Even taking into account a lower level of competition in college, NFL draft followers had to pay attention to Terrance West after he rushed for 2,509 yards and 41 touchdowns last season at Towson. The Cleveland Browns traded up in the third round of May’s draft and used the 94th overall pick on him, and West could see immediate playing time as a rookie.
The Browns signed Ben Tate in free agency to be their No. 1 running back, but he has not been a picture of durability with 24 missed games in four seasons. West has been working with the first-team offense during the early part of minicamp, which is great news even this early in the offseason.
West compares favorably to Alfred Morris, who had a breakout 2012 rookie season for the Washington Redskins with Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator. Shanahan is now the Browns’ offensive coordinator, and he may continue his dad’s history of finding hidden gems at running back.
West had 802 carries in three seasons at Towson, which is a significant workload and could limit his ceiling at the next level. A low level of competition in college should be noted, along with a relative lack of production as a pass catcher (36 receptions).
Tate was not signed to sit on the sideline, and as long as he is in uniform on game days he will have a prominent role. A running back committee is definitely possible, which will frustrate fantasy owners even with the strong likelihood the Browns run the ball more this year.
West is looking like a worthy mid-to-late round pick in fantasy drafts right now, and his average draft position may continue to rise before Week 1. That creates the possibility he will not be a great value pick when drafts and auctions get going in earnest, so some caution will be required when looking to draft (or go an extra dollar on) West if the hype surrounding him continues.
Bye Week: Week 4
Projected Round: Eighth or Ninth Round
Auction Value: $5 (FantasySharks.com)
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter.