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 West Virginia running back Justin Crawford.
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 199 Pounds | Born February 19, 1995 (Age: 23) | Projection: Round 6-Free Agent
Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.64 sec | bench reps: 11 | 3-cone: DNP | 20-yard shuttle: DNP | vertical: 33.5 in | broad: 122 in
Crawford has enjoyed very little draft hype entering the combine, as he was invited to neither the East-West Shrine Game nor the Senior Bowl despite being a productive four-year starter and Power Five prospect. As a WVU back, Crawford is more comparable to Wendell Smallwood than to Charles Sims in size and style — he’s more of a shifty cutback savant than a one-cut straight-ahead runner — but like Sims he transferred to WVU after a productive career elsewhere. A three-star recruit in high school, Crawford went the junior college route and enrolled at Northwest Mississippi Community College, where he amassed 177.5 yards and 1.52 touchdowns from scrimmage per game across two seasons, leading his team to a national championship in his sophomore year as the junior college player of the year.
In his two years of major conference play Crawford continued to produce, averaging 1,175 yards per season for the Mountaineers. Although he was used little as a receiver at WVU (22 receptions) in junior college he showed great functionality in the passing game, catching 36 passes over 21 games for 566 yards, which is especially impressive considering that most JC backs aren’t relied on as receivers. In total, Crawford amassed an impressive 6,077 yards and 44 touchdowns in college. Based on his combine performance, Crawford isn’t as athletic as Sims and Smallwood were coming out of WVU, but he still has a chance to land a roster spot as a change-of-pace back.
Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports