Draft Day Decision: Which Washington RB Is The Better Selection, Derrius Guice or Adrian Peterson?

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What a difference a year makes, right? When we were drafting last summer Derrius Guice was receiving a good amount of buzz, before he tore his ACL in early August and was lost for the season.

It shouldn’t have been surprising to see Guice being selected in the first few rounds as he was an impressive looking second round pick by the Washington Redskins, and he appeared to be slated for a heavy workload. His knee obviously had other ideas, and three subsequent surgeries later (he had to deal with an infection) has still left his time table up in the air.

Depending on who you talk to, Jay Gruden (coach) or Adam Schefter (reporter), determines how ready Guice will or won’t be for Training Camp. Regardless of what is said I would expect to see Washington take things slow with Guice in what is essentially his rookie year.

As far as rookie running back classes go 2019 is on the weaker side, but we are seeing both Josh Jacobs and David Montgomery selected prior to Guice. Based on talent alone, and also his ADP last year, Guice is a bargain as the 29th running back with an ADP of 69 and a range between 40 and 100 through the first 126 drafts. That’s not to say Jacobs and Montgomery shouldn’t be selected higher, but for me it comes down to one thing; Guice’s health and progress once Training Camp opens.

If you are drafting prior to that point you don’t have that benefit, and the risk must be weighed. For context, some of the running backs being selected a round or two later (Rashaad Penny, Darrell Henderson, Miles Sanders) all come with their own sets of questions and youth (aka they are unproven).

As far as Washington’s backfield goes:

  • Bryce Love (drafted in the fourth round) appears to be a non-factor this season as he rehabs from his own ACL injury
  • Chris Thompson appears to be in good health
  • Adrian Peterson is back

Thompson has a very specific skill set, but he also has workload limitations and is just a complementary piece to Washington’s offense. After Guice went down last season Peterson stepped up and appeared in all 16 games rushing for 1,042 yards and scoring eight touchdowns.

This season Peterson, at age 34, has proclaimed that he is shooting for 2,000 yards. While he has done it before, that was a long time ago and it is not a bet I would be making for 2019. At the same time he is severely under priced at his current ADP 160.

If there were no questions about Guice’s health (meaning his ability to start Training Camp on time), I would be arguing that he is going about 20 picks later than he should be. If the health is there, what has changed from last season?

To be conservative maybe Guice will start slow, but one strong preseason game will also cause his ADP to immediately vault up. Until that point Peterson will continue to receive the majority of the work. Once Guice does return, there has been the insinuation that he is a complete back who will also be involved in the passing game.

It may be an unconventional handcuff, but based on the price, tying Peterson to Guice might be the way to go. After all, it will be a clear decision as to who to start, and that player will likely be touching the ball 20 times a game.

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