Kenneth Dixon to Baltimore: Is He a Buy-Low Fantasy Football Candidate?
Pop quiz time.
Which NCAA player holds the all-time record for most touchdowns in a collegiate career?
No, it's not Kenneth Dixon. It's Navy's Keenan Reynolds! But Dixon isn't far behind as the second all-time touchdown leader in FBS history -- and the Baltimore Ravens drafted both of them.
Louisiana Tech's workhorse running back over the past four years, Kenneth Dixon, was selected by the Baltimore Ravens with the 134th overall draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
After putting up 5,452 offensive yards with 87 total touchdowns, what can we expect from Dixon in the NFL?
Kenneth Dixon the Prospect
Coming in at 5'10", 215 pounds, Dixon was an absolute animal, routinely punishing opposing defenses over the course of his career.
Beyond just an 18-year-old breakout season, Dixon had quite the career at Louisiana Tech.
|Year||Ru Att||Ru Yds||Ru TDs||Rec||Rec Yds||Rec TDs|
Dixon saw both heavy volume and heavy touchdown totals, displaying a nose for the end zone. A rare four-year starter, Dixon will enter the 2016 NFL season at just 22 years old.
Production aside, how did Dixon fare during the Combine (spider graph courtesy MockDraftable.com)?
At first glance, Dixon looks like a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type of player. He had solid scores in both the vertical and broad jump, exemplifying his burst that was visible when looking at his game film.
Falling in the above-average to mediocre range in most of his other traits, Dixon may have some initial difficulty adjusting to the physical level that NFL players possess. That said, Dixon's shown he's more than capable of competing at the next level with his on-field production.
As a runner, Dixon does a nice job reading and setting up defenders downfield as he's got a knack for manipulating defenders out of position to help gain additional yards. This elusiveness helped Dixon force the same amount of missed tackles as Ezekiel Elliott on 94 fewer carries according to ProFootballFocus. Dixon displays a decent job fighting through first contact on runs, showing good toughness. He consistently churns his legs trying to gain the most out of every run fighting for additional yards.
One of Dixon's best facets of his game is his receiving skills. Possessing excellent hands, Dixon has a knack for leaking out of the backfield as either a checkdown option or on designed pass plays to keep the chains moving. Dixon has nice body control when extending for the ball and excellent awareness where the sideline is on wheel or flat routes. A creative player after the catch, he should be able to continue to pile up additional yards after the catch at the next level with his vision in the open field.
Like the large majority of incoming rookie running backs, Dixon's pass protection skills will need to be refined when advancing to the next level of competition. He's an active pass blocker, willing to get involved in blitz pickups without hesitation. His technique leaves a little to be desired, but with good coaching, that should be an easily refined attribute.
Kenneth Dixon the Raven
After an interesting draft journey for Dixon, the Ravens selected him with their fifth selection in the fourth round. Dixon has an opportunity to step in his rookie season and have an immediate impact in Marc Trestman's offense.
Amid a crowded -- albeit unspectacular -- depth chart, Dixon should have little trouble working his way to the top.
Justin Forsett's 29-year-old breakout season aside, he has yet to establish any kind of consistency over his eight-year career with just one top-12 fantasy season.
Last year's fourth-round pick Javorius Allen was also a bit of a disappointment when given his opportunities. After Forsett went down with an injury, Allen saw double-digit touches in six of the last seven games.
However, among the 44 running backs with at least 100 carries, Allen finished with the third-worst Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per carry, leaving much to be desired.
Dixon gets the benefit of entering one of the most pass-happy offenses reliant on their running back. Marc Trestman's offenses have featured a running back catching 69 or more passes seven different times.
Since his return to offensive coordinator in 2013, Trestman's running backs have seen 21.83% of their respective offenses' targets. Only 19 wide receivers saw that large of a market share in 2015.
Catching 63 passes and 13 receiving touchdowns his final two collegiate seasons, Dixon could present a nice fantasy floor when given an opportunity in Baltimore.
While his draft capital has to go into consideration for his long-term outlook, Dixon could very easily carve out a role as a change-of-pace back while being just an injury away from seeing significant snaps as a rookie.