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Fantasy Football: 5 UDFA Running Back Prospects to Monitor

Ravens RB Keaton Mitchell

With the 2023 NFL Draft over, we can evaluate the landing spots, draft capital and potential role for the running back prospects selected during the three-day event. We'll look at five undrafted free agents (UDFA) at running back that possessed at least one optimistic metric in their favor.

Since there's a low probability these backs will end up fantasy relevant, we'll provide quick bullet points on the pros and cons of the UDFA running back prospects.

>>READ: Tracking All 2023 UDFA Signings

  Keaton Mitchell

Keaton Mitchell (scouting report) popped via the underlying metrics as a small back at 179 pounds out of East Carolina. Mitchell went undrafted and landed with the Baltimore Ravens, who still have J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards leading the backfield when healthy.

There's also Lamar Jackson eating into the team's rush share (tied for sixth in rush rate during the past two seasons). Mitchell had projected draft capital in the fifth round, but NFL teams passed on him. Before the draft, Mitchell came out as the sixth-best running back prospect via weighted averages.


High-End Skills

Maybe there's some non-Power 5 Conference bias here, but Mitchell produced and showed the ability to create yards after contact. Mitchell's 69 percent RB Dominator ranked ninth in the running back prospect class. Plus, he had the fourth-best broken plus missed tackle rate (BT+MT/Att) at 30.8 percent. The three other backs ahead of Mitchell in BT+MT/Att include Roschon Johnson (scouting report), Bijan Robinson (scouting report) and DeWayne McBride (scouting report). Johnson went in the fourth round, and McBride lasted to Round 7. 

running back prospects

Explosive Athleticism

Assuming Mitchell's ability to break and evade tacklers translates to the NFL when given the opportunity, that aligns with Dobbins and Edwards, though there's a significant size difference. Mitchell could earn playing time on special teams as a kick returner with his straight-line speed with a 4.37 40-yard dash in the 98th percentile. That translates into a mediocre Speed Score (47th percentile). Outside of his speed, he's an explosive athlete with a 90th percentile Explosion Score based on his broad and vertical jumps above the 85th percentile.



Since 2010, six running back prospects weighed 180 pounds or less and went undrafted. That list includes Tyreik McAllister (who?), Pooka Williams, Otis Anderson, Adrian Killins Jr. (again, who?), Tony Brooks-James and Devontae Booker. That inspires little confidence, though maybe Mitchell is the outlier based on his athleticism and college production.

Without the undrafted status, it adds the speedy-kick-returner type in Donnel Pumphrey, Dri Archer and Dexter McCluster. If anything, Mitchell should land on the watch list for redraft and dynasty formats. However, the thought of Tyler Badie, a sixth-round pick, might be a likely outcome. Badie went from being a practice squad player to being waived at the end of the season, then landed with the Denver Broncos.

  Camerun Peoples

Various mock drafts projected Camerun Peoples (scouting report) as a UDFA, which ended up being the case as he signed with the Carolina Panthers. As a fifth-year running back prospect out of Appalachian State, Peoples posted a peak RB Dominator of 49 percent in 2021, which dipped to 23 percent in 2022 due to injuries.


Size, YAC Ability

Peoples weighed 217 pounds but had poor size-adjusted speed with a Speed Score in the 40th percentile. He showed above-average explosiveness with a 74th percentile Explosion Score with a solid broad and vertical jump. Among the 200 qualified college backs, Peoples ranked sixth in YAC/Att at 4.2, behind McBride in the running back prospect class.

Uses Designed Gaps Well

Peoples used his designed gaps 72.3 percent of the time (No. 41) with the 36th-best Stuff Rate, indicating only 12.9 percent of his carries resulted in zero or fewer yards. That aligns with the high YAC/Att, though he has a middling BT+MT/Att at 18.8 percent.



At 23.6 years old, it isn't a major red flag because we've had some older rookies of note have success before. Notable running back prospects at 23 or older by September 1 of their rookie season include: Isiah Pacheco, Rachaad White, Elijah Mitchell, Najee Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson. When we filter by UDFA status, that changes to Jaylen Warren, Raheem Blackshear, Jordan Mason, Malik Davis, Ty'Son Williams and JaMycal Hasty.

Limited Receiving Production

When a back lacks receiving production in college, we hope for dominance on the ground. Unfortunately, Peoples peaked in his fifth year with a two percent receiving yardage market share.

Detroit Lions Mohamed Ibrahim

  Mohamed Ibrahim

I examined Mohamed Ibrahim (scouting report) in-depth early in the offseason when covering running back prospects projected for Day 3. Though he became a UDFA, he joins an intriguing team on the rise, especially from a running back perspective.


College Production

After an Achilles injury, Ibrahim posted a 61 percent RB Dominator with his most productive season of 1,665 rushing yards and 20 rushing scores. He can handle a heavy workload with determination, evidenced by how he rebounded after the injury.

Solid Advanced Metrics

Ibrahim only forced a broken or missed tackle 18.4 percent of the time (No. 91), with an above-average 3.1 YAC/Att (No. 57). He fought for extra yards as only 12.2 percent of his carries went for zero or fewer yards (No. 27).



Ibrahim is the oldest running back prospect in the 2023 class at 24.6. The list of rookie running backs at 24 years and UDFA by September 1 inspires little confidence. Notable players include Blackshear, Trey Ragas and Patrick Laird. The most exciting name is Phillip Lindsay, though that's an outlier scenario based on the opportunity.

Lack of Receiving Production

With the Lions investing in Jahmyr Gibbs (scouting report) and trading away Swift, it's clear they're high on the athletic rusher and receiver out of Alabama. David Montgomery probably plays the Jamaal Williams' role, with potential rushing touchdown regression.

Since Ibrahim dominated on the ground, it's understandable he lacked receiving production in college. However, Ibrahim could take an early down role if Montgomery or Gibbs misses time. Or we could envision a scenario like Craig Reynolds, where he averaged nearly 11 PPR/G when garnering 10 or more carries. In those three contests, Reynolds averaged 16 carries, 75 rushing yards, two receptions and 14 receiving yards.

  Xazavian Valladay

Could we find the next James Robinson to replace the 2022 rookie sensation in Dameon Pierce? Kidding aside, Xazavian Valladay possesses intriguing traits as a rusher and receiver.


Produced As Rusher, Receiver

Valladay ranked second in RB Dominator at 89 percent among the running back prospect class. After four seasons at Wyoming, Valladay posted his best season at Arizona State. He posted four straight seasons with a double-digit RecYd MS, indicating his pass-catching ability.

running back prospects

Since 2010, we have 17 running backs with a career 74 percent RB Dominator and a 10 percent RecYd MS. Valladay matches those marks, with Sean Tucker (scouting report) and Deuce Vaughn (scouting report) among the other running back prospects in the 2023 class. Other players meeting that threshold include Alvin Kamara, Giovani Bernard, Booker, Saquon Barkley, White and Pooka Williams.

Pro Day Measurables

At Valladay's pro day, he ran a 4.51 40-yard dash, translating to a Speed Score in the 60th percentile. However, Valladay flashed some burst and explosiveness with a 40-inch vertical and 123-inch broad jump, turning into an elite Burst Score (92nd percentile).



As noted earlier, an older running back prospect doesn't bode well for his probable outcomes. Valladay is the fourth-oldest back in the class.

Weak Underlying Metrics

Sometimes, if a running back garners a heavy workload, like Valladay, the underlying metrics won't wow us. Valladay's 2.9 YAC/Att (No. 96) hovers around the median of qualified backs, with a BT+MT/Att ranked No. 144 out of 200.

  SaRodorick Thompson

The final back of note is SaRodorick Thompson out of Texas Tech, who played five seasons in college but never popped via the production metrics. Thompson signed with the New Orleans Saints as a UDFA, but they have several enticing options behind Kamara.

They signed Williams, drafted Kendre Miller (scouting report) in the third round and added a zero RB favorite in Eno Benjamin. Thompson probably lacks any fantasy relevance in the near future, but his ability to break and evade tackles stood out.


High BT+MT/Att

In Thompson's final season, he ranked 15th in BT+MT/Att at 29.7 percent, slightly ahead of the Saints' third-round pick in Miller. That also aligns with his above-average YAC/Att at 3.1 (No. 58), showing his ability to fight for extra yards.


Struggles Using Designed Gaps

It seems Thompson needed to create yards after contact and break tackles because he had the fourth-worst designed gap rate at 51.4 percent. He ranked in the bottom half of the qualified running backs in stuff rate, showing 18.1 percent of his carries went for zero or fewer yards (No. 129).

Age, Below-Average Production

We have a trend with these UDFA running back prospects, as they're mostly older backs. We'll note Thompson shared the backfield with Tahj Brooks and Xavier White, possibly hinting at how Texas Tech deploys its backfield. That's noteworthy with Thompson's 34 percent career RB Dominator with a peak season in 2021 at 51 percent.