2017 NFL Draft: Running Back Rankings
Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: January 12, 2017
- Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU Projected Round Top 10 Pick
- 2016 Season Recap The 6-1 230 lb Leonard Fournette became the first player to win the Corbett Award as the top player in the state of Louisiana in consecutive years since Shaquille O'Neal won the award in 1991 and the following year in 1992. Ezekiel Elliott was my top offensive prospect at running back in the 2016 NFL Draft. I feel the exact same way about LSU's Leonard Fournette.
- Leonard Fournette had 23 carries for 138 rushing yards. He also had 3 receptions for 38 receiving yards against Wisconsin. He failed to score on Wisconsin. Fournette stepped up in the second half with 105 of his rushing yards in the second half after being held to 33 rushing yards in the first half. Fournette limped off the field at the end of the game. Hopefully the injury isn't too severe.
- Fournette's injury against Wisconsin kept him out of the game against Jacksonville State. Fournette needs to recover soon, but he is still my top running back.
- Fournette played against Mississippi State. Fournette had 147 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns showed more ability as a pass catcher and blocker in pass protection in this game. Fournette is still the top running back in 2017.
- Fournette had 16 carries for 101 rushing yards. Auburn's stingy run defense kept Fournette out of the end zone after Fournette dominated against LSU in 2015.
- Fournette missed 6 games with injuries in 2016. He had 284 rushing yards against an Ole Miss run defense led by Marquis Haynes and D.J. Jones at defensive tackle. Fournette is still the top running back due to having a much weaker offensive line thanks to Jerald Hawkins and Vadal Alexander leaving, but he is barely holding on to the top spot because Fournette has excellent speed and vision. Some teams prefer Florida State's Dalvin Cook and Stanford's Christian McCaffrey over Fournette.
- Fournette can run to the inside or outside. I'm concerned that Fournette did not grow as a pass catcher. Some scouts have labeled him as injury prone as well. Fournette can thrive if he goes to a team with a good offensive line though.
- Leonard Fournette impressed with 1,034 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns as a true freshman after being the top High School Recruit in the Class of 2014. Fournette had 300 carries, 1,953 rushing yards, and 19 rushing touchdowns in 2015. Fournette only had 19 receptions, 253 receiving yards, and 1 receiving touchdown as a true sophomore. Fournette had a commanding lead on the 2015 Heisman Trophy until his two slip ups against Alabama and Arkansas where he had under 100 rushing yards in both loses.
- Fournette has the speed, agility, spinning, juking, stiff arm ability, power to truck defenders, ability to run to the outside on either sife, ability to run to the inside, and the ball carrier vision to be a Pro Bowl running back. The only thing Fournette needs to perfect is his pass catching. If Fournette can perfect his pass catching and improve his numbers from 2015 with a much weaker offensive line than you can make a case for him possibly going first overall. That's how good Fournette is on tape.
- Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State Projected Round 1st Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 5-11 213 lb Dalvin Cook isn't the best running back in this years draft. He may be a better pass catcher then Leonard Fournette and is someone to keep an eye on in 2016. Cook has a much better offensive line than Fournette in 2016 which needs to be taken into account as well.
- Dalvin Cook may have been limited to 91 rushing yards, but he showed why he is a better pass catcher than Leonard Fournette after his career week 1 game with 101 receiving yards against Ole Miss.
- Cook only had 11 carries, 83 rushing yards, and 2 rushing touchdowns on limited carries this week in week 2. Cook needs to have a better game when Florida State faces Louisvile.
- Louisville limited Dalvin Cook to 54 rushing yards and 1 reception for 8 receiving yards. Cook looks like a second round back after watching his first 3 games on tape in 2016. Cook has dominated as a pass catcher despite struggling running the ball early in the season which is the biggest reason why Cook has a second round grade at the moment.
- Dalvin Cook had 267 rushing yards on South Florida. Cook displayed excellent vision against South Florida and ran with a lot of intensity. Cook showed why he was a first round back.
- After Cook dominated against South Florida he was lights out the rest of the season getting 100 rushing yards in each game except against North Carolina State. Cook has excellent blocking, pass catching. He is thunder and lightning packed into one. Unlike Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey cook played in his bowl game and ran for 20 carries, 145 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown against Michigan. Cook also had 3 receptions for 62 receiving yards giving him 207 total yards against the Michigan Wolverines stingy defense. Fournette has done everything you can ask him to do to be a first round pick.
- Dalvin Cook had 170 carries, 1,008 rushing yards, and 8 rushing touchdowns s a true freshman next to Jameis Winston in 2014. He also split carries with Karlos Williams after the departure of Devonta Freeman. Cook also had 24 receptions for 203 receiving yards in 2014 with Winston throwing him the football.
- Everyone expected Dalvin Cook to regress in 2015 with a much weaker offensive line and without Jameis Winston. Cook actually did better in 2015 with 229 carries, 1,691 rushing yards, 19 rushing touchdowns in 2015. Cook also had 24 receptions, 244 receiving yards, and 1 receiving touchdowns in 2015.
- Dalvin Cook can do everything Leonard Fournette can do. The only difference is Cook proved himself with a weaker offense and he's a much better pass catcher than Fournette. It wouldn't shock me if Cook jumped Fournette as the top running back in 2016.
- Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford Projected Round 1st Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 6-1 201 lb Christian McCaffrey was the Heisman Runner up to Derrick Henry in 2015. Some may consider McCaffrey the early favorite to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy, but he has bigger issues to worry about like competing with Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook to be the top running back drafted in 2017.
- Christian McCaffrey had 22 carries, 126 rushing yards, and 2 rushing touchdowns against Kansas State. He also had 7 receptions for 40 receiving yards in a win against the Kansas State Wildcats.
- McCaffrey had 30 carries, 165 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 4 receptions, 73 receiving yards, and 238 total yards on the USC Trojans. McCaffrey has established himself as the top running back after Leonard Fournette after a strong game against USC.
- Christian McCaffrey had 26 carries and 138 rushing yards against UCLA. McCaffrey put together his third consecutive game with over 100 rushing yards on the ground.
- Christian McCaffrey got injured against Washington in a difficult road loss. McCaffrey played through the injury in a loss to Washington State. He missed the Notre Dame game due to this injury. Colorado gave him problems with Colorado nose tackle Josh Tupou giving Stanford's starting guards lots of problems on tape.
- McCaffrey rebounded after that. McCaffrey had 135 rushing yards in each of Stanford's final five games showcasing his vision, burst, and ability to attack the hole. McCaffrey did not play in his bowl game like Leonard Fournette. McCaffrey used that time to prepare for the NFL draft.
- Christian McCaffrey needs a huge NFL combine to remain a first round prospect. McCaffrey lost weight to get down to 200 lbs when one could argue he should add 5 to 10 lbs of muscle. Also some NFL teams have him at 6-0 instead of 6-1. I don't see that as a big deal, but some scouts of NFL teams may be rubbed the wrong way.
- McCaffrey's 40 time will also be a big deal. A 4.4 40 gets him drafted in the first round, a 4.5 40 could drop him to the second round. If McCaffrey runs a 4.6 40 he has a chance to drop to the third round.
- I like how Christian McCaffrey gives back to the community. He's an outstanding youg man and an extremely skilled football player. The bottom line is he could fall in the draft if he fails to showcase the strength and speed that NFL teams come to expect at the 2017 NFL Combine. McCaffrey is project to run a 4.49 so as long as he doesn't run a 4.5 40 time he should go in the first round.
- Christian McCaffrey took off in 2015. He had 337 carries, 2,019 rushing yards, and 8 rushing touchdowns in 2015. McCaffrey also had 45 receptions, 645 receiving yards, and 5 receiving touchdowns in 2015. McCaffrey had 2,664 total yards and 13 total touchdowns in 2015.
- In terms of intangibles, Christian McCaffrey does everything that both Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook do. I'd sayd McCaffrey is actually a slighty better blocker than both running backs in pass protection. The downside is his ball carrier vision is slightly worse than both Fournette and Cook.
- Christian McCaffrey could go anywhere from eleventh overall in 2017 to being a 2017 second round pick if he declares. McCaffrey needs to step up in 2016 and prove his breakout 2015 season at Stanford wasn't a fluke.
- Matt Dayes, RB, North Carolina State Projected Round 2nd Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 5-9 203 lb Matt Dayes had 249 carries, 1,860 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, 23 receptions, and 367 receiving yards in 2016.
- Matt Dayes has tremenous speed and ball carrier vision. Dayes is hands down the best blocker in the entire 2017 NFL Draft. North Carolina State's running back has tremendous pass protection and can give a quarterback more time in the pocket. Days also has the ability to catch passes out of the backfield.
- Dayes had 22 carries, 106 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown in an overtime loss to Clemson. Dayes had 103 rushing yards in a tough loss to Florida State. Dayes wowed me with his tape against North Carolina, Clemson, and Wake Forest in 2016.
- Like Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey, Dayes has the tools to be a three down back in the NFL. Dayes accepted an invite to the 2017 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Dayes will have a week to validate why he is the best senior running back in the 2017 NFL Draft in front of NFL Scouts. That's why Dayes is my fourth best running back at the moment.
- Matt Dayes started right away during his freshman season in 2013 and went through some rough times. Dayes showed his promise as a sophomore with 573 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 5 receiving touchdowns, and 13 total touchdowns. Dayes really showed he could multi task on the ground and in the air providing a pass catching target for quarterback Jacoby Brisset.
- Dayes had 865 rushing yards and 12 rushng touchdowns in 2015. Dayes showed rapid improvement as a blocker and really helped out as a goal line back in 2015.
- Dayes has all the tools to be a starting NFL running back. He needs to put it together during his senior season at North Carolina State. Being undersized in terms of height and having heavy feet could work against him if he does not break out in 2016.
- Brian Hill, RB, Wyoming Projected Round 2nd Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 6-1 219 lb Brian Hill dominated in 2016. Brian Hill had 349 carries, 1,860 rushing yards, 22 rushing touchdowns, 8 receptions, and 67 receiving yards in 2016.
- Brian Hill displayed superb speed and burst off the snap. Hill showcased the ball carrier vision that you expect in a starting running back. Hill knows how to attack holes and can run inside and outside on tape. Hill is an effective blocker and can get open in the backfield. Part of why Brian Hill has 0 receiving touchdowns in his career is due to poor progressions by Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen. Hill dominated agains weaker opponents, but struggled against Nebraska's run defense.
- Brian Hill has the talent and tape to be a second round pick. He needs a strong NFL Combine and a fantastic Pro Day where he stands out as a pass catcher on tape to validate his second round stock.
- Brian Hill had 1,631 rushing yards in 2015. Hill carried a pretty stagnant Wyoming offense that relied on Hill and junior wide receiver Tanner Gentry. Wyoming's offense should blossom if quarterback Josh Allen can break out in 2016. Hill could be an under the radar prospect if he builds on his success in 2016.
- D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texas Projected Round 2nd Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 6-1 249 lb D'Onta Foreman dominated in 2016. D'Onta Foreman 323 carries, 2,028 rushing yards, 15 rushing touchdowns, 8 receptions, and 67 receiving yards in 2016.
- Foreman has the speed, ball carrier vision, and blocking on tape to be an NFL running back. Foreman looks like he's 225 lbs, but he's bigger than his play indicates. It will be interesting to see if that weight is mucle he gained through weightlifting or additional pounds he gained at Texas.
- Foreman missed one game due to injuries against UTEP in 2016. Foreman played in every other game though racking up a minimum of 100 rushing yards in each of those 11 starts. Foreman can grow even further if he goes to the right team.
- I'm going to give Foreman the benefit of the doubt for now until the 2017 NFL Combine even though I am concerned about his pass catching along with the possibility of him being overweight for a running back, but Foreman was so productive on tape in 2016 that he gets the benefit of the doubt for now. How Foreman performs at the 2017 NFL Combine will be what ultimately dictates his stock. Foreman will have a chance to show he can correct his pass catching issues at the Texas Pro Day later this year as well.
- Foreman has excellent speed and vision on tape. If Foreman can lose weight, run a good 40-time, and show the ability to pass catch at the 2017 NFL Combine he could easily rise into the first round category. For now Foreman is a second round prospect for the time being.
- I think the New England Patriots would be the best scheme fit for Foreman. Foreman has the same size as Blount and Blount is in a contract year.
- D'Onta Foreman ran with tremendous power and passion against an Oklahoma team in 2015. His size is an issue, but he reminds many of a young LeGarrette Blount.
- James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Projected Round 3rd Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 6-2 235 lb James Conner is finally healthy again. Conner was cleared to play football in 2016 after battling cancer and dealing with an injury off the field in 2015.
- Villanova kept Conner to under 100 rushing yards. The Wildcats could not keep Conner out of the end zone as Conner had a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown. Conner had 53 rushing yards on Villanova and 16 receiving yards on Villanova.
- James Conner ran for 117 rushing yards on Penn State. Conner has 2 receiving touchdowns in 2016 and has really improved as a pass catcher.
- Conner ran for 111 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in a road loss to Oklahoma State. Conner looks like he's reverted to his 2014 form when he had 1,700 rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns. I doubt he's that dominant again, but he should have over 1,000 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns by that time.
- Conner earned captain status by practicing with Pittsburgh while he had cancer. Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey are the only other captains in the 2017 NFL Draft at running back outside of Conner. Conner defeated cancer and has inspired former Pittsburgh Panthers running back Tony Dorsett. It's hard to say if Conner is a first round prospect at this point, but he does look like the top running back after Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey through 4 games in 2016.
- Conner got less carries after that in 2016. Teams like Georgia Tech, Miami FL, and Northwestern did an awesome job isolating Conner by limiting his ability to run the football every time he touched the ball.
- Conner rebounded with statement games against Clemson, Duke, and Syracuse. Conner showcased the ability to be an NFL starter.
- Durability is still a question with Conner after he left the game after being power bombed by Northwestern middle linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl after beginning the game with 8 carries for 32 rushing yards.
- Conner is one of those running backs that gets hot and cold from week to week in terms of having hot streaks and cold streaks. Conner has to put everything together consistently though if he wants to succeed in the NFL, but Conner has the tools to do that on tape.
- I think Conner does have the potential to be the steal of the 2017 NFL Draft. At the same time, Conner would benefit tremendously by starting his out as a rotational back and working his way to the top of the backfield on an NFL depth chart.
- James Conner showed promise with 799 rushing yards and 8 rushing touchdowns as a true freshman in 2013. Conner's breakout year came in 2014 when 1,765 rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns.
- Conner is a very good power back. He's not vert elusive and has trouble catching out of the back field. He makes up for this though with outstanding ball carrier vision.
- Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State Projected Round 3rd Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 5-9 180 lb Donnel Pumphrey is the next Aztec great to line up at running back. Marshall Faulk and Ronnie Hillman came from San Diego State and now Pumphrey is the next in line at San Diego State.
- Donnell Pumphrey had 98 rushing yards and 41 receiving yards in San Diego State's win. His performance was solid, but it wasn't a game that stood out on tape.
- Pumphrey broke Marshall Faulk's record against California. Pumphrey has 379 rushing yards and 4 rushing touchdowns in his first two games with San Diego State in 2016.
- Donnell Pumphrey had another spectacular game despite not matching his 281 rushing yards against California. In week 3, Pumphrey had 220 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns in a win over Northern Illinois. One of the biggest reasons San Diego State is 3-0 is because Pumphrey has 599 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns in his first three games in 2016.
- Pumphrey dominated all season. Only one team kept him to under 100 rushing yards by keeping him out of the end zone. That team was the Wyoming Cowboys who barely defeated San Diego State 34-33.
- Pumphrey finished 2016 with 349 carries, 2,133 rushing yards, 17 rushing touchdowns, 27 receptions, and 231 receiving yards during his senior season. Pumphrey passed Ron Dayne as the all time leader in FBS rushing yards. Pumphrey may end up being a successful NFL starter despite being undersized simply because he was so consistent on tape coming out of San Diego State's backfield.
- Pumphrey was the very first player to accept an invite to the 2017 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Coaches and scouts will check Pumphrey's intangibles which will be tested against top flight competition in Mobile, since San Diego State had a pretty weak schedule for the most part. Pumphrey displayed the running, burst, speed, elusiveness, catching out of the back field, vision, and blocking despite being only 5-9 180 lbs. Pumphrey may be the exception to undersized running backs in the NFL. NFL teams and scouts will want to confirm this in Mobile first though.
- Donnel Pumphrey made an immediate impression at San Diego State as a true freshman in 2013 with 125 carries, 752 rushing yards, and 8 rushing touchdowns. Pumphrey also had 22 receptions, 234 receiving yards, and 2 rushing touchdowns in 2013.
- Donnel Pumphrey got more carries at San Diego State as a true sophomore in 2014 with 276 carries, 1,867 rushing yards, and 20 rushing touchdowns. Pumphrey also had 23 receptions, 160 receiving yards, and 2 rushing touchdowns in 2014.
- Donnel Pumphrey didn't dominate like he did as a sophomore in 2014 during his junior season in 2015. He still had a productive season in 2015 with 309 carries, 1,653 rushing yards, and 17 rushing touchdowns. Pumphrey also had 28 receptions, 416 receiving yards, and 3 rushing touchdowns in 2015.
- Donnel Pumphrey has the speed and elusiveness that you look for in a running back. He can also catch out of the backfield. He's inconsistent with ball carrier vision and blocking on tape. He's not a power back, but he's very effective with his feet. He can catch, but struggles to stiff arm when stopping defenders from tackling him.
- Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson Projected Round 4th Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 6-1 215 lb Wayne Gallman has incredible size. With Zac Brooks now in the NFL, Gallman may do even better with more carries in 2016.
- Wayne Gallman had 30 carries, 123 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown against Auburn. Gallman also caught a few passes out of the backfield and played a vital role in helping Clemson win.
- Gallman struggled against Troy after dominating against Auburn. He followed his game against Troy up with only 40 rushing yards on South Carolina State. Gallman is moving back down to the fourth round.
- Wayne Gallman had his third rushing touchdown against Georgia Tech. Gallman hasn't had the best start, but has been effective in Clemson's first four games.
- Gallman got off to a rusty start. Despite not being consistent as a runner and lacking speed, Gallman makes up for his speed by attacking the holes and displaying the ball carrier vision that you look for in a running back. Gallman had 12 of his 17 rushing touchdowns from November to the end of the season. Gallman is also a tremendous blocker on tape.
- Wayne Gallman may not be the most explosive back on tape. Gallman is one of the more consistent backs though with back-to-back seasons of over 1,000 rushing yards on tape. Gallman has a chance to improve his speed and become a day 2 pick with a storng 2017 NFL Combine. For now Gallman is a fourth round prospect.
- Wayne Gallman had to split carries with Zac Brooks in 2014. That limited him to 161 carries, 769 rushing yards, and 4 rushing touchdowns as a true freshman. Gallman also showed he could be an effective pass catcher in 2014 with 24 receptions, 108 receiving yards, and 1 receiving touchdown.
- Gallman surpassed Brooks on Clemson's depth chart as the #1 running back in 2015. Gallman had 283 carries, 1,527 rushing yards, and 13 rushing touchdowns in 2015. Having Deshaun Watson start full-time allowed Gallman to average 5.4 yards per carry. Gallman also had 21 receptions, 213 receiving yards, and 1 receiving touchdown in 2015.
- Wayne Gallman has the speed, size, ability to run to the outside, run to the inside, and ability to catch out of the back field. He's not as elusive as Royce Freeman, but he can do a lot of what Leonard Fournette and Royce Freeman do to take pressure off of Deshaun Watson.
- Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida Projected Round 4th Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 6-1 210 lb Marlon Mack had 174 carries, 1,187 rushing yards, 15 rushing touchdowns, 28 receptions, and 227 receiving yards in 2016. Mack declared for the 2017 NFL Draft.
- Mack displayed the ball carrier vision, speed, blocking, and pass catching you look for from a three-down running back despite being limited to 12 carries, 42 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown against Florida State.
- Mack had 11 carries, 125 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown against Navy. He didn't display the same vision and ability to attack the lanes that he did against Florida State.
- Mack didn't get a lot of carries in 2016. Mack also has heavy feet. This will limit the workload he can handle int he NFL. Mack has three consecutive seasons of 1,000 rushing yards. He appears to have every single trait you want in a starting running back. Not getting enugh carries and having heavy feet are the two big flaws that may make him a rotational running back in the NFL rather than a starting running back.
- I'm sort of surprised Marlon Mack declared for the 2017 NFL Draft. Mack has a lot more potential than I realized after watching his tape.
- Marlon Mack had 202 carries carries, 1,041 rushing yards, and 9 rushing touchdowns, 21 receptions, and 160 receiving yards in 2014 as a true freshman. Mack had 210 carries carries, 1,381 rushing yards, and 8 rushing touchdowns, 16 receptions, 111 receiving yards, and his first career receiving touchdown in 2015 in 2014 as a true sophomore.
- Marlon Mack has the tools to develop into a future NFL starter. In order for him to reach his potential he needs to stay focused and end up on a team with an excellent running backs coach.
- Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State Projected Round 5th Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 5-9 212 lb Jeremy McNichols has been one of the more reliable running backs in the country. McNichols had 314 carries, 1,709 rushing yards, 23 rushing touchdowns, 37 receptions, 474 receiving yards, 4 receiving touchdowns, and 27 total touchdowns.
- McNichols improved on his 2015 season. McNichols had 20 rushing touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. It's hard to dislike what he has to offer asa rusher and pass catcher. At the same time, I didn't see a running back who impressed me with blocking or ball carrier vision, but he has enough talent to compliment a veteran running back right away in the NFL.
- He's far more durable than his predecessor Jay Ajayi, but I also think he lacks the ball carrier vision and blocking that Ajayi possessed. McNichols has very consistent speed and production on tape. His best games were against weak defenses. I feel like he was never tested against a quality defense.
- Lots of scouting outlets have a day 2 grade on McNichols. He seemed like he lacked the ball carrier vision, blocking, and football IQ to learn an NFL playbook.
- Jeremy McNichols took over for Jay Ajayi as the starting running back following the 2015 NFL Draft. McNichols had an awesome 2015 season with 1,337 rushing yards, 20 rushing touchdowns, 51 receptions, 461 receiving yards, 6 receiving touchdowns, and 26 total touchdowns.
- Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee Projected Round 5th Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 5-11 215 lb Alvin Kamara does not have a lot of experience. He has incredible speed though and took over for Jalen Hurd who was once considered a third round prospect. Kamara declared for the 2017 NFL Draft and with his confience rising he may be worth a late round pick.
- Alvin Kamara complimented Jalen Hurd in 2015. Kamara may get a bigger opportunity to help Hurd in 2016.
- Devine Redding, RB, Indiana Projected Round 5th Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 5-11 208 lb Devine Redding thrived at Indiana the last two seasons. Redding took over for Jordan Howard in 2016. Redding put together a solid first season with 253 carries, 1,122 rushing yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, 27 receptions, 146 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns, and 9 total touchdowns 2016.
- Redding has good speed and agility. He can accerlate through holes and attack the lanes. His ball carrier vision and blocking on tape wasn't nearly as good as Jordan Howard's was. He didn't stand out in Indiana's game against Ohio State. Howard dominated as a rookie despite transferring from UAB to Alabama.
- Devine Redding exceeded 1,000 rushing yards in 2015. He complimented Jordan Howard. I'm interested in seeing how he leads Indiana with Jason Spriggs and Jordan Howard now in the NFL.
- Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma Projected Round 5th Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 5-10 235 lb Samaje Perine is the perfect complimentary running back to quarterback Baker Mayfield. I'm not sure how Mayfield would do without Perine to be honest.
- Samaje Perine struggled against Houston. He had under 100 rushing yards for the second week in a row. Perine had his best game of the year with 60 rushing yards against Ohio State. Perine looks like a day 3 pick at this point with what he's shown on tape.
- Samaje Perine didn't do as well in 2016. He still got 1,000 rushing yards, but some of those numbers came in garbage time. Perine split carries with another Oklahoma back named Joe Mixon who some have ranked higher than Perine. Mixon punched a woman and there is a camera and TMZ stuff that proves this so Perine may get drafted while Mixon goes undrafted and that's why I have a sixth round grade on Perine even though I love the idea of making him a complimentary back with a late round pick.
- Samaje Perine started right away as a true freshman. Perine had 263 carries, 1,713 rushing yards, and 21 rushing touchdowns as a true freshman in 2014.
- Perine built on that in 2015 with Baker Mayfield becoming Oklahoma's starting quarterback in 2015. Perine had 226 carries, 1,349 rushing yards, and 16 rushing touchdowns in 2015.
- Perine is a great running back. He's an effective runner. He just needs to work on correcting his pass catching. That's all that is keeping Perine from becoming Oklahoma's best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson in a loaded running back class.
- Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo Projected Round 5th Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 5-11 231 lb Kareem Hunt enters Toledo's third season as the teams starting running back. Hunt needs a huge season if he wants to get an invite to the 2017 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
- Kareem Hunt had 78 rushing yards and 26 receiving yards in a 31-10 win over Arkansas State. Hunt has a chance to move up boards if he can play well against quality opponents this season.
- Kareem Hunt had 19 carries, 123 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown against Fresno State. Hunt is playing like a fourth round pick even though I have him graded as a fifth round prospect at the moment.
- Hunt dominated all season with 262 carries, 1,410 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, 41 receptions, 401 receiving yards, 4 receiving touchdowns, and 14 total touchdowns. He finally developed as a pass catcher and played well enough to earn an invite to the 2017 Senior Bowl. Hunt can move up a round or two with a good Senior Bowl week because he still has issues with ball carrier vision and the bottom line is he's not moving up unless he corrects that in Mobile. It only hurs him that Toledo left tackle Storm Norton won't be joining Hunt in Mobile along with the fact that this is a pretty bad offensive line class.
- Kareem Hunt started right away as a true freshman in 2013. Hunt had 137 carries, 866 rushing yards, and 6 rushing touchdowns in 2013. Hunt built on those numbers as a sophomore with 205 carries, 1,631 rushing yards, and 16 rushing touchdowns in 2014.
- Kareem Hunt declined in 2015. He only had 178 carries, 973 rushing yards, and 12 rushing touchdowns in 2015. Hunt declined from 2014 to 2015.
- Kareem Hunt can run tot the outside or inside on tape. He struggles to catch the ball and does not have the ball carrier vision that you look for in a starting running back.
- Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin Projected Round 7th Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 5-11 227 lb Corey Clement enters his second season as Wisconsin's starting running back after injuries limited him in 2015. Clement needs to stay healthy in 2016.
- Clement missed Wisconsin's game against Georgia State. You have to wonder how durable Clement is at this point.
- Clement put together a fantastic senior season. He was a complimentary back with great promise during his first two seasons. He got injured as a junior. He dealt with center Dan Voltz retiring from football and stepped up. I'm intrigued to see how he does in Mobile, but durability is a concern with Clement.
- Corey Clement was a #2 running back to Melvin Gordon during his first two seasons at Wisconsin. Clement only had 1 impressive game against Rutgers where he had 115 of his 221 rushing yards against Rutgers as well as 3 of his 5 rushing touchdowns against Rutgers. Clement has to show much more in 2016 if he wants to get drafted as durability is a huge issue with Clement.
- De'Angelo Henderson, RB, Coastal Carolina Projected Round 7th Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 5-8 205 lb De'Angelo Henderson is arguably the top running back in the FCS. Henderson is one FCS back that has the best chance of making the 2017 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
- De'Angelo Henderson had 28 carries, 158 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown. Henderson did awesome against Lamar. Henderson had over 100 rushing yards against Florida A&M and Coastal Carolina is 2-0 thanks to De'Angelo Henderson.
- Jacksonville State did a terrific job keeping Henderson to 48 rushing yards on 21 carries. Henderson managed to make an impact in the passing game showing he could catch out of the backfield.
- De'Angelo Henderson dominated in Coastal Carolina's win over Furman with 185 rushing yards. Henderson also caught his first receiving touchdown in their win against Furman.
- De'Angelo Henderson dominated with his third consecutive season with 16 rushing touchdowns. Henderson has had 52 rushing touchdowns the past three years and is averaging just over 17 rushing touchdowns. Henderson was the heart and soul of Coastal Carolina's offense, and I'm kind of upset that he didn't get a Senior Bowl invite. Now Henderson is in jeopardy of going undrafted if he does not get a combine invite.
- De'Angelo Henderson only started 4 games in 2013 as a freshman redshirt, but he averaged 7.3 yards per game that year. Henderson finally became Coastal Carolina's starting running back in 2014 during his sophomore redshirt season.
- De'Angelo Henderson had 234 carries, 1,534 rushing yards, and 20 rushing touchdowns in 2014. Henderson also had 33 receptions, 289 receiving yards, and 1 receiving touchdown in 2014. Henderson had 1 rushing touchdown in all 14 starts and had 100 rushing yards in 9 of his 14 games. He was 6/6 when receiving the ball on fourth down conversions in 2014.
- De'Angelo Henderson wasn't as dominant during his junior redshirt season in 2015. Henderson had 222 carries, 1,346 rushing yards, and 19 rushing touchdowns in 2015. Henderson also had 40 receptions, 403 receiving yards, and 3 receiving touchdowns in 2015.
- De'Angelo Henderson is a very complete running back on tape. He was one of my favorite running backs to watch on tape when evaluating the senior running backs and deserves to go in the first five rounds with a weak supporting cast where Henderson has to carry the offense.
- Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU Projected Round 7th Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 6-2 220 lb Jamaal Williams is a hard running back to evaluate. He missed 3 games with injuries, but got held in check against Utah and Mississippi State. Williams also had games where he had over 200 rushing yards against Toledo and Wyoming and by controlling the clock and helping BYU win time of possession battles he really dominated in that regard.
- I see Williams as a goal line back. If he corrects his weaknesses in Mobile, I'll move him ahead of D'Angelo Henderson and some of the other running backs on this list.
- Jamaal Williams was a guy who took pressure off quarterback Taysom Hill in 2015. Williams needs to help Hill out and become the leader of this BYU football team.
- Aaron Jones, RB, UTEP Projected Round 7th Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 5-10 215 lb 229 carries 1,773 rushing yards, 17 rushing touchdowns, 28 receptions, 233 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns, and 15 total touchdowns in 2016.
- Jones finally put it together in 2016. He has some durability and off the field concerns. I think this is a player that really could have put those concerns to rest by returning for their senior season at UTEP, but I also understand why he went pro now hoping to get some money since you got to strike when the iron is hot at running back.
- I watched Aaron Jones dominate on tape against Texas. He went to UTEP though and having off the field concerns may hurt his chances of getting drafted.
- Aaron Jones dominated as a true sophomore in 2014. He got a medical redshirt in 2015 and then got arrested later that year after getting redshirted.
- Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina Projected Round 7th Round
- 2016 Season Recap The 6-0 220 lb Elijah Hood returns at running back. North Carolina had a quality quarterback in 2015. It was Hood who carried the Tar Heels offense in 2015 and will have to do the same in 2016.
- Elijah Hood only had 10 carries for 72 rushing yards against Georgia. His play against Georgia showed he's a day 3 pick.
- Hood ran for 86 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns against Illinois before having 106 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns against James Madison. It's great that Hood is starting to find his grove, but failing ot have a statement game agaisnt Georgia will probably make him a day 3 pick if he declares.
- Hood only had 25 rushing yards in North Carolina's narrow win over Pittsburgh. The Tar Heels had to step up in the passing game against Pittsburgh.
- Elijah Hood really regressed as a junior. He regressed so much that he actually may go undrafted unless he dominates the 2017 NFL Combine.
- Elijah Hood really broke out in 2015. Hood had 219 carries, 1,463 rushing yards, and 17 rushing touchdowns. Hood has excellent ball carrier vision and power running. He needs to work on catching out of the back field in 2016.