The Washington Commanders selected Rodriguez with the 193rd pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. They have a deep room with Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson, but Rodriguez is a versatile running back.
Despite the game’s evolution, there is still a spot for big, bruising running backs in the NFL. That’s good news for Kentucky’s Chris Rodriquez Jr., who could find a home at the next level bullying his way through the middle of the field to keep the chains moving.
Rodriguez started his career with the Wildcats as a freshman in 2018, earning a consistent role a year later, when he scored six times and posted 533 yards on 71 carries. His most productive season came in 2021, as a senior, when he carried the rock 224 times in 13 games for 1,377 yards and nine touchdowns. Last year, as a fifth-year senior, 904 rushing yards and six touchdowns in nine games.
Chris Rodriguez Jr.: Scouting Report
At 6’, 217 pounds, Rodriguez is a running back capable of grinding through defenses with a thick frame and punishing would-be tacklers. Don’t even try to arm tackle him! He’s capable of picking up second-level yards just by being so difficult to tackle.
Rodriguez has the vision to find his holes and the patience to let the blockers open the way for him. He’s not particularly fast or explosive, but he’s capable of getting an edge against a linebacker with his feet when he needs to. Don’t expect a lot of chunk plays, but he can keep the offense moving down the field.
After six fumbles in 2021, he had just one last season. A running back whose game is predicated on his grinding, physical style, he’ll need to show that he can hang onto the rock as he pounds his way through a crowded middle.
Though he did manage to catch 18 passes over the last two seasons, nobody’s going to lean on him as a receiving threat out of the backfield, but it is nice to know that he can catch the ball when a quarterback gets in trouble.
Mock Draft landing spots
Fantasy football implications
Rodriguez might have a tough time seeing much action in his first year, depending on where he lands. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him hanging onto a third or fourth roster spot out of camp, getting some playing time as the guys ahead of him deal with injuries.
In the most optimistic scenario, he could make an impact right away with some work on first and second downs, contributing to fantasy football rosters as a potential scorer in the red zone and short-yardage situations, maybe even the classic touchdown vulture.
He’d be playing behind either Josh Jacobs or Christian McCaffrey in these mocks, two high-value stars at back, which make it hard to imagine that he will get too many touches as a rookie.