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2017 RB Rankings

April 15, 2017

Leonard

  1. Leonard Fournette LSU 6’0 ½ 240 Jr. He ran a 4.51 40 and ‘28 ½ vertical. His 4.51 40 at 240 lbs is amazing. Most RBs aren’t 240 lbs so the better comp is with Von Miller who in 2011 was 243 lbs and ran a 4.53 40. Considering Miller is widely regarded as one of the best athletes in the NFL it stands to reason that Fournette is in that upper echelon class of athletes as well. His status as an elite prospect took a hit a bit this year as he only had 843 yds 6.5 ypc 8 TDs in 2016 after having 1,034 yds 5.5 ypc 10 TDs in 2014 and 1,953 yds 6.5 ypc 22 TDs in 2015. He missed 6 games in 2016 and I think some of them he could have battled through but I think what happened is he started out fast (3 +100 games in his first 3 games he played in) then he got injured, missed 3 games, came back and dominated against Ole Miss (284 yds 3 TDs, including a 78 yard TD run) and then got knicked up again as he had abnormally bad numbers against Alabama, Arkansas and Florida and finally just decided to shut it down. Him skipping the bowl game concerns me a bit but it really doesn’t change him as a prospect in my eyes as you know what you are getting with Leonard. He’s one of the all time greats in terms of pure athleticism as his size/speed ratio is off the charts and akin to elite athletes at other positions like Von Miller, Megatron and Patrick Peterson. You just don’t find athletes like Leonard every year so you have to treat them differently. A similar thing occurred when Adrian Peterson came out as he came out on a down note and some worried about his reduced production and his injury plagued final season (sound familiar?). He quickly put those fears to rest as he won ROY and has been this generation’s top back and a sure fire Hall of Famer. Fournette is often compared to Peterson but the guy he reminds me of the most is Earl Campbell as Fournette has power and aggression Peterson only can dream of. Leonard seems to try and hurt people when he’s running the ball and dishes out more punishment to DBs than any RB I’ve ever graded. His 2015 Auburn film is the single greatest game I’ve ever graded for a RB (surpassing Reggie Bush’s 2005 Fresno State game) as guys just bounced off him and some of his stiff arms are legendary. He does have some red flags as he isn’t a natural receiver, struggles when defenders get to him early in a run (it seems to take him a step or two longer than most RBs to get to full speed) and he isn’t that elusive. That being said he consistently gets yards after contact, rarely gets brought down by the first guy, has shown that he can tire out and demoralize a defense and has legit long speed to take a run +50 yards. It’s too bad he didn’t go to Alabama because he probably would have had a 3,000 yard season. The LSU offensive line and QB situation weren’t ideal during his time there so he probably left a lot of yards on the table but that just taints his college career a bit, not his NFL one. I fully expect Fournette to be a perennial Pro Bowler and I expect him to be a Hall of Famer. I rarely state that prediction in bios and when I do they usually come true as I only state it in the blue chip of blue chip prospects (Larry Fitzgerald, Joe Thomas, Megatron, Andrew Luck, Jadeveon Clowney, Myles Garrett). Fournette is in that class. Top 5 as my #1 RB and the second best RB I’ve ever graded behind only Ricky Williams in 1999 4/8/17.
  2. Dalvin Cook Florida State 5’10 ⅜ 210 Jr. He has been a dominant player since he stepped onto campus with 1,008 yds 5.9 ypc 8 TDs as a true freshman, 1,691 yds 7.4 ypc 19 TDs in 2015 and 1,765 yds 6.1 ypc 19 TDs in 2016. 2015 was his best year overall but in 2016 he became a much better receiver with career highs in receptions (33), yards (488) and yards per reception (14.8). He ran a 4.49 40 (good), ‘30 ½  vertical (bad), 9’8 broad (average) and 7.27 3 cone (below average). His Combine got a lot of criticism and I don’t really get it. Yes his vertical and 3 cone were surprisingly bad but his 40 was good and usually that is what is noticed. Many good RBs have great verticals (David Johnson-’41 ½, Jay Ajayi-’39, Isaiah Crowell-’38, ) but some do not (Ezekiel Elliott-’32 ½, Jeremy Hill-’29, Devonta Freeman-’31 ½, LeVeon Bell-’31 ½) so I don’t see why his poor vertical is suddenly making people question Cook as a top prospect. To me he’s the safest RB in this draft class as he’s productive statistically (three +1,000 yard seasons, two +1,600 yard seasons, good to elite ypc average in all three), deeper analysis like PFF does, gives him top grades (he’s their #1 RB prospect after being 5th in elusiveness rating and 3rd in yards after contact in 2015 and 2nd in elusiveness rating and 2nd in yards after contact in 2016), he tested fine (in my opinion) at the Combine and his tape is fantastic. Any guy that tests out as an NFL athlete, has great tape and was consistently dominant in their production usually works out in the end. Cook is also safe because he fits every scheme. He’s quicker, more elusive and a much better receiver than Fournette. Fournette has Hall of Fame, once in a generation size/speed but you have to build your offense around him whereas you can just plug Cook into whatever you are doing and he’ll be fine. Cook’s best attribute is his quickness as he is a very decisive cutter and is elite at making a decision and quickly getting into his move. He’s a little like Ezekiel Elliott in that he’s the rare RB that is a good inside runner and gets the most out of simple runs while also giving you that big play ability. In 2015 he had more +15 yard runs than anyone else in the country and he plays probably a little faster than his 4.49 40. Yet what I like the most about him is his quickness and ability to break tackles as it allows him to churn out those tough yards which are incredibly important for an offense. This combination of quickness, power, vision and long speed is rare. I have to give the #1 RB spot to Fournette as he has Hall of Fame potential and easily could be the best back of this generation but Cook is a safer pick and one who is deserving of a Top 10 grade himself. Top 10 as my #2 RB who I could see many teams grade out as their #1 RB in this draft 4/8/17.
  3. Christian McCaffrey Stanford 5’11 ¼ 202 Jr. Son of Ed McCaffrey. Blue chip prospect coming out of HS. In 2014 he was a part time player yet showed his potential with a 7.1 ypc (300 rushing yards) and a 14.8 ypr (251 receiving yards). In 2015 he was the Heisman Runner Up with 2,019 rushing yards 6.0 ypc 8 TDs and 645 yds receiving (14.3 ypr) and 5 TDs. His numbers stayed similar on a per game basis but he only played in 11 games instead of 14 in 2015 so his cumulative numbers declined a bit (1,603 yds rushing, 6.34 ypc, 13 TDs, 310 yds receiving 3 TDs). He controversially sat out his final game, the Sun Bowl and it worries me a bit as he clearly wasn’t hurt (had 204 rushing yards the game before) and it seems like an odd way to end his career. He ran a 4.48 40, ‘37 ½ vertical, 10’1 broad and 6.57 3 cone with the 3 cone being elite (fastest time among WR or RB and 2nd fastest among DBs-Kevin King best time of the year with 6.56). I don’t worry about his size like some people do as he is stronger, more physical and more durable than people give him credit for. He averaged 30 touches a game for the past 2 years. He had a different gear in Cal, K-State and Iowa games which does make me wonder if he got worn down a bit at times. He has elite hands for a WR let alone a RB. His receiver drills at the Combine were the best I’ve ever graded for a RB. He also has some of the best feet I’ve ever graded for a RB. If a team wanted to they easily could make him a full time slot receiver as he’s just a natural. He plucks the ball like few players can. A team drafting him might be getting one of the stars of the NFL the next 6-10 years as there are just such few white skill position (non-QB) players. Peyton Hillis was a mediocre player yet made the cover of Madden for God sake’s. McCaffrey will be a star off the field if he is even remotely good on the field. His jersey should sell quite well. He reminds me eerily of Reggie Bush from his #5, to his Pac-12 routes, to his versatility as a RB/WR/Punt Returner, to his elite quickness and shiftiness but not quite top end speed. Both players would be all-time greats if they were a little faster but I worry that McCaffrey will be like Bush and be good but never great due to his lack of top end speed. That being said McCaffrey seems a little stronger and more physical than Reggie so he might be able to run better as an interior runner. On the field McCaffrey is a matchup nightmare who fits best in an innovative scheme that moves pieces around the field (think Patriots, Falcons in 2016, Rams in early 2000s, etc.). His ceiling is that of Marshall Faulk, though I don’t see him attaining that level, and his floor is that of Reggie Bush. It’s interesting because his highlights are that of a game breaker but if you really scout him in detail you become less enamored with his big play ability, due to his only above average 4.48 40 speed, and more impressed with his short area quickness and inside running ability. He consistently makes the first defender miss which is rule #1 when scouting elite running backs and he looks like he’ll be able to be a complete back and get 10-12 carries a game. I really like McCaffrey, though possibly for different reasons than the consensus does, and think he will be a good running back in any system and could be a star running back if put in the right system which accentuates his versatility and receiving skills. Mid 1st as my #3 RB 4/12/17.
  4. Alvin Kamara Tennessee 5’10 ¼ 214 Jr. Redshirted one season. He ran a 4.56 40 (below average), ‘39 ½ vertical (elite) and 10’11 broad (elite). He was a blue chip prospect out of HS and signed with Alabama yet injured his knee which forced him to redshirt as a freshman and then was suspended and left the program that next January for Hutchinson Community College (arrested once while he was there too) where he was conference offensive player of the year in 2014. He then transferred to Tennessee and was an efficient, dynamic part time player in 2015 (698 yds 6.5 ypc 7 TDs) and in 2016 (596 yds 5.8 ypc 9 TDs). He missed 2 games in 2016 with a sprained MCL. No RB with a draftable grade in this class has worse cumulative stats than Kamara does as he barely has 1,000 rushing yards for his career. I really wish he had returned for his senior season as he has very little film to go off of. That being said he dominated Texas A&M in 2016 and when I was scouting both Josh Dobbs and Josh Malone, Kamara jumped off the film for me as the kid has some wow plays so I knew about him already. His Texas A&M game this year was his coming out party as he had 127 rushing yards AND 161 receiving yards to go along with 3 combined TDs. Watching him break tackles all night you might’ve said it wasn’t him but was A&M’s poor tackling (which is a valid point to some degree) but the same kind of whirling dervish plays where 2-3 defenders have a shot at him and he somehow breaks away for more yardage happened later in the year vs. Kentucky and Vanderbilt as well. He’s just a really tough guy to bring down and has uncanny strength and balance, especially for a guy his size. He’s a natural receiver, has great hands and is very smooth in the passing game so he’s a complete back. He has an NFL burst and quickness with his tape looking very 4.4 40 in my eyes. He has good but not great vision but gets away with some poor decisions due to his quickness and ability to break tackles. PFF in 2015 ranked him 3rd in their elusiveness ranking behind only Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey. In 2016 he tied with Dalvin Cook for 2nd in that ranking. That consistency impresses me and can be seen on film as he’s such a difficult guy to bring down on every single play. I think he’s a little scary character wise as he was at three schools in 4 years, was suspended once, arrested once and seems to be a bit of a jerk with his body language on the field. He sometimes wears a gold grill mouthpiece which cements his thug persona. Despite his character red flags and his limited production, much of which can be explained away by his 2 missed games for injury and his limited touches in 4 games (2-8 carries in 4 games?), I can’t help but fall in love with this kid. He has LeVeon Bell start and stop ability and just wows me with his quickness, balance and strength. I know he’s a risky prospect but I think he’s a future star in the NFL and will be deserving of this grade years from now when I look back at it. Late 1st round as my #4 RB and one of the sleepers in this class 4/7/17.
  5. Joe Mixon Oklahoma 6’1 226 Soph Redshirted one season. He was banned from the Combine for his incident in 2014 (as an 18 year old) where he punched a woman in the face on camera. He ran a 4.43 40 (4.50 per Gil Brandt), with 21 reps, ‘35 vertical and 9’10 broad jump at OU’s pro day. I read that one scout compared him to David Johnson. I compare him to a poor man’s Ezekiel Elliott with his size, smoothness and surprising burst and long speed for a guy that big. Either way you can see the level of talent this kid has when he’s regularly compared to two of the top three running backs in the NFL (Bell being the other). He doesn’t have great lateral quickness and isn’t the shiftiest guy but he’s a north/south runner with an elite size/speed ratio who is physical and finishes runs. He only played two seasons in college (suspended all of 2014 due to the infamous punch) yet was good in 2015 (753 yds 6.7 ypc 7 TDs) and great in 2016 (1,274 yds 6.8 ypc 10 TDs). He’s an obvious first round talent but I do think some in the media are taking it a bit too far in suggesting he’s the #1 RB in the class on talent. Stylistically he’s like Elliott but Elliott is far smoother, is a bit faster, has much better vision and runs with better pad level so Mixon is by no means a Top 5 talent in my mind like Elliott was. Top 15 though does appear possible and at worst Late 1st on talent alone so teams will have to really figure out what to do in regards to him and his off the field red flags. His defense is that he was only 18 years old but that is negated somewhat by the fact that he was suspended in 2016 as well, again in an incident where he showed a lack of respect for a woman (this time it was for ripping up a parking ticket in the female parking attendant’s face and then driving his car aggressively towards her). Many feel that he isn’t a good guy and there will be off the field issues with him down the road, though likely on a smaller scale than his freshman incident. On the field he’s a complete back as he has the size and strength to run inside (though he doesn’t run as forcefully as I would like), has the speed to run outside and is a weapon in the passing game. His 37 538 yds 14.5 ypr 5 TDs last year as a receiver is elite and he even has a few one handed catches to his credit. His size/speed make him a possibility as a kick returner and he could be a great one if a team wanted to use him in that capacity. He lacks vision, doesn’t break as many tackles as he should, isn’t a guy who makes people miss and played in a conference with terrible defenses but on talent alone he’s a Top 20 grade. Where he goes is anyone’s guess but I think the kid will be an 8-10 year starter in the NFL and could make some Pro Bowls so he could go earlier than people expect. Early 2nd round due to off the field issues as my #5 RB 4/7/17.
  6. Kareem Hunt Toledo 5’10 ½ 216 Sr. Rated by PFF as the #1 RB in college football in 2016 based on elusiveness, breakaway %, etc. He had 98 missed tackles in 2016, leading the nation (per PFF). He also was the highest rated RB during the Senior Bowl game. He ran a 4.62 40, ‘36 ½ vertical and 9’11 broad. He was productive all four seasons with four seasons of +850 yards and had two elite seasons in 2014 (1,631 yds 8.0 ypc 16 TDs) and 2016 (1,475 yds 5.6 ypc 10 TDs). He was rarely used as a receiver his first three seasons but had a big year there in 2016 (41 403 9.8 ypr). He was suspended two games in 2015 for violating team rules. In 856 career touches he has one fumble, which he recovered himself. That’s pretty astounding and Travis Prentice is the only other prospect that I can remember with such a ridiculous fumble rate. On film he’s a smooth runner with elite pad level and good vision. He isn’t incredibly explosive or athletic but he has good burst and quickness which makes him very elusive. He won’t be a home run threat but plays much faster than his 4.62 40. He’s an interesting kid as he has underrated quickness and power with neither being elite but the combination being very impressive. His tape is fantastic as he shows great balance, breaks tackles all day long and is quick and decisive in his cuts. He’s an amazing combination of quickness and power that make him very difficult to bring down. PFF absolutely loves the kid and I see why as his tape is incredible. Unfortunately I do notice how often he’s brought down from behind, his 40 time was atrocious and his level of competition is subpar so there are some red flags with him. In the end I’m a believer in this kid as he’s got everything you want in a back except long speed. He won’t break long runs for a team but will be above average to great in every other aspect of the game. Early 2nd round as my #6 RB who is a big time sleeper in this class 4/7/17.
  7. Curtis Samuel Ohio State 5’10 ⅝ 196 Jr. He wowed with a 4.31 40 and continued his impressive day with a ‘37 vertical and 9’11 broad jump. His 4.33 shuttle and 7.09 3 cone were both below average though so he struggled with quickness drills. He’s a baby as he won’t turn 21 until training camp starts. He’s a one year wonder with only 33 receptions his first two years and then a good but not great 2016 (74 865 yds 7 TDs). He had nearly 100 carries in 2016 as well and made the most of it with 8 rushing TDs and a stellar 7.9 yards per carry average. Both as a WR and as a RB he’s a big play waiting to happen as he had two +70 yard receptions and two +60 yard runs last year for the Buckeyes. I don’t know exactly what to do with Samuel as he looks raw both as a WR and as a RB but he’s such an elite athlete that a smart team will use him as a matchup nightmare. He doesn’t have the polish of Christian McCaffrey but should be used in the same manner as he looks like he’d be a good change of pace back, third down back and slot receiver. Despite Ohio State using him more as a WR than a RB I think he makes the most sense as a RB. I’m also surprised most of the scouting community has him at WR as he isn’t a good hands catcher (basket catches a lot), is a bit tight in the hips which will hurt him as a route runner and doesn’t seem great at tracking the ball. To me he makes more sense as a change of pace RB than as a very raw WR. Either way, he’ll be used in both spots and will be a dynamic playmaker no matter where he lines up on the field. The key will be for him to go to a team that accentuates his versatility instead of complains about how he isn’t a true fit at either position. Late 2nd round as my #7 RB 4/2/17.
  8. James Conner Pittsburgh 6’1 ½ 233 Jr. Redshirted one season. He ran a 4.65 40, ‘29 vertical and 9’5 broad all of which were among the 3-7 worst measurements for the 33 RBs at the Combine. He’s a high character kid that the coaches rave about. He missed the 2015 season in his battle with Leukemia and then came back to have a good 2016 season (1,092 yds 5.1 ypc 16 TDs). His 2014 season was his best (1,765 yds 5.9 ypc 26 TDs). I think he plays faster than his 4.65 40 indicates as 10 of his 13 games in 2016 had a +20 yard run. He had a good game vs. Clemson in their upset win. When I grade “big” RBs I look for a few things. Does the kid have small RB athleticism (no for Conner). Does the kid play big, break tackles/deal punishment to defenders (yes). Does the kid have quick feet (yes). I like Conner as he has the quick feet and physical nature you tend to see in successful big backs. With 52 career TDs he’s an obvious red zone asset and he’d be great in the 4 minute offense as well, burning clock. The guy is a load and has just enough speed and quickness to translate well at the next level. Also he’s sneaky good in the passing game for his size as he has good hands, seems comfortable catching the ball and had a 14 yards per reception average in 2014 and 2016. I’ve been a big Conner fan for awhile now as he has some great tape and seems underrated to me. A team will have to live with the lack of big plays from their running game if they choose him but will enjoy the broken tackles, vicious stiff arms and intense and physical running style they’ll get from James. Late 2nd as my #8 RB who I rate higher than others do 4/7/17.
  9. D’onta Foreman Texas 6’0 ¼ 233 Jr. He didn’t work out at the Combine. He’s a young kid not turning 21 until days before the draft. He’s a bit of a one year wonder with an okay season in 2015 (681 yds 7.2 ypc 5 TDs) and then was the most productive runner in the nation last year (2,028 yds 6.3 ypc 15 TDs). Despite +300 carries last year he actually strengthened as the season went on with 3 +200 yard rushing games in his last 5 games, 0 in his first 7. He had 341 yds and 3 TDs vs. Tech. Watching that game I laughed quite a few times as the defense was just atrocious and on some runs it didn’t even look like a broken tackle as much as a defender giving up on the play. He’s a difficult grade as some film shows him as a one speed back with no burst while others show him having great speed for a back his size and having some home run ability. I think it comes from him being a guy that takes a bit of time to get to full speed. If given a “runway” he can make a long run but if forced to go laterally he loses a lot of his impressive size/speed ratio and quickly becomes a slow, big back. He is a smooth runner and has good vision. He only has 13 career receptions and didn’t show a knack for it. He also has been widely criticized for his poor pass protection so some worry how much playing time he will get as a rookie while he expands his game. He reminds me of a poor man’s Jonathan Stewart. He breaks tackles but isn’t a vicious, physical runner. He’s a bit of a finesse big back which I don’t like. I watched too much tape of him being taken down by the first guy and being taken down by arm tackles. Foreman has some Pro Bowl potential due to his size, long speed and smoothness as a runner but I don’t like him. He doesn’t have any short area burst, doesn’t run physically or violently for a big back, which is the biggest positive of a big back, yet gives you all the negatives of a big back (lack of big plays, no impact in the passing game, limited skill at making people miss, etc.). I suspect he will be taken earlier than this but I see him as being a limited runner at the next level who lacks the speed to run outside or the physical style to be a dominant inside runner. He only missed being a much lower grade because he does have some star potential. I don’t think he will become one but I see some Stewart in him and he’s been a very good back for the past decade. Early 3rd round as my #9 RB 4/7/17.
  10. Samaje Perine Oklahoma 5’10 ⅝ 233 Jr. He ran a 4.65 40, 30 reps (best among 33 RBs), ‘33 vertical and 9’8 broad. The “other” back at OU who is pretty good in his own right. He’s been a good to great RB all three seasons at OU with his best being in 2014 as a true freshman (1,713 yds 6.5 ypc 21 TDs), followed by his 2015 season (1,349 yds 6.0 ypc 16 TDs) and then his last year in 2016 where he split time with Joe Mixon (1,060 yds 5.4 ypc 12 TDs). His 5.4 ypc in 2016 is much worse than Mixon’s 6.8 behind the same line. He’s a non-existent pass catcher with 10-15 catches per season at mediocre 7-10 yards per reception averages. He looks to be a 2 down back. He set the NCAA record for most rushing yards in a game (427 yards vs. Kansas in 2014) and is very feast or famine with six game of +200 yards rushing and all of them being against bad defenses (Tech 2x, Kansas, West Virginia, Oklahoma State-arguably the only not bad D, Texas in 2016 when their defense inexplicably collapsed). I love Perine as a #2 back as he’s strong, physical, breaks tackles and really lays the wood to defenders. I hate him as a #1 back as he lacks burst, isn’t effective against some defenses (he had 12 games in his career under 4.0 ypc, 9 games above 7.0 ypc which again shows his feast/famine nature) and is worthless in the passing game. Therefore he shouldn’t be drafted too high but shouldn’t be underestimated either as he could really charge up a running game that has a lead back that is a little undersized (Patriots-replace LeGarrette Blount, Cincinnati-mix with Bernard, Lions-mix with Abdullah and Riddick, Packers-mix with Montgomery). Late 3rd round as my #10 RB 4/7/17.
  11. Donnell Pumphrey San Diego State 5’8 ¼ 176 Sr. He ran a 4.48 40, ‘33 ½ vertical and only 5 reps showing the good speed but lack of strength you’d expect for a RB for 176 lbs. He had sub ‘9 hands which is a huge red flag as it often means they will be fumblers. Donnell was the most productive runner in the nation last year with 2,133 yds 6.1 ypc 17 TDs. He had two other +1,600 yard seasons as well and ended his career with the most ever by a college RB (beating Ron Dayne’s long standing mark by 8 yards). It’s an impressive list to be on as Dayne (#2), Ricky Williams (#3) and Tony Dorsett (#4) all were first rounders with Williams and Dorsett having Hall of Fame caliber careers. He’s a future scat back in the NFL but could be more successful than San Diego State’s last prolific runner, Ronnie Hillman, as he has a noticeable burst and the pure speed you want in a small back like him. He’s good at getting lost behind his line of scrimmage and sets up blocks very well. He looked tiny in college so it worries me how he will handle the hits in the NFL and he could have a very short, injury prone career. He has elite vision and elite short area quickness which allow him to make people look dumb tackling him. I know some teams will have him off their draft board due to his size but I love his tape. He was fast, elusive and showed incredible vision. He obviously can’t be a full time starter at his size but I think he could be more than just a third down back due to his great vision and short area quickness as he can make people miss in the hole. Early 4th round as my #11 RB 4/7/17.
  12. Marlon Mack South Florida 5’11 ⅜ 213 Jr. He ran a 4.50 40, ‘35 ½ vertical and 10’5 broad. 1st Team AAC all three seasons at South Florida. He had three seasons of similar production with 1,041-1,381 yds, 5.2-6.8 ypc and 8-15 TDs. His cumulative production was similar all three years yet his efficiency improved with his ypc going from 5.2 as a true freshman to 6.8 as a junior. He was a blue chip recruit out of HS. He’s a wild, reckless runner that is more athlete than running back at this stage of his career. He has great quickness and legit long speed which makes me intrigued with him as a punt returner or kick returner for a NFL team. He’s a raw runner as he doesn’t have great vision, always is looking for the home run, has poor pad level and isn’t very patient. That being said the kid is elusive as hell and really is adept at making people miss. Once in the open field he’s a weapon and would be a good candidate for teams to use him on RB screens, end arounds and gatchet plays that can get him in space. He looked good against FSU in 2016 showing that his athleticism holds up against top talent not just his lower level of competition. Mack is an interesting prospect as it seems like he was the most talented player on either side of the ball most games in his career and because of that he learned a lot of bad habits. He seems to try to out-athlete guys right now and that won’t work in the NFL so there will be a learning curve for him because he’s very raw. That being said the kid has major talent as his short area quickness and his long speed are impressive. At 213 he looks skinny and could easily add weight until he’s 220-225 which would give him another dimension. Or he could stay at his current weight and be a change of pace #2 back along with kick return and possibly punt return (depending on how good he is at catching punts) duties. He’s a high upside #2 back with a small chance at stardom due to his rare elusiveness in the open field. Early 4th round as my #12 RB 4/7/17.
  13. Jamaal Williams BYU 6’0 212 Sr. Redshirted one season. Five years out of HS so he’s an older prospect. He ran a 4.59 40, ‘30 vertical, 10’3 broad and 6.86 3 cone with it being overall a mixed bag as 3 cone elite, broad above average and 40 and vertical both being bad. He was effective all four seasons at BYU with 4 seasons of +500 yards and 2 seasons of +1200 yards. His best two were in 2013 (1,233 yds 5.7 ypc 7 TDs) and 2016 (1,375 yds 5.9 ypc 12 TDs). He has had an odd road to the draft as his 2015 season was mixed with a knee injury and a suspension (underage drinking citation). He has a very NFL like frame with good muscle definition and a large frame that makes him look bigger than his 212 Combine weigh in indicated (maybe he cut weight to improve his measurables). He’s a bit of a long strider with good cut back ability. He is non-existent as a pass catcher with only 15 receptions the past two seasons. He isn’t a great athlete but is a hard nosed runner who breaks a ton of tackles. He gives all out effort and really fights for every yard. Per PFF he was 24th in the country in yards after contact, ahead of Fournette, McCaffrey, Perrine and James Conner. If he was a better athlete he’d be a 2nd rounder as I really like his aggressive style, vision and strength. Unfortunately he lacks that elite burst or long speed so he looks like a good polished #2 RB. 4th round as my #13 RB 4/7/17.
  14. Wayne Gallman Clemson 6’0 ¼ 215 Jr. Redshirted one season. He ran a 4.60 40, ‘29 ½ vertical, 10’0 broad and 7.17 3 cone. He had a solid year in 2014 as a redshirt freshman (769 yds 4.8 ypc 13 TDs) and then had his best season in 2015 (1,527 yds 5.4 ypc 13 TDs) followed by an okay one in 2016 (1,133 yds 4.9 ypc 17 TDs). His yards per carry of 4.8-5.4 is pretty poor considering he was surrounded by great playmakers (Watson, Williams, Leggett, Scott). He’s a taller RB and often looks like a WR more than a RB, especially due to his poor pad level. He’s a solid athlete but nothing special and that hurts him as he doesn’t have great vision, doesn’t make a lot of yards after contact and isn’t an especially smooth runner. I don’t like him that much but he does show some unique skills in making defenders miss within a short area (he has a great spin move and can cut on a dime) and he does run with a lot of heart so he makes some sense as a mid round flier for a #3 RB spot on a team’s roster. He is pretty raw so a team drafting him would be doing it for his elusiveness and hoping he rounded out his game. His upside is that of a good #2 back. Late 4th round as my #14 RB 4/8/17.
  15. Brian Hill Wyoming 6’1 219 Jr. He ran a 4.54 40, ‘34 vertical, 10’5 broad jump and 7.03 3 cone with everything but the 40 being very good and the 3 cone being elite. He had sub ‘9 hands which is a huge red flag as it often means they will be fumblers. At Wyoming he played poor competition and was great cumulative wise but efficiency he was only average as his ypc were 5.3-5.8 all three seasons yet in 2014 he was a part time guy (796 yds 5.5 ypc 7 TDs) and then he was dominant in 2015 (1,631 yds 5.8 ypc 6 TDs) and 2016 (1,860 yds 5.3 ypc 22 TDs). His yards per carry and his level of competition worry me as he was shutdown vs. BYU in their bowl game (3.6 ypc) and Nebraska (2.9 ypc), Oregon (1.8) and Michigan State (1.5). Brian runs with poor pad level and often looks like a WR more than a RB. He has NFL athleticism but isn’t a smooth runner and lacks vision. He’s a raw kid that I’m not a huge fan of because I value burst and running backs that run smoothly but he’s a very athletic kid for 220 lbs and has the athleticism to warrant a team bringing him in as a high upside flier type as their #2 back. Early 5th round as my #15 RB 4/7/17.
  16. Corey Clement Wisconsin 5’10 ⅛ 220 Sr. He ran a 4.68 40 (5th worst among 33 RBs), ‘28 ½ vertical (3rd worst) and 9’7 broad (6th worst) all of which were terrible. The hatred of Wisconsin running backs is in full swing right now, despite a great season from Melvin Gordon, as Montee Ball, has stuck in scouts minds as the epitome of what a Wisconsin running back is. Great stats, poor athlete who won’t translate well to the next level. Clement is further hurt by atrocious Combine numbers all of which scream undrafted free agent. Add in the fact that he missed all but 4 games in 2015 due to a hand injury when he punched someone in an elevator and then lied to his coaching staff about it and you have a kid with a lot of red flags to overcome. He had a solid 2014 (949 yds 6.5 ypc 9 TDs) backing up Melvin Gordon and then exploded in 2016 (1,375 yds 4.4 ypc 15 TDs). His 4.4 ypc is a huge red flag as well, especially in a dominant running game system like Wisconsin. He was a big time recruit out of HS and coaches dislike his attitude, work ethic and leadership which many think came from him being a top recruit and expecting the starting job/lots of carries. He shows his lack of speed on film and isn’t a great athlete. He also surprisingly doesn’t break a lot of tackles at 220 lbs. He does have good vision and quick feet though so he shows some polish in his game and might be a good #2 back. His film is underwhelming as it’s clear he isn’t a great athlete. Add in his character issues and I think a lot of people will have him off their draft board but he’s a polished runner with a little shiftiness in the hole which gets him more yards than I would expect on quite a few runs. The Wisconsin OL wasn’t very good in 2016, a rarity, so I don’t hold his 4.4 ypc solely against him. He’s a low upside #2 type back. Early 5th round as my #16 RB 4/6/17.
  17. De’Angelo Henderson Coastal Carolina 5’7 ½ 208 Sr. Redshirted one season. Five years out of HS so he’s an older prospect. He ran a 4.48 40, ‘34 vertical and 10’0 broad with all being average or a little above average. He played at the FBS level so his level of competition was inferior. His stats are odd on a quick look as his rushing yards went from 1,534 in 2014 to 1,346 in 2015 to 1,156 in 2016 yet his ypc stayed from 6.1-6.6 each year and it really was just because his team was less successful so his season went from 14 games in 2014 to 12 in 2015 and only 9 in 2016. At his size he initially seems like a change of pace, scat back prospect but at 208 lbs at his height he actually has some power and can lower his pads and get an extra yard or two after contact. He reminds me of a poor man’s Ray Rice and has more inside running ability than you would expect. I like his vision, his quick cutting ability and his underrated power. He has a low ceiling but he could make a moderate career as a #2 Ronnie Hillman type runner. 5th round as my #17 RB 4/10/17.
  18. Elijah McGuire ULL 5’9 ¾ 214 Sr. He ran a 4.53 40, ‘36 vertical, 10’0 broad and 7.26 3 cone which was all average to below average except for the vertical. He had 863-1,264 yds all four seasons yet his yards per carry continually dropped all four seasons going from 8.4 as a freshman in 2013 to 7.6, 5.0 and then 4.9 as a senior in 2016. He has +100 career receptions and is one of the more experienced receivers in this running back class. He’s a one speed running back with solid straight line speed but no real burst. He looks like a low ceilinged #2 RB who will be helped on draft day by his solid Combine measurables, his good straight line speed (which translates to the field as he does have film of him making long runs when given a runway) and his experience as a receiver. 5th round as my #18 RB 4/7/17.
  19. Matthew Dayes NC State 5’8 ⅝ 205 Sr. He didn’t run the 40 and then had a ‘28 vertical and 9’1 broad both of which were worst among the 33 RBs at the Combine. His measurables scream undraftable. He was a bit player in 2013 and 2014 (both under 600 yards rushing), had a solid 2015 (865 yds 6.5 ypc 12 TDs) and then had more carries but was much worse efficiency wise in 2016 (1,166 yds 4.7 ypc 10 TDs). He plays much more athletically than his measurables as he’s very quick and elusive in the open field. He’s a smaller back and almost never got a push against defenders so his YAC is limited. Add in his mediocre long speed (he’s quicker than fast) and he is kind of a tweener as he lacks the power to run inside or the speed to be a great scat back. He has a low ceiling but is worth a late round flier on as a possible #2 or #3 back as he does have great quickness and is difficult to tackle when given space to operate. Also his film shows that he rarely had much to work with as a runner so a team might be pleasantly surprised to find that he was undervalued due to his team’s lack of talent. Early 6th round as my #19 RB 4/7/17.
  20. Jeremy McNichols Boise State 5’8 ½ 214 Jr. He ran a 4.49 40, ‘35 ½ vertical, 10’1 broad and 6.93 3 cone. He barely played in 2014 (17 carries) and then had a great 2015 season (1,337 yds 5.6 ypc 20 TDs) and an even better 2016 (1,709 yds 5.4 ypc 23 TDs). His 43 TDs the past two seasons is elite red zone production. He has two +400 yard receiving seasons which is rare in today’s college game. He’s a short, thick RB with solid quickness. He doesn’t play up to his 4.49 40 speed and he’s more workhorse than efficient back as his 5.4-5.6 ypc and 9.0-12.8 yards per reception the past two years isn’t anything amazing. He has good vision, is a north/south runner, gets yards after contact (PFF ranked him 16th in the nation) and has elite production as a red zone runner. His tape is underwhelming but his OL was mediocre yet his production was still very good. He looks like a mediocre #2 RB at the next level but does break tackles so he might surprise me and be above average as a spot duty RB that handles multiple roles. 6th round as my #20 RB 4/7/17.
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