles, min. 100 rushing attempts) was too great a physical prospect for Loomis to ignore.
  • Miller checks all height, weight and length boxes.
  • His physique is punctuated by 32.375-inch arms, trailing only Appalachian State’s Camerun Peoples (32.625-inch arms) in the 2023 running back class. 
  • The 33rd Team contributor Greg Cossell complimented Miller on his “competitiveness and toughness in pass protection.” 
  • Miller’s 70.8 percent catch rate on 24 targets last year indicates adequate pass-catching capability. Those traits likely solidified Miller’s stats as a Loomis-draftee candidate.
  • The RB Athletic Archetypes Guide: New Orleans Saints article identified New Orleans as a potential landing spot for Miller.

Tyjae Spears, Tennessee Titans

Selection: Round 3, Pick 18

  • The Tennessee Titans’ athletic archetype research remains underway. Data is available for Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort, who spent 2020-to-2022 as Tennessee’s director of player personnel.  
  • Tyjae Spears profiles similarly to 2020 third-round pick Darrynton Evans (5-foot-10, 203 pounds), both in stature and as an athlete. Spears hit most of the athletic thresholds from Ossenfort’s Tennessee tenure.
  • Spears’ 10-foot-5 broad jump and 39-inch vertical jump sail past the respective minimums of 10-foot and 34.5 inches. His 4.32-second short shuttle perfectly threads the needle, and his 7.27-second three-cone time falls just 0.07 seconds outside of the ideal range. 
  • Spears’ 18 bench-press reps beat the 17-rep minimum required of bigger running backs.
  • Spears skipped the NFL Combine’s 40-yard dash and shuttle drills, instead opting to showcase those talents at Tulane’s Pro Day. 
  • Tennessee historically prefers avoiding NFL Combine-related hype, so the decision likely increased Spears’ odds of becoming a Titan.

Devon Achane, Miami Dolphins

Selection: Round 3, Pick 21

  • The Miami Dolphins have signaled archetype alteration by drafting Devon Achane, dropping lower-end thresholds in height, weight and the vertical jump while relaxing the broad jump participation requirement. 
  • Prior to Achane (5-foot-8, 188 pounds), Raheem Mostert (5-foot-10, 195 pounds) had been both the shortest and lightest running back of the Chris Grier-Mike McDaniel era.
  • Both Grier and McDaniel have placed an emphasis on running backs producing a 9-foot-10 or better broad jump and at least a 34.5-inch vertical jump. 
  • McDaniel was hired by Miami ahead of the 2022 season. His former team, the San Francisco 49ers, started experimenting with the upper end of the height and weight thresholds in 2021. 
  • McDaniel was evidently keen on lowering the thresholds.
  • Achane didn’t participate in the broad jump and reached just 33 inches in the vertical jump.
  • Achane’s 28.2 BMI, 4.30-second short shuttle and 7.05-second three-cone time checked all required boxes.

Tank Bigsby, Jacksonville Jaguars

Selection: Round 3, Pick 25

  • The RB Athletic Archetypes Guide: Jacksonville Jaguars research is still underway. Still, Tank Bigsby possesses a remarkably similar athletic profile to Jacksonville’s 2022 fifth-round pick Snoop Conner, 2021 first-round pick Travis Etienne and 2019 fifth-round pick Ryquell Armstead.
  • The four players stand 5-foot-10-to-6-foot tall and weigh 215-to-220 pounds.
  • Each player has 30-inch-plus arms and nine-inch-plus hands. 
  • The group produced nearly identical 10-yard splits, ranging from 1.56-to-1.57 seconds and three-of-four broad jumped 9-foot-10 or better. 
  • The group is vertically challenged; Etienne’s paltry 33.5-inch vertical jump led the way. 
  • Three-of-four players opted not to compete in both the short-shuttle and three-cone drills.

Roschon Johnson, Chicago Bears

Selection: Round 4, Pick 13

  • The RB Athletic Archetypes Guide: Chicago Bears article successfully identified Roschon Johnson as one-of-three likely candidates for general manager Ryan Poles’ big-bodied running back role. 
  • Chicago’s front office produced a shockingly honest pre-NFL Draft presentation that validated nearly all of the article’s findings.
  • At 6-foot, 219 pounds, Johnson fell just three pounds short of Poles’ ideal minimum threshold.
  • Johnson boasts 32-inch arms and 9.675-inch hands, sailing past Poles’ preferred minimums.
  • The former Longhorn skipped the shuttle drills but earned breathing room with his 10-foot-2 broad jump and elite 1.52-second 10-yard split.

Israel Abanikanda, New York Jets

Selection: Round 5, Pick 8

  • Israel Abanikanda was identified as a Shanahan-scheme fit early in the process. He profiles similarly Moster, a long-time Shanahan-scheme success.
  • Abanikanda’s 5-foot-10, 216-pound, and 31.0 BMI stature fit perfectly within the Joe Douglas/Saleh spectrum.  
  • The former Pittsburgh player boasts the requisite top-tier burst (10-foot-8 broad jump) and spring (41-inch vertical jump).
  • Abanikanda’s one-cut, run-to-daylight style is perhaps best encapsulated by his electric 4.39-second 40-yard dash time.

Chase Brown, Cincinnati Bengals

Selection: Round 5, Pick 28

  • The RB Athletic Archetypes Guide: Cincinnati Bengals article correctly identified Chase Brown as a likely Day 3 target for the Cincinnati Bengals. 
Athl. Archetype Fit Ht. – Wt. (lbs) Jumps: Broad – Vert. (Inch) Bench Press
Duke Tobin’s Archetype 5’9” – 207-209 9’10” – 33 19
Chase Brown 5’9.5” – 209 10’7” – 40 25
  • Brown offers a moderate pass-catching profile coupled with underwhelming pass-protection skills.

Eric Gray, New York Giants

Selection: Round 5, Pick 37

  • New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen has a long history of drafting compact running backs around 205 pounds. At 5-foot-9.5, 207 pounds, Eric Gray fits the bill.
  • Though Gray’s 4.62-second 40-yard dash fell short of Schoen’s threshold, Gray performed well in one of the two shuttle drills, which have yielded significant success for Schoen in the past. 
  • High-performing shuttle-drill players in Schoen’s sample include Reggie Bush, Saquon Barkley, Frank Gore and Matt Breida
  • Gray’s 4.10-second short shuttle earned a 9.25 relative athletic score (RAS), and his 7.17-second three-cone time is above average.
  • Gray’s 37.5-inch vertical jump left inches to spare over Schoen’s 36-inch ideal performance. 
  • Gray was successfully identified as a potential NFL Draft target for New York via the athletic archetype method. 

Evan Hull, Indianapolis Colts

Selection: Round 5, Pick 41

  • Research for the Indianapolis Colts’ athletic archetypes is still underway, but Evan Hull is the next in a series of springy running backs drafted by general manager Chris Ballard. 
  • Ballard’s preferred workout events include the broad and vertical jumps, the three-cone drill, the 40-yard dash and the 10-yard split.
  • Players typically perform extremely well in more than one of these metrics.
  • Hull’s results earned him an 8.60 or better RAS score in five-of-six events. His performance was keyed by a 1.53-second 10-yard split. 

Chris Rodriguez Jr., Washington Commanders

Selection: Round 6, Pick 16

  • Chris Rodriguez Jr. was a partial match for Washington Commanders general manager Martin Mayhew’s athletic archetype at first glance. 
  • He was removed from the potential-target pool primarily for not participating in the three-cone drill.
  • Mayhew had long-held running backs to a high three-cone-drill standard, ideally 7.00 seconds or faster. Rodriguez Jr.’s drafting and Brian Robinson’s (7.33 seconds) third-round selection in 2022 function as an athletic-archetype inflection point. 
  • Rodriguez Jr.’s 9-foot-6 broad jump fell four inches short of Mayhew’s preferred minimum but his 30.625-inch arms, 1.58-second 10-yard split and 32.5-inch vertical jump check all remaining boxes.

Deuce Vaughn, Dallas Cowboys

Selection: Round 6, Pick 35

  • Eight athletic archetype marks were identified for Jerry and Stephen Jones. Deuce Vaughn fell short in six-of-eight categories, indicating either shifts in the overall formula or new specifications for players of Vaughn’s stature.
  • Dallas historically acquires 6-foot-plus running backs at a 41.2 percent rate. Vaughn stands out as a 5-foot-5 outlier.
Athl. Archetype Fit Wt. (lbs) Arms – Hands (Inch) 10-Yd – 3-Cone (Sec.) Jumps: Broad – Vert. (Inch)
The Jones’ Archetype Minimums 190 30 – 9.25 1.58 – 10’1” – 35
Deuce Vaughn 179 27.75 – 9.5 1.59 – 7.10 9’8” – 35.5

Zach Evans, Los Angeles Rams

Selection: Round 6, Pick 38

  • Zach Evans was removed from Los Angeles’ athletic archetype consideration due to his slender frame (5-foot-11, 202 pounds). 
  • General manager Les Snead typically targets thickly-built running backs around 5-foot-10, 215 pounds. 
  • He hits four-of-six athletic requirements. 
Athl. Archetype Fit 40-Yd – 10-Yd (Sec.) Short Shuttle (Sec.) Vert. (Inch)
Les Snead’s Archetype Minimums 10’2”
Zach Evans 4.50 – 1.58 4.26 10’1”
  • His gangliness (31.625 inches) and baseball-mit hands (10.25 inches) are a plus.
  • Evans skipped the bench press.

DeWayne McBride, Minnesota Vikings

Selection: Round 7, Pick 5

  • Seven-of-eight players in Minnesota general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s sample completed all six NFL Combine/pro-day workout events. 
  • DeWayne McBride is the first player added by Adofo-Mensah’s tenure to compete in fewer than four events. The former UAB running back suffered a hamstring strain during a pre-NFL Draft training session and was limited to the bench press.
  • His 20 bench-press repetitions met Adofo-Mensah’s preferred threshold.
  • McBride could not participate in UAB’s March 22 pro day but visited the Minnesota Vikings as a top-30 prospect on April 12. 
  • Per Adam Hutchison’s Injury Index, running backs are sidelined 3.0 weeks on average due to hamstring strains. If McBride was injured shortly before the NFL Combine, he would have been roughly four weeks removed from the injury when UAB’s pro day arrived. 
  • The April 12th visit falls exactly seven weeks following the hypothetical injury date, which should have given McBride enough time to get back in shape for a full workout in front of Minnesota scouts.
  • It is unclear whether Adofo-Mensah altered his workout requirements, but the 2024 NFL Draft will offer clarification.
  • Standing 5-foot-10 with 30.625-inch arms and 9.5-inch hands, McBride hovers near Adofo-Mensah’s preferred physical specifications.

Lew Nichols III, Green Bay Packers

Selection: Round 7, Pick 18

  • Lew Nichols III fits the bill as a classic Brian Gutekunst big-bodied running back. 
  • Gutekunst utilizes two different athletic archetypes, one for heftier players and another for those built compactly. 
Athl. Archetype Fit Wt. (lbs) – BMI 10-Yd – 40-Yd. (Sec.) Jumps: Broad – Vert. (Inch) 3-Cone (Sec.) Bench Press Repetitions
Brian Gutekunst Achetype Minimums > 216 – > 31.0 > 9’6” – > 36 19
Lew Nichols III 220 – 31.6 1.55 – 4.61 9’7” – 37 7.43 22

Kenny McIntosh, Seattle Seahawks

Selection: Round 7, Pick 20

  • Seattle’s backfield has been pummeled by injuries in recent seasons, which likely led to Kenny McIntosh’s seventh-round selection. He falls well outside many of general manager John Schneider’s athletic archetype thresholds.
  • The bench press is the only workout event that Mcintosh skipped, yet his only qualifying metric for Seattle’s archetype is his 1.54-second 10-yard split. 

Sean Tucker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Selection: UDFA

  • Sean Tucker is a textbook fit for Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht. 
  • Sub-5-foot-10 running backs must possess a 30.0 BMI or higher. At 5-foot-9, 207 pounds with a 30.6 BMI, Tucker meets the mark.
  • Tucker’s outstanding 38-inch vertical jump helps but is unnecessary for Licht’s consideration. 

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