The Baltimore Ravens landed a steal with the 134th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. There they were, with the 36th pick in the 4th round, and Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon was somehow still on the board. It’s not every day that a running back with 87 career touchdowns from scrimmage in college drops to the 4th round. In fact, this was the first time in NFL history any running back with more than 70 touchdowns from scrimmage dropped out of the 3rd round in any draft.
Dixon’s critics often say that it was the low level of competition Louisiana Tech faced that pumped up his impressive rushing and receiving totals (4483 & 969 yards, career). They’ll note that his straight-line speed isn’t all that impressive (4.58 second forty-yard dash). They may even try and say that he struggles to run between the tackles.
Those same critics neglect, however, that Dixon’s O-line was atrocious. He averaged only 1.7 yards before contact due to his horrid offensive line, but still managed an average of 3.3 yards after contact. He breaks tackles, forces defenders to miss in space, and has a nose for the end zone.
Many also forget that he earned top 5 marks in this year’s RB class in the vertical jump (37 inches), 3-cone drill (6.97 seconds), & 60-yard shuttle (11.5 seconds) at the NFL Combine. Plus, he was above average in every other drill but the forty-yard dash.
Dixon has the profile of a true NFL feature back. His only obstacles for consistently significant playing time are the aging journeyman Justin Forsett & second-year RB Buck Allen who underwhelmed in limited time last season. The future is bright for Kenneth Dixon in Baltimore. Watch him some yourself if you’re not convinced.
Redraft – It’s hard to tell what the Ravens will do with their backfield for 2016. They have a stable of potential contributors in Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Kenneth Dixon, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Terrance West & Trent Richardson (ha, yeah right). The muddy waters may deter many fantasy owners from investing in Dixon this year, making him attainable in the later rounds as a potential handcuff to Justin Forsett. If there is one injury to either Forsett or Buck Allen there is massive potential for monster results, but otherwise his rookie year may be a rather quiet one.
Draft Stock: More than likely Dixon’s average draft position will settle somewhere in the 120-140 overall range. If you’re torn between him or Allen late in your draft, go Dixon.
Dynasty – This year’s class of running backs & wide receivers isn’t as strong as many classes in recent memory. However, Dixon is generally viewed as a consensus top 3 running back, with some even claiming that he is actually even better than Derrick Henry. He is a longer term investment, given the current RB depth in Baltimore, but is probably the most balanced & talented guy on the roster.
Draft Stock: Top 7-10 pick in rookie drafts or 70th-90th in startup dynasty drafts is common.