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A few players that should be on your draft radar for 2005 season should be Ronnie Brown, Carnell Williams, Cedric Benson, J.J Arrington, Eric Shelton and maybe even Maurice Clarett.
Brown may be most solid fantasy prospect for this season since he really faces no significant competition for starting job. Even if Ricky Williams can come back and play this season, donít expect head coach Nick Saban or his teammates to accept him with open arms. Williams has burned too many bridges and cast too much doubt in minds of his coaches and fellow players to be handed back feature running back job. Brown should not have much trouble beating out Sammy Morris, Travis Minor or Lamar Gordon for starting job. None of those player possess combination of size and speed that Brown possesses.
About only question mark with Brown is if he will have enough players around him to make him successful. The offensive line is mostly a collection of journeymen and backups and A.J. Feeley did nothing last year to make defenses fear Dolphins arial attack. Even if defenses stack line and try to stop run, Brown should get enough attempts to make a fantasy impact.
Rookie running backs other than Brown face some sort of competition heading into training camp. Carnell Williams will have to beat out incumbent starter Michael Pittman in Tampa Bay. Cedric Benson will have to battle with last yearís starter, Thomas Jones for top spot in Chicago. J.J. Arrington may have to split time with Marcel Shipp who is returning from injury in Arizona and Maurice Clarett faces an uphill battle for playing time with Tatum Bell, Mike Anderson and newly acquired Ron Dayne on roster.
If we had to rank top five rookie running backs in terms of fantasy value right now, it would look a little something like this:
1. Ronnie Brown, Mia 2. Cedric Benson, Chi 3. J.J. Arrington, Ariz 4. Carnell Williams, TB 5. Eric Shelton, Car
So when this years draft rolls around, donít make mistake of simply dismissing a talent just because he a rookie. You might find out that you could get some outstanding production and value out of a wide-eyed rookie running back that has a bright future ahead of him.
Jason is the webmaster and editor of Huddlegeeks.com, a respected Fantasy Football analysis website.