The 2018 NFL Draft Prospect series breaks down draft-eligible players, highlighting their college production as well as their NFL potential. Daily fantasy players should know about NFL rookies before they’ve played a down of professional football because they are among the most misvalued assets in all of DFS. People who know NFL rookies have a significant DFS edge. The draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, from April 26-28.
This piece is on Western Michigan running back Jarvion Franklin.
For more on all the other backs in the class, see our 2018 NFL draft running back rankings.
Updated as of Mar. 4.
Senior | 5’11″ and 239 Pounds | Born December 9, 1995 (Age: 22) | Projection: Rounds 5-7
Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.63 sec | bench reps: 18 | 3-cone: 6.93 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.31 sec | vertical: 30 in | broad: 109 in
Franklin didn’t tear up the combine, but as an athlete he was fairly comparable — and perhaps more athletic than — other big-bodied NFL runners in Jordan Howard, Carlos Hyde, and Jeremy Hill. He was especially impressive in his agility drills, as he had the fifth-fastest 3-cone time at the position. Despite being one of the most productive college runners of the past four seasons and the owner of one of the greatest freshman rushing campaigns of all time, he wasn’t invited to the East-West Shrine Game or the Senior Bowl. Even so, Franklin has potential as an early-down between-the-tackles grinder with surprising ability as a receiver.
A three-star recruit out of high school, Franklin got little interest from Power Five programs, but in his first season at WMU he played like a star, rushing for 1,551 yards and 24 touchdowns while adding 14 receptions for 163 yards and a score. For his efforts, Franklin was named a Freshman All-American, and he became the first player ever to win both Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year for the Mid-American Conference. As a sophomore he had only 919 yards and five touchdowns as he found himself in a committee, but he rebounded as a junior with 1,641 yards and 14 touchdowns, catching 25 passes on the year, and he followed up that campaign with a solid 1,263-yard, 12-touchdown senior season. Over his 52-game career, Franklin amazingly averaged 106.5 yards and 1.08 touchdowns from scrimmage per outing.
A mid-major prospect, Franklin has little hype, but in a best-case scenario he might function as a smaller and less athletic Michael Turner, who was a fifth-round pick out of the MAC in 2004.
Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.
Photo Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports