NFL Draft Projection: 2nd or 3rd Round
Draft Sharks Model Score: 7.99
Analytics Score: 0.63
Film Score: 0.55
Production Score: 0.64
Charbonnet’s size, skill, and likely role make him an early-to-mid Round 2 rookie pick.
With the right landing spot and a clear path to a 1A role in a committee, he'll be a solid contributor right away. He could reach low-end RB2 or mid-RB3 range right away.
Charbonnet looks like a Day 2 NFL Draft pick (rounds 2-3). And he sports James Conner upside (without the injury history).
Charbonnet is a strong thumper between the tackles who can pick up receptions here and there.
This is the kind of athlete that can play in the league for a long while if they hold up physically. So from that standpoint, Charbonnet is a reasonably safe investment.
Should he find himself in a cloudier situation, Year 1 Charbonnet might look a bit more like Tyler Allgeier’s rookie season with the Falcons in 2022.
But, all in all, that’s not a bad range of outcomes for a fantasy RB.
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Zach Charbonnet's values:
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Arm length: 32"
Hand size: 9 7/8"
40-yard dash: 4.53 seconds
10-yard split: 1.54 seconds
Bench press: 18 reps
Broad jump: 10.16'
3-cone drill: n/a
20-yard shuttle: n/a
Percentiles vs. Combine running backs since 1999, per MockDraftable.
A four-star recruit out of nationally acclaimed program Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, Calif., Charbonnet received several scholarship offers. Despite widespread interest, there’s only one school he chose to visit (and ultimately attend): Michigan.
Charbonnet’s Ann Arbor career didn’t get off to the hottest starts. A knee procedure cost him spring practice as a freshman. And a near-50-50 backfield split with teammate Hassan Haskins didn’t leave much room for Charbonnet to stand out.
A 149-726-11 rushing line as a freshman is strong, though Haskins beat him in yards per carry and yards per catch.
The next year proved much worse. COVID shortened the season to six games. And Blake Corum arrived to further crowd the backfield.
Entering the transfer portal and going west to UCLA allowed Charbonnet to stand out. He immediately showcased his capabilities as a workhorse.
Charbonnet was finally able to flash as a receiver. He earned All-PAC 12 second-team honors after posting 1,334 scrimmage yards and 11 total TDs.
Rather than declare early for the draft, though, Charbonnet returned for his senior season.
As risky as returning to school was at the time, nothing about Charbonnet’s statistical output in 2022 suggests he made the wrong choice.
His target total nearly doubled, and the jump from 1,334 total yards to 1,680 total yards showed that this guy can get the job done as a three-down player.
Games watched: Indiana 2019. LSU 2021, Pitt 2021, Utah 2021, Colorado 2022, Stanford 2022, USC 2022
Charbonnet doesn’t possess a singular “elite” trait. But he’s plenty fast for his size and shows good vision as an interior runner. He isn’t “elusive,” per se, but can make people miss with compact moves, excellent use of his physical stature, and a quick burst.
Maybe that's just a kind, yet backhanded way of saying that Charbonnet isn't agile but he still looks good out there.
It helps that he has a strong center of gravity, too. Charbonnet isn't the easiest back to bring down due to the power in his lower half.
As a receiver, he’ll be relegated to mostly catching balls in the flat or on screen plays. He performed fairly well in receiving drills at the NFL Combine, but his limited route tree to date leaves plenty to prove.
Let's call Charbonnet a "capable" receiver for now.
He displays some willingness and skill in engaging defenders as a pass-blocker. The strength of his pass-blocking and short-area receiving ability on top of his size and interior rushing ability might give him three-down opportunity in the NFL.
Charbonnet is likeliest to be an early-down/1A back in a committee. But the potential to be more separates him from other RBs in this class.
On the negative side, he runs with a slightly upright form and doesn’t make the greatest lateral reads. This could limit his fit with certain offensive schemes.
What Charbonnet lacks in high-end agility and lateral quickness he'll make up for by being a larger guy with just enough long speed to break off a big run. At his best, he can pull off plays like this:
Charbonnet ticks the core boxes of what a reliable NFL RB should be.
There are RBs in this class that will have more flash and carry more upside in fantasy. But with Charbonnet, you know exactly what you’re getting.
Charbonnet is like a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon tallboys (or whatever your cheap beer of choice is). He ain't fancy. But he pounds easily, and he’ll get the job done.
Take a look at where Zach Charbonnet sits in our dynasty rankings.
Check out our other RB prospect profiles: