Sleeper: Tyler Badie
After Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker III there is a pretty big dropoff to the next tier of running backs in this year's draft. While I like Rachaad White, James Cook, and Tyler Allgier, a guy that I’m really high on a little further down the list, is Tyler Badie out of Missouri.
Badie (pronounced BAY-dee) is one of those sleeper players and could be a steal in dynasty rookie drafts. He was thrown into a prominent role right away, contributing from Day 1 for the Missouri Tigers, making the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2018. He continued to contribute the next couple years in a shared backfield with Chargers running back Larry Roundtree III, and then he really popped in 2021 when he took on a true featured-back role, ranking third in the FBS with 1,604 rushing yards (268 carries, 6.0 per, 14 TDs).
The SEC is no joke, and he ran up against some of the toughest defenses in the nation and still produced.
— Jesse Preston, @devyrookiewatch
Badie’s explosiveness was not limited to backfield carries as he also led the Tigers with 54 receptions (for 330 yards, 6.1 per) and 4 receiving touchdowns. Missouri head coach Eliah Drinkwitz is a solid offensive mind and play-caller and did a great job getting Badie the ball in space on screen plays, and he even lined him up as a receiver for Mizzou’s offense 61 times this past season. Badie’s 43.3 dominator rating trails only Hall and Walker, which isn’t surprising considering he led his team in rushing AND receptions. His huge season garnered him 2nd-team AP All-American and 1st-team All-SEC honors.
The SEC is no joke, and he ran up against some of the toughest defenses in the nation and still produced. Although Badie is a little shorter and not quite as fast, his balance and one-cut ability in the zone scheme reminds me a lot of 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell. They both played in a pistol/zone offensive scheme in college, which should serve him well at the next level, especially if he lands with a zone scheme team. PlayerProfiler has him comped to Giovani Bernard, and given his size and how he was used, I think that's also a good comp.
Tyler Badie vs Texas A&M
On film Badie shows speed to finish long runs (he ran a 4.45sec 40 at the combine), a willingness to lower the shoulder and a great feel for space and timing in the screen game. He needs to improve in pass protection, and continue to add weight to his short frame, but I see him as a versatile space player for an NFL team that could get some early looks as a 3rd down back or a kick returner (which he did 35 times in his college career). Badie is definitely a player to watch heading into the NFL draft, as we all know landing spot is key for rookie fantasy players, but with his upside as a slashing zone runner and as a receiver out of the backfield he should be worth a flyer in dynasty rookie drafts.
Jesse is a contributor at Fantasy Guides, specializing in rookie analysis. He's been an rabid NCAA football fan since the mid 90’s. He's a 2-time RMAC Champion and 3-year starter at wide receiver at Colorado Mesa University. After college he had a 3 year semi-pro/arena league career, playing in the CFC, UIF and APFL (where he made the CFC all-star team 3 years straight). He’s coached football, played fantasy football and taught graphic design since 2007. You can follow his NFL and NCAA analysis @devyrookiewatch on Instagram.