NFL Week 9 Practice Squad Power Rankings 2022: Let’s find some underrated running backs in the backfield rotation

A very unique time of year is here.

It’s when everyone is looking to add capable backs to their fantasy roster, previously unknown, seemingly made carries who have moved into complementary roles and will ultimately be the points to get the owners into the playoffs.

You spent way too much time cleaning up the running back class on your league waiver wire on Monday, didn’t you? I sure did.

Do not be shy. Be proud. You are a prudent fantasy owner. Running back has gotten so heavy and the position itself is a battle of attrition every season. By November, NFL teams are essentially doing what you do — looking, hoping, praying for anyone who can reasonably pick up the rock and catch a pass or two out of the backfield in the second half of the regular season.

In honor of “Scramble To Find A Running Back” or “STFARB” time, I’ve added a plethora of running backs who started the season as, like, RB4s at best on their respective teams and are now lining up to simultaneously help their clubs in ground and fantasy fate gives you a key win as the fantasy postseason approaches.

The PSPR Call-Up Tally (The CUT) is at 17 call-ups after eight weeks of regular season action. We’ve eclipsed two a week on average. LET’S GO. But, you all know me by now, I have never compromised. We need more. Here is a GINORMOUS Practice Squad Elevation Saturday. Remember don’t be shy to hit me up on Twitter @ChrisTrapasso to notify me of any PSPR members receiving the glorious phone call.

Expanded 16-man practice squads are the only good thing to come out of the pandemic, and they’re here to stay in the NFL. Because of this, I run the Practice Squad Power Rankings alongside the league. I write about 16 people every Friday, 10 officially ranked and six honors.

But I will always stay true to the origins of the PSPR, which was to bring out young players. This means I won’t have any “veterans” this season. Drafting someone like Nickell Robey-Coleman — currently on the Raiders’ practice squad — would not embody the fundamental intent of the PSPR. So, for the sake of the respectability of the Practice Squad Power Rankings, I will only include coaches who are rookies, second basemen, third basemen, or fourth-year pros. Players in the draft from 2019 onwards. This is.

Here’s a look at the Practice Squad Power Rankings blossoming this season, emerging as a legitimate superstar, earning a huge payday and beginning to cement his legacy in the hallowed halls of the internet soccer media industry.

Rivers played so long at Fresno State, he felt like he was in the backfield with Derek Carr. It was not. But it felt that way. During his long career with the Bulldogs, Rivers ran the ball 680 times at a clip of 5.0 yards per carry. Nothing he does is impressive. But there’s no clear weakness in his game, and he’s a very methodical, vision-driven runner, perfect for Sean McVay’s zone-blocking scheme.

The lions, man. They can’t stop anyone, anywhere from doing anything. They are dead last in pass and run defense DVOA at Football Outsiders and have two picks on the season, which is tied for the second-lowest percentage in football. Breeze was a playmaker at Oregon, which led to him being taken in the sixth round by the Titans. He’s not bad at sports either. He ran 4.55 with a 38.5-inch vertical at his pro day in 2021. The Lions got into “no idea is a bad idea” territory defensively.

Fields played five seasons at Texas Tech and had a productive career at a program not exactly known for its defensive prowess — 41 pass breakups. And Washington’s secondary problem, among other fairly seismic problems with the franchise, is Swiss cheese. He’s 28th in defensive DVOA. Fields has 4.48 speed and a nose for the football. Put him on the field, Ron Rivera. Especially after the William Jackson trade.

Hankins did not ceiling test at the Iowa Pro Day. Far from it. But that’s classic Hawkeye sidekick. Super instinctive, well coached in college, and despite his lack of athleticism, always around football. In his last three seasons at Iowa — six interceptions and 21 pass breakups. The Falcons are cornered right now. Time to give Hankins a chance.

I enjoyed watching the Saquon Barkley Comeback Tour. Just like you have. But the Giants are extremely dependent on Barkley on the ground. Daniel Jones is second on the team with 363 yards. Matt Bryda is third in rushing yards with 73 total yards. And I don’t want to see Barkley wear down — though his legs should be fresh — as the season goes on. Corbin was a lively, decently explosive rusher at Florida State. Let’s put him in the Giants backfield rotation.

Washington can be the Ravens’ multi-dimensional weapon in the secondary, and Baltimore’s scheme asks a lot of its defensive backs. Cover the slot one play, range deep down the field the next. He can do it. Baltimore gave Washington its shot in Week 6, and it looked like it owned it, with an assisted tackle and no big plays allowed in coverage. Do it again, Ravens.

Late addition here with Graham. He returned to the Browns’ practice squad. Cleveland should call him up. Right now. The Browns are 16th in defensive DVOA and have two interceptions in five games. Graham is a former PSPR cover who had the best debut performance by a PSPR alum when he defended three passes in late December against the Vikings.

Thompkins had five catches for 53 yards — including two contested wins! — during the 2022 preseason. He’s also a Brady guy, as he was a 0-star recruit when he joined the Utah State program in 2018. Brady loves the underdog, and that’s exactly what Thompkins is. Finally, Tampa Bay could use more juice at receiver, especially given how pedestrian the offense has been lately. He has 4.44 speed, had a 38.5-inch vertical and a 132-inch broad jump at his pro day.

The Colts explosively traded everything behind Nyheim Hines to the Bills at the trade deadline buzzer. They got Zach Moss in return. He’s a bullpen hitter with low center of gravity power and never lived up to the hype after his illustrious college career. Even if he just needed a change of scenery, Indianapolis no longer has an explosive weapon at running back in Jonathan Taylor. And that’s where Price could come in! The 6-1, 210-pounder from Florida International — shout out to TY Hilton! — Ran 4.38 at the combine and averaged 6.0 yards per carry on 369 attempts in college.

1. Verone McKinley, S, Dolphins

The Dolphins have had to rely on McKinley lately, but he’s still on the practice squad today. The acquisition of Bradley Chubb should have a ripple effect in the secondary, however Miami’s defensive backfield is still a major work in progress, currently ranked 29th in pass defense DVOA.

McKinley’s film at Oregon wasn’t as good as his torrid production — 11 interceptions and 10 pass breakups over his last three seasons for the Ducks — but he clearly has the ability to find the football down the field. He should be a mainstay on the Miami defense.

Honorable mention

Nazeeh Johnson, DB, Chiefs

Johnson was a stat sheet filler at Marshall with 302 tackles, seven picks and 19 pass breakups over five seasons. Can repair nickel corner point. Free insurance. Strong security. He tackles well and plays with authority on every snap.

Jason PoeOG, 49 years old

We have Mercer on the PSPR board! Poe, a Mercer alum, was a wrecking ball in college and tested as a high-caliber athlete at the Georgia Pro Day. Yes, the Bulldogs gave him a chance to showcase his skills and he absolutely impressed. Poe feels like an athletic brawler of a guard Kyle Shanahan will eventually make the most of in San Francisco.

Jaret Patterson, RB, Commanders

The Commanders are averaging 4.0 yards per carry through six contests. No idea is a bad idea when it comes to how to fix the running game. Now, of course, the running back himself can’t single-handedly fix an NFL team’s rushing attack. But it wouldn’t hurt to incorporate the diminutive, highly versatile Patterson into this offense, though the inspired return of Brian Robinson Jr. in the lineup definitely helped boost the game.

Curtis Brooks, DT, Colts

Brooks was a latecomer to Cincinnati, but he boasts the most dynamic technique of the three pure passers in the class of 2022. I mean it. In just 304 pass rushes, Brooks notched 43 pressures, thanks to a surprising combination of first-step speed, leverage and strength at the point of attack.

Easop Winston, WR, Seahawks

Winston was a tight end for Seattle at Washington State, where he caught 137 passes for 1,624 yards and 19 touchdowns in two seasons for the Cougars. His specialty is sudden routing on tricky, bottom routes. He would be a fun addition to that fun Seattle offense.

Brad Hawkins, S, Patriots

Hawkins steadily improved as his role increased at Michigan and finished with 63 tackles, three tackles for a loss, four pass breakups, two forced fumbles in his senior season in Ann Arbor. The Patriots are dealing with an injury to Kyle Dugger. The time to call Hawkins is now.

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