Prospect Rankings – Top Runnings Backs

As we close in on the NFL draft I’m going to share with you my top five rankings for each position. Scouting reports are boring for most, so enjoy some simple notes on each prospect as well as where I think they’ll go on draft day. Please check out our podcast, Drinking and Mocking where you’ll catch some of those Mike Mayock buzz-words and more on some of these guys.


Overall outlook on the position: It’s one of the best overall classes in recent years. We start with one of my personal favorite players this year, Saquon Barkley, who tops the list as the best running back. Favoritism aside, he’s my overall top prospect in the entire class as well. He’s a can’t miss prospect who should dominate at the NFL level.

Let’s get into it….

1. Saquon Barkley – Penn State

Barkley
Getty Images
  • Does. It. All. Compact frame, runs at optimal pad level; has madden-like spin moves and jump-cuts; can be an effective blocker; has speed and elusiveness with elite level burst and agility; built to take hits; can catch the ball and make you pay. Impeccable character. If there has to be one negative, he’s not the most powerful back and needs to avoid running east/west too much in NFL. One of three blue-chip, can’t-miss prospects in this class.
  • Verdict: Top 5 Pick

2. Derrius Guice – L.S.U.

Guice.jpg
John David Mercer – USA TODAY Sports
  • Powerful back. Would be a great complement to Shady McCoy if RB was a target. Strong combination of speed, power and balance; quality vision; imposes his will in late in games as he doesn’t seem to wear out. Needs work in receiving game; doesn’t show quick burst.
  • Verdict: Top 25 Pick

3. Sony Michel – Georgia

Michel
Photo/Casey Sykes
  • Quick one-cut and go back. Accelerates quickly to the second level; had 6 TD’s over 15 yards or more; dangerous in the open field; vocal leader, 2 year captain, high character “McDermott” type of guy. Needs to work on catching the ball cleanly.
  • Verdict: Late Round 1-Early Round 2 Pick

4. Ronald Jones II – U.S.C.

RJones.jpg
Leon Bennett/Getty Images
  • Plays light on his feet with elite acceleration; patient runner, waits for his blockers when necessary; fights for extra yards and falls forward; reliable with only 2 fumbles in 591 carries. Has a lean frame, may struggle to take continual contact as a feature back at NFL level – that said, he shouldn’t be seen as a feature back.
  • Verdict: Round 2 Pick  

5. Nick Chubb – Georgia

NChubb
Jason Vorhees – The Telegraph
  • Possesses a low center of gravity; able to absorb hits; displays ability run patient with little wasted movement; can quickly cut through holes/creases. Explosion and quickness just not the same after brutal injury in 2015; shows hesitance when reading blocks; doesn’t have run-away speed.
  • Verdict: Late Round 2-Round 3 Pick

 

Best of the Rest:

  1. Rashaad Penny – San Diego State (Round 3 Pick)
  2. Mark Walton – Miami (Round 3 Pick)
  3. Kerryon Johnson – Auburn (Round 3 Pick)

 

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