Running backs and the draft have had a rocky relationship in the last decade. The position has become less and less valuable thanks to the passing game and the continued decline in the shelf life of backs. There wasn’t a single first round running back in the 2013 or 2014 drafts despite talents like Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman being available. But recent years have seen rookie running backs have great success in the NFL. First with Ezekiel Elliott and then Leonard Fournette forging the way for highly drafted backs to make headlines once again.
How to choose the best rookie running backs in Madden 19’s Franchise Mode
Madden 19 features a whole host of talented rookie running backs, including three first round picks. But how do you pick the best players? Speed is an important stat, as is acceleration and carrying. But you also want your back to be good at catching and short route running, and have a strong juke, spin, or stiff arm stat so he can beat defenders. Here are all the rookie running backs in Madden 19.
Saquon Barkley, New York giants (OVR 82)
Development Trait: Superstar
Contract: 4 years/$31.2m
2018 Cap Hit: $7.57m
Best Stats: Speed (92), Acceleration (93), Carrying (87), Juke Move (91), Catching (72)
Saquon Barkley was the #2 pick in the 2018 draft and arguably the most talented player in the draft class. A sensational back, Barkley rushed for 3,843 yards in his three years at Penn State with an average of 5.7 yards per carry. He scored 43 touchdowns on the ground and added another 1,195 yards and eight touchdowns on 102 catches. Barkley dominated the combine this year, running the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, reaching a remarkable 41 inches on the vertical jump, and scoring 29 reps on the bench press.
In Madden 19 Barkley is an excellent all-round running back already. He has great speed (92) and acceleration (93) as well as a lethal juke move (91). Barkley isn’t the best receiver out of the backfield (catching 72, short route running 70), but with his superstar development trait you can quickly improve that part of his game.
Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins (OVR 78)
Development Trait: Star
Contract: 4 years/$4.52m
2018 Cap Hit: $1.06m
Best Stats: Speed (90), Acceleration (91), Carrying (91), Trucking (91), Catching (61)
Derrius Guice is a beast of a running back. A second-round pick, #59 overall, for the Redskins, Guice comes into the NFL after three strong years at LSU where he rushed for 3,074 yards at an average of 6.5 yards per carry, and scored 29 touchdowns. He’s not much of a receiver, Guice only caught 32 passes in his time at LSU, going for 250 yards and three scores. Unfortunately Guice suffered a torn ACL in Washington’s first preseason game and will miss his rookie season.
In Madden 19, Guice is a brute. With impressive strength (80) for a running back underpinning a terrific trucking (91) stat. He will rarely fumble with that 91 carrying, but a catching of just 61 makes him rather one-dimensional as a rookie. You can improve that with time thanks to his star development trait.
Sony Michel, New England Patriots (OVR 77)
Development Trait: Quick
Contract: 4 years/$9.62m
2018 Cap Hit: $2.31m
Best Stats: Speed (90), Acceleration (92), Carrying (85), Juke Move (88), Catching (68)
The Patriots took Sony Michel 31st in the 2018 draft, a late first-round pick. Michel played four years at Georgia, splitting time with fellow rookie back Nick Chubb. In his time with the Bulldogs Michel ran for 3,613 yards with an average of 6.1 yards per carry, and scored 33 touchdowns. He also made 64 catches, going for 621 yards and six more scores.
Like Derrius Guice, Sony Michel isn’t much of a receiving threat. With his catching (68) and short route running (69) stats being poor, he’s purely a first and second down running back at the moment. He has good athleticism (speed 90, acceleration 92) and carrying (85) but lacks a truly elite move to beat defenders.
Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (OVR 77)
Development Trait: Star
Contract: 4 years/$7.05m
2018 Cap Hit: $1.68m
Best Stats: Speed (93), Acceleration (93), Carrying (88), Juke Move (89), Catching (69)
Jones II was a second-round pick, #38 overall, for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year. Jones II played his college ball at USC, where he amassed 3,619 rushing yards in three years, averaged 6.1 yards per carry and scored 39 touchdowns. Not much of a receiver, Jones II caught just 32 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns. Jones ran a 4.48 40-yard dash at his Pro Day despite having a hamstring injury.
Jones II is one of the fastest running backs in Madden, with his speed (93) and acceleration (93) making him a threat to take any carry to the house. He has good carrying (88) and a nice juke move (89) to go with that but his catching (69) and route running (65) need improvement.
Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks (OVR 76)
Development Trait: Quick
Contract: 4 years/$10.7m
2018 Cap Hit: $2.58m
Best Stats: Speed (90), Acceleration (90), Carrying (90), Juke Move (86), Catching (66)
Rashaad Penny was a first-round pick, #27 overall, for the Seattle Seahawks this year after four years at San Diego State. Penny was a huge star there, racking up 3,656 yards and 42 touchdowns on the ground with an average of 7.5 yards per carry. He added 42 catches for 479 yards and six touchdowns. In his senior year Penny rushed for a massive 2,248 yards.
In this year’s Madden Penny feels a little under valued. His speed (90) and acceleration (90) are below what you would expect given his college production, and he lacks an elite move, with juke (86) his best. He does at least have good carrying (90), but like most other rookies his catching (66) is poor.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns (OVR 76)
Development Trait: Quick
Contract: 4 years/$7,38m
2018 Cap Hit: $1.76m
Best Stats: Speed (88), Acceleration (90), Carrying (89), Trucking (87), Catching (59)
Nick Chubb was a second-round pick, #35 overall, for the Cleveland Browns. The other half of Georgia’s backfield duo with Sony Michel, Chubb finished his four seasons in college with 4,769 yards, at an average of 6.3 yards per carry, and scored 44 touchdowns on the ground. As a receiver Chubb did very little, catching just 31 passes for 361 yards and four scores.
In Madden 19 Chubb is very much a north-south, physical back. With trucking (87) his best move to beat defenders and his speed (88) less than ideal, you will need to rely on Chubb’s ability to grind out tough yards and run over undersized defenders in the box. His strength (85) is strong for a back, but he is useless as a receiver (59 catching, 52 short route running) so he will have to come off in passing situations.
Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts (OVR 74)
Development Trait: Quick
Contract: 4 years/$3.13m
2018 Cap Hit: $730k
Best Stats: Speed (93), Acceleration (93), Carrying (83), Juke Move (87), Catching (70)
Nyheim Hines was a fourth-round pick, #104 overall, for the Indianapolis Colts. He has just one year of college football under his belt at North Carolina State, getting 197 carries in 2017. However, he was able to take those for 1,113 yards, a 5.6-yard average, and 12 touchdowns. He did do some receiving at NC State, making 89 catches for 933 yards and one score. Hines ran a terrific 40-yard dash of 4.38 seconds and a 4.35-second short shuttle at his combine.
Hines’ speed (93) and acceleration (93) make him a threat in Madden 19, but he doesn’t have great carrying (83) so running him up the middle frequently should be avoided. He has a nice juke move (87) to go along with that speed, and is a better receiver (catching 70) than most rookie backs, even if his short route running (67) still needs work.
Other rookie running backs
|Name||Team||OVR||Development Trait||Contract||2018 Cap Hit|
|Royce Freeman||Denver Broncos||73||Quick||4yrs/$3.91m||$910k|
|Kerryon Johnson||Detroit Lions||73||Quick||4yrs/$6.49m||$1.54m|
|Ito Smith||Atlanta Falcons||72||Quick||4yrs/$3.01m||$700k|
|Mark Walton Jr||Cincinnati Bengals||72||Normal||4yrs/$3.1m||$720k|
|Boston Scott||New Orleans Saints (Practice Squad)||72||Quick||N/A||N/A|
|Kalen Ballage||Miami Dolphins||71||Quick||4yrs/$3.01m||$700k|
|Bo Scarbrough||Dallas Cowboys||71||Normal||4yrs/$2.5m||$620k|
|Chase Edmonds||Arizona Cardinals||71||Normal||4yrs/$2.97m||$690k|
|Justin Jackson||Los Angeles Chargers||71||Quick||4yrs/$2.46m||$610k|
|John Kelly||Los Angeles Rams||70||Normal||4yrs/$2.58m||$630k|
|Trenton Cannon||New York Jets (Practice Squad)||70||Normal||N/A||N/A|
|Jordan Wilkins||Indianapolis Colts (Practice Squad)||70||Normal||N/A||N/A|
|Jaylen Samuels||Pittsburgh Steelers||68||Normal||4yrs/$2.66m||$640k|
|Akrum Wadley||Tennessee Titans||68||Normal||3yrs/$1.71m||$570k|
|Josh Adams||Philadelphia Eagles (Practice Squad)||67||Normal||N/A||N/A|
|Quinton Flowers||Free Agent||66||Normal||N/A||N/A|
|Larry Rose III||Free Agent||65||Normal||N/A||N/A|
|Darrel Williams||Kansas City Chiefs (Practice Squad)||65||Normal||N/A||N/A|
|Phillip Lindsay||Denver Broncos||65||Normal||3yrs/$1.7m||$570k|
|James Butler||Free Agent||64||Quick||N/A||N/A|
|Chris Warren III||Oakland Raiders (Practice Squad)||64||Normal||N/A||N/A|
|Roc Thomas||Free Agent||64||Normal||N/A||N/A|
|David Williams||Denver Broncos (Practice Squad)||63||Normal||N/A||N/A|
|Jarvion Franklin||Pittsburgh Steelers (Practice Squad)||62||Normal||N/A||N/A|
|Ryan Nall||Chicago Bears (Practice Squad)||62||Normal||N/A||N/A|
|Gus Edwards||Baltimore Ravens (Practice Squad)||61||Normal||N/A||N/A|
|Justin Crawford||Atlanta Falcons (Practice Squad)||60||Normal||N/A||N/A|
|Lavon Coleman||Free Agent||60||Normal||N/A||N/A|
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