- Tank Bigsby
- College: Auburn
- Height: 6’0″
- Weight: 210 lbs.
- Age: 21 (August 30, 2001)
- Hand Size: 9.5″
- Arms: 32″
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.56
- 10-Yard Split: 1.54
- Vertical Jump: 32.5″
- Broad Jump: 9’11”
- Bench Press: 21 reps
- Draft Projection: Third Round
As a true freshman at Auburn, Bigsby began producing almost immediately, racking up 834 rushing yards and becoming the lead back in just his second game ever. His workload was slightly below average, starting with a 37% rush share his first year, jumping to 51% his second year, then dropping to 37% again his final year. This is mainly due to Auburn having rushing quarterbacks, though his carries far exceeded that of any other running back on the roster each of his three years. Over his college career, he tallied 2,903 rushing yards and a respectable 602 receiving yards, proving he’s dependable on the ground and through the air.
While Bigsby had 62 receptions throughout college, he may have been underutilized as a receiver. He was frequently tasked with being the pressure relief receiving option. However, his quarterbacks at Auburn were all very mobile and often opted to use their legs rather than make dump-off passes. Despite this, he still hit a reception share of 18.9% during his final year. He also occasionally lined up on the outside, having varied success though that role was limited. Running backs who don’t get receiving work tend to be volatile in fantasy, so knowing he can contribute in this way is a good sign and raises his ceiling from two-down-back to three-down-back.
During his senior year, Bigsby significantly improved his run game. Not only did he look more explosive, but his ability to juke and make defenders miss also improved. These skills allow for big play gains and are necessary for a high fantasy ceiling. His late jump in development also indicates that he may still be maturing, and we may not have seen his ceiling yet.
Bigsby’s ability to read lanes is good; he’s not afraid to cut back or shift to the outside if an opening isn’t available but occasionally does so too early. When he does have a lane, his vertical burst allows him to make good progress even within limited space and is typically good for a five-plus yard gain.
Bigsby tends to lunge forward at the point of contact rather than push through. He’s had enormous success in the red zone due to this ability, and I would expect him to continue should he be given the opportunity in the NFL.
The downside to the Bigsby’s lunging and leaping is that it sacrifices potential breakaways for short-yard gains. He improved his decision-making during his senior year but will occasionally dive when there is an open field beyond the currently engaged defender. This could lead to some low-floor weeks when he’s unable to find the end zone.
Bigsby wasn’t asked to block often in college, but it wasn’t pretty when he did. While this isn’t uncommon for prospects, it’s still a concern for his potential to become a three-down back. Also, while his initial burst is good, his top-end speed may not hold up in the NFL. It’s good enough for big, chunk plays but not enough to break away from defenders.
Potential Landing Spots and Roles
Bigsby is unlikely to be a bell-cow back, at least immediately, so a realistic landing spot for him may be a team with an established running back that compliments his skillset. He would likely make an immediate impact on either the Eagles or the Buccaneers. An interesting landing spot could be the Bengals should Joe Mixon becomes a salary cap casualty. While Bigsby isn’t quite on par with Mixon’s running abilities, he has enough talent to take most of that workload and still has room to grow.
He also fits the mold for the running back that Seattle likes. While Kenneth Walker has shown considerable promise, their running back room has suffered several significant injuries over the last few years, so they may seek to improve their depth. If that’s the case, he will make for a top-end handcuff.
Bigsby’s expected draft capital has fluctuated between the third round and early fourth, according to NFLMockDraftDatabase. Given his incomplete profile, second-day draft capital would go a long way to help him. Historically, average fantasy production over the first three years drops significantly from round three running backs to round four running backs. On average, running backs with round-three capital produce 7.2 PPR points per game across their first three years, which falls into the flex starter range. Round four backs only average 4.9 PPR points per game, which falls outside the typical startable roster range.
His combine results were tepid for the most part but not unexpected. Bigsby has an elite 10-yard split of 1.54 seconds but clocked his 40-yard dash at 4.56 seconds, which is slightly above the average of all combined-tested RBs. This reinforces what we saw on film with his ability to provide short-yard gains but lacking top gear for breakaway plays.
Bigsby’s ADP, based on the Dynasty Nerds mock drafts (splits below), is currently a late first-round pick in single quarterback leagues and an early second in Superflex leagues. He’s likely being drafted at his ceiling unless he is taken earlier than expected. While Bigsby shows great promise, it’s more likely he will slip in the draft given the abundance of running backs, so don’t be shocked if you see his fantasy ADP dip in the coming weeks. Despite this, I would still feel comfortable taking him to his current ADP.
While Bigsby has a memorable name, solid production, and good workout metrics, he’s currently floating in a sea of running backs, making it difficult for him to stand out. As with all running backs, draft capital and situation will be the largest factors for his future, but based on his skill set, he does have a path toward fantasy relevancy and a ceiling higher than most of the running backs in this class.
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