Even if the Rams get compensatory draft picks, there is going to be a very large gap between the early 3rd round pick (slot 69) and the next Rams selection. For discussion, let's say the Rams get a compensatory 4th at slot 130. That means a difference of 61 slots, nearly 2 full rounds. This gap could make it tricky to draft a prospect like Georgia RB, Kenny McIntosh. If you average his current ranking from 6 major draft boards, it comes out to slot 117, a middle 4th round pick. If he fell in that area of the actual draft, it would be way too early to reach for him at 69, but he wouldn't fall far enough to make it to the compensatory 4th draft slot.
My NFL comp for McIntosh is Antonio Gibson, who was a 3rd round pick in 2020 by the Commanders. Gibson is considered to be one of the best pass receiving RBs in the NFL. The primary reason many draft experts like McIntosh as a prospect is due to his pass catching ability. Is McIntosh an underrated prospect who is worth taking in the 3rd round, or is he just an average day 3 RB who belongs in the later rounds?
Was the Price Right?
The Niners lost to the Eagles in the NFC title game. The 3rd round rookie RB for the Niners, Ty Davis Price, was inactive for the contest. He's been inactive for many of their games this season. Davis Price is at the very bottom of their depth chart. The Niners signed veteran Tevin Coleman to their PS back in September and during the year he's bounced back and forth between the PS and the regular roster. Another RB who has kept TDP glued to the bench is an UDFA rookie, Jordan Mason. A key reason that Mason has been playing while TDP has been inactive is Mason is the better special teams player.
Jahmyr Gibbs played for Alabama in 2022, but in 2021 he was playing for Georgia Tech. Jordan Mason was the backup RB behind Gibbs on that team and only had 439 rushing yards that season. For the Niners this year, Mason has 258 rushing yards at 6.0 yards per carry. TDP only averaged 2.9 yards per carry this season. Trey Sermon only had 167 rushing yards last year for the Niners. After drafting RBs in the 3rd round in each of the last two drafts, the Niners have almost nothing to show for those picks to this point. Sermon was waived after only one year. Considering the draft picks the Niners used to acquire Christian McCaffrey, it is fair to wonder if the Niners would have been better off using those earlier 3rd round picks at other positions instead of targeting RBs.
Of course, reaching for the wrong player at a different position can also backfire. In multiple April 2020 mock drafts, experts had the Rams taking offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji in the 3rd round, pick 84 overall. Chad Reuter even had a mock draft where the Rams took Adeniji in the 2nd round at slot 52, where Cam Akers was the actual selection. Adeniji was the very first pick in the 6th round of the actual 2020 draft. In the AFC title game, Chris Jones beats Adeniji at RT to make a critical sack on Joe Burrow late in the 4th quarter. In the first 3 seasons of his career, Adeniji has had PFF season grades of 51.6, 48.3 (when he had a career high 9 starts) and 54.1. Mediocre production that is consistent with being a Day 3 pick who is a versatile backup, but not a reliable starter.
Regardless of what position the Rams target in the 3rd round in 2023, it is never the right time to draft the wrong player.
Name: Kenny McIntosh. Turns 23 years old in March.
School: Georgia. Studied communications.
Size: Listed 6'1'' tall, 210 pounds. Per NFLDB 8 5/8'' hands, 30 1/8'' arms, 76'' wing, 4.52 sec (40 time). SI has him at 5'11'' tall, 207 pounds, 75 1/2'' wing, 4.50 sec (40 time)
4 star recruit. From Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Has 2 older brothers who played college football, including RJ McIntosh, who was a 5th round pick by the NYG out of Miami, FL. Was a backup to both Zamir White and James Cook in 2020 and 2021. Kickoff return experience in 2020 and 2021.
2019: 25-174-2 rushing. 1-3 receiving
2020: 47-251-1 rushing, 10-111 receiving
2021: 58-328-3 rushing (5.7 ave), 22-242-2 receiving, 3 fumbles
2022: 150-829-10 rushing (5.6 ave), 43-504-2 receiving, 2 fumbles
14 career kick returns (26.8 ave), 5 fumbles, one every 71 touches, which is a poor rate.
After an NFL draft party in April of 2022, he was the driver in a car with former teammate, George Pickens, when he was in an car accident at 4 AM, causing an injury to a person in another vehicle. He was arrested for reckless driving and not wearing a seat belt, said to have been going 60 in a 40 MPH zone. He got probation and paid a small fine.
He sprained his knee on a kickoff return in 2020 and missed 2 games. Dislocated his right elbow during 2021 spring practices. Had a bruised thigh muscle in game in September of 2022.
ESPN 142nd overall (late 4th to 5th rd)
CBSSports not ranked
PFF not ranked top 100
Drafttek 156th (5th rd)
Shane Hallam 105th (4th rd)
Brian Bosarge 104th (4th rd)
PFN 6th RB, 66th overall (3rd rd)
SI 5th RB, (3rd rd)
NFLDB 12th RB, 126th (4th rd)
PFN (Ian Cummings): Explosive athlete. Swerves through lanes while sustaining acceleration. Creative instincts in tight quarters. High level receiving threat. lacks mass and leg drive. Not elite vision, misses chances to bounce outside. Lacks elite contact balance. Sometimes runs tall. Can be tick late to identify lanes. Leggy on initial cuts. Fumbles when trying to create at second level. Day 2 draft grade.
NFLDB: Effort and recognition as pass blocker. Patient, runs with forward lean. Soft hands as receiver. Extremely dangerous in open field. Lacks 3rd gear to be home run threat. Inconsistent hands. Offers little in pass protection.
SI (in July): One cut runner. Quick, agile cuts in small spaces. Gets tough yards. Decisive. A 3 down RB. Natural hands, superior route runner. Vicious blocker. Limited experience as lead RB. Some off-field concerns. 2nd round grade.
In interviews, he's good natured and was a vocal leader on his team.
Displayed very good potential as a kickoff returner early in his college career. Wasn't used as much as a returner in 2020 after his knee injury. Size and speed as KR allowed him to shrug off tackle attempts.
Good concentration and hand eye coordination as receiver. Showed soft hands on one handed stab catch on high pass to the flat. Great one handed stab catch while spinning around to adjust to high pass.
Good effective catch radius. Able to adjust to passes that are low, high, out in front or behind him. Flexibility to turn his hips and look for the pass.
Head fakes and subtle moves at top of route are deceptive, keeping defender guessing as to whether he is running angle route, going deep on a wheel route, or breaking to the outside. Sticks foot in ground and creates separation on angle routes. Occasionally split out wide. Ran a slant route. Not limited to being a screen RB or out of the backfield receiver.
Smooth acceleration. Has horsepower when running forward in a straight line. Good forward burst.
Can stiff arm defenders or high step out of diving tackle attempts. Good pad level. When he gets up to speed, carries good forward momentum through the hole, making him difficult to tackle.
Fights to stay up and attempts to get extra yards after contact.
Decisive, even when his read isn't perfect. Not a dancer behind the LOS, eager to go forward and get downhill.
Has some subtle wiggle to make defenders miss. Able to hurdle defenders who are on the ground.
Shows ability to move the ball away from the defender as he gets through the hole.
Had 25 yard pass on trick play, HB pass with sufficient accuracy and spiral.
Only had 280 carries in college, about one season's worth. Hardly any wear on the tires.
Average instincts and vision between the tackles. Wastes good blocks by the OL. Chooses the wrong running lane. Will cut the wrong way, not reading the leverage of the block and going to the side of his blocker where the defender is located. Not a creative runner. Had chance to bounce the run to his left, plenty of space to link moves together, but instead he runs straight forward, directly into the safety. Too much of a north/south runner. My impression is that he has a habit of running to "space" instead of actually reading the blocks. In other words, if he sees an open area, he runs towards it and commits to that lane, even if that gap is between 2 defenders and he should realize that the gap is going to close if he runs there. Not just cuts to wrong side of blocker at the LOS, sometimes he does it at the 2nd level as well (e.g. not using a block by his WR properly). Has wasted body movements in hole, due to not have clear vision and anticipation of the proper lane.
Lacks feel for how to optimize his lead blockers. Instead of staying on the hip of his puller, he will angle away from the blocker, which allows the linebacker to simply run right by the offensive lineman and tackle the RB. He doesn't display an understanding of how to set up the LB, then run off of the block so that he can break into the next level.
Not an elusive runner. Limited lateral agility and explosiveness. Unable to consistently get away from early penetration into the backfield. His RT is beaten immediately, but RB has enough space where he could beat the defender by cutting outside, instead the RB cuts the wrong way and gets stuffed. Doesn't link moves together fluidly or effortlessly. Not able to reliably jump cut away from trouble.
Has a frenetic, undisciplined running style. Doesn't have good body control in the open field. Arms flail wildly about when he loses balance after hits or trying to escape tackles.
Only sometimes covers the ball up with 2 hands in congestion. Other times exposes the ball in just one hand and it can swing away from his body. When he tries to create at 2nd level, doesn't tuck the ball tightly or keep 2 hands on the ball. Ball not tightly tucked or covered up when he takes successive hits in open field. Ball appeared to be loose in his hand on tackle even when he didn't officially fumble. Very late switching ball to proper hand in open field, even when he has plenty of time, transfers ball just before contact from oncoming defender. One of his fumbles was a "soft" fumble, it appeared to get knocked out of his hand by a relatively innocuous looking hit that you wouldn't expect to cause a fumble.
Lacks extra gear in open field. Didn't have enough speed to win a race to the corner.
Not a short yardage RB. Average lower body strength and leg drive, was unable to pull out of grasp of defender pulling his jersey from behind. Limited average yards after contact on the whole, despite some plays where he fights for extra yardage. Not enough leg drive to push defender backwards when hit head on.
Some balance issues. Slipped coming out of break running angle route. Lost his balance, untouched, as he tried to turn upfield on a run.
Hands are not super sticky as a receiver, he sometimes tips the ball to himself, not snatching it out of the air. Wildly bobbled a catch.
Very rarely asked to pass block in their scheme and due to rotation and usage. A poor pass blocker. Level of effectiveness as a pass blocker more like a tiny RB. Gets knocked backwards and off balance as blocker. Overpowered by DT. Got blown up and leveled on a pass block.
Benefited from some good blocking by UGA's talented OLs over his career. On some plays, the OL creates a huge forward surge, driving the DL backwards, or they open up gigantic running lanes, making his read very easy and allowing him to use his speed to accelerate into open space.
Was used in a RB rotation in 2022. Only a backup in prior seasons. Never was a true "starting" RB at Georgia.
One of my biggest concerns with McIntosh is I don't felt that he got any better during his college career. He was essentially exactly the same player, with no visible improvement. He was making the same mistakes in 2022 that he was making back in 2020. This raised questions in my mind as to how much he studies his own game and whether he has enough inner drive and motivation to become a great player.
Draft Grade and Pro Comp
6th round grade. (Antonio Gibson (3rd round 2020, Washington Commanders, Memphis)
Gibson played primarily in the slot in college. At Memphis in 2019, he only had 33 rushing attempts and about twice as many receiving yards as he had rushing yards. He also was a good kick returner.
In his 2nd NFL season, Gibson had over 1,000 rushing yards. He also added 42 catches for 294 receiving yards. In 2022, he essentially was supplanted by Brian Robinson Jr. (a late 3rd round rookie) for the starting job and transitioned to a change of pace rotational role. He also became Washington's kickoff returner. Gibson only averaged 3.7 yards per carry in 2022, though he did have a respectable 353 receiving yards.
Head to head, Gibson probably is the better prospect, despite his limited college experience as a RB, because he weighed 228 pounds and ran 4.39 seconds in the 40. So, more weight and more explosive than McIntosh. While I liked Brian Robinson Jr. last year, I thought he was only a 4th round prospect and better suited to be a 2nd string RB. So, if BRJ is better than Gibson and Gibson is probably better than McIntosh, it is hard for me to justify grading McIntosh as high as the 3rd round. The 2022 depth chart for Washington had BRJ, Gibson, JD McKissic, Jonathan Williams and Jaret Patterson as the 5 RBs.
McKissic is a former UDFA who in 2020 had 80 catches for 589 yards, one of the top pass catching RBs in the NFL. Jonathan Williams was a 5th round pick out of Arkansas back in 2016. I feel that McIntosh is better than Williams, but it is unclear whether he'd beat out McKissic, so if we put him on Washington's team, he might have been either 3rd or 4th string in 2022.
If Kenny McIntosh had been the 4th string RB for Washington, would you trade a 3rd round pick with them in order to acquire him? If not, why would you use the same 3rd round pick to draft him out of college? This is an example of why I feel the NFL draft is overrated, there is a psychological illusion that makes a prospect more appealing, purely because they played in college instead of being on an NFL roster. Once you drive that new car off the lot, the depreciation is steep and immediate, suddenly that player doesn't look as shiny and attractive when it is sitting in your driveway.
I see McIntosh as being on a similar tier as Deuce Vaughn, the tiny Kansas State RB. Like McIntosh, Vaughn is a very good receiving threat and has potential as a returner. Vaughn has far better ball security than McIntosh. While McIntosh is a much bigger player, that difference doesn't show up in some areas that you'd expect, because Vaughn has better pass protection technique and McIntosh only has average run strength. Consequently, I don't see either RB as future NFL starters.
I think Devon Achane, the Texas A&M RB, is a better prospect that McIntosh. To recap some of the points from my profile on him, he's a very good kick returner, has great speed, uses his blocks well, and has good ball security. He's a bit rough around the edges as a receiver, but I feel he has developmental upside to get better in that department. I had Achane as a 4th round prospect, so I feel that McIntosh has to slot in somewhere behind him.
Some experts really like McIntosh and see him as an eventual NFL starter who can play on all 3 downs. Maybe they are right and he'll have a better pro career than former UGA and Rams RB, Sony Michel, who was a 1st round pick. Neither the Fins nor the Chargers wanted to keep Michel in 2022 and he only averaged 2.9 yards per carry for the Chargers. Currently a street free agent, Michel could sign with any team, including the Rams. Even when he was with the Chargers, Michel was often inactive on gameday.
The Sony Michel trade is the reason the Rams don't own their original 4th round selection in the 2023 draft. The Rams also sent the Patriots a late 6th round pick in 2022 as part of the Michel deal. If the Rams had taken a RB at that slot, one of the RBs they might have gotten was Isiah Pacheco, who was a late 7th round pick. The Rams made a short term decision to try to boost their Super Bowl run, but that move also has long term consequences that could hinder the team's ability to add to their RB room.
McIntosh might get pushed up the board in 2023, because this doesn't feel like a particularly strong RB draft. Last year, the 5th round RBs included Tyler Allgeier, Snoop Conner and Kyren Williams. Tyler Badie, one of the RBs we discussed on TST, was a 6th round pick by the Ravens. He didn't make their regular roster and was put on practice squad, but they lost him during the season to the Denver Broncos. So, in the end the Ravens got almost nothing out of that 6th round selection.
Tyler Allgeier became the starting RB for the Falcons as a rookie. He had over 1,000 rushing yards this year. He's not very valuable as a receiver, but he's a much more instinctive runner than McIntosh. The relative success of a player like Allgeier is a reason I don't have McIntosh graded higher and why I question whether it is even worth it to draft RBs like Trey Sermon and Ty Davis Price in the 3rd round. In Sermon's draft, the Eagles got Kenneth Gainwell in the 5th and the Niners got Elijah Mitchell in the 6th, both of those RBs outperforming Sermon thus far. Why pay that premium to get a RB on Day 2?
McIntosh was behind Zamir White on UGA's depth chart. White was drafted in the middle of the 4th round last year by the Raiders. I had a 5th round grade on White. As a rookie, White didn't get much playing time, buried on the Raiders depth chart. He had a total of 70 rushing yards. If White is better than McIntosh and White has yet to prove that he's even a 2nd string RB in the NFL, I don't understand what is so special about McIntosh that would make him worth a 3rd round pick. On the Raiders depth chart to open their 2022 season, White was tied with another player as the 4th string RB. If White hypothetically beat out McIntosh in the NFL, you could be using a 3rd round pick to acquire a 5th string RB, someone who could might get waived and put on PS.