2018 Running Backs Analysis

*Indicates Scout Favorite Considering Draft Position and Value

Derriuce Guice (LSU)

When Guice first saw action at LSU, he was a cat quick shifty back in limited touches and his agility really stuck out. Over time, with an expanded role, this dude would run your mama over and enjoy it. He dishes contact and is a lot tougher and meaner than bigger backs. He’s hard to tackle, exhibits consistent vision, and has enough speed to take it to the house even though he may not classify as a homerun hitter. Guice catches well and has a north south mentality. Overall, there’s not much not to like; if you had to nitpick, he could work on pass blocking intensity and workout his lower trunk to build ass mass because he has a top heavy build. He’s the kind of back that runs people over but doesn’t push the pile, so there is room to improve leg drive. Guice will be used in a lot of ways in the pro game, even more than he was at LSU which was an up the gut runner. He will be used in the open field catching passes. He will be a reliable three down back that will get better as the game goes on so teams will have to feed him 20+ times a game to establish a rhythm and to allow him to wear down opponents. Guice has a mean attitude, and will have to play smart by picking and choosing physicality vs. intelligence. I hear a lot of Marshawn Lynch comparisons but that’s only in attitude. Guice is built like Josephy Addai or Cadillac Williams, has a style like Terrell Davis or Curt Warner, and overall game like Edgerine James or Chester Taylor. He’s a dynamic player that can gash you consistently in a lot of different ways. There’s not much to dislike and as a pure runner he should have a stronger career than Saquon Barkley.

Our Grade: 1st rd


Projected: 1st rd

Pro Comp: Earnest Bynar

Saquon Barkley (Penn State)

Saquon Barkley is a prototype with Olympic level agility and has the best side to side juke game since Barry Sanders, yet he’s built more like Earl Cambpell. Plays fast and more like a junebug than a bulldozer. Franco Harris becomes the obvious pro comparison as a big guy that runs like a speed guy but his game is different. Despite big size, there are not enough plays where he pushes the pile (which is usually my favorite quality in a great runner) but his hands are so natural and incredible and his game is so complete otherwise that he may have a very effective career. The only problem is his game could be compared to Reggie Bush in a lot of ways (shifty, breaks runs to the outside, doesn’t seek contact or run north to move bodies). He is best in the open field so I’d use him as a pass catcher more than running him. He is a willing blocker, and a unique athlete with awesome jumping ability. He seperates with speed and showcases solid vision although does not use it to attack north. With a north south mind he’d be the best back of all time, but we’re looking at a specimen. Joe Mixon is a strong comp for style, hands, size, and agility but I see more of a hybrid new role type player and Barkley may have better vision.

Our Grade: 1st rd

Projected: Top 5

Pro Comp: Fred Taylor

Sony Michel (Georgia)

Every time I watched Georgia I wondered why Chubb was starting over Michel. It seemed like Michel gave them juice that Chubb didn’t offer. He blocks well, runs tough, was more athletic, had immense power and leverage, built like a weight room warrior, was patient and strong enough to not need much wiggle. I see vision and ability to break through the hole. The only thing I like to see more of would be pass catching. Sony Michel is a good running back and it helped that he was on a good team but overall I find him trustworthy and tough. I think he fits well in a zone running 1 cut scheme where he can use misdirection and initial burst to use his power in the second level. He may do the best with blocking assignments and I expect him to be drafted a lot higher than many people expect and he’ll probably go to a good team because I think smart teams will see the value in a player like Michel and bad teams will go for homerun hitting combine warriors. No disrespect though because he hit 22 reps of 225 at the combine and ran a 4.54 and he plays like his measurable which is not always the case. If someone had Michel as their top rated back, I wouldn’t call them crazy. If someone had him off their board because he doesn’t catch and isn’t a speed homerun threat, I guess I’d understand too. He’s probably a polarizing back but I like throwback style runners. I thought about a pro comp to Natrone Means or Doug Martin but he looks and plays exactly like Rudi Johnson who was a pro bowler for Cincinnati, and when I looked up measurables they were the exact same size and weight.

Our Grade: 1st rd

Projected: 2nd rd


Pro Comp: Rudi Johnson

Rashaad Penny (San Diego State)

Rashaad Penny may be the best running back in the entire 2018 class and had a bad offensive line in college. He is more athletic than first impressions. At first he seems not particularly fast or strong and runs upright, but after you see he led the country in yards and dominated kick returns, you have to go back and take a 2nd look. He is a 4.46 speed player at 220 pounds who is deceptively fast. Overall, if your team needs 5 yards for a first down, you want Rashaad Penny to have the ball. He has soft hands and can catch, made big plays in every game including the Senor Bowl, runs very tough, is durable, has deceptive balance, great agility and will make people miss in small spaces, quick feet, can hurdle defenders, is patient when necessary, smart, and can run inside or out. He’s not a power back like running people over, but has enough strength and size to be durable. He needs to improve pass blocking. Bad offensive line so his performance is even more impressive than stats indicate. There are times he takes hits he shouldn’t and other times you wish he had better acceleration. Overall, Penny is well rounded, shifty, natural, versatile, gets north south and was effective in all phases. He shows pro caliber burst at times and makes people miss. He does not go down easily and seems to have the most versatile running ability in the draft. He knows how to take hits and avoid hits. He’s a definite pro bowl sleeper and looks built for the pro game. He looks like Chris Ivory or Larry Johnson as far as size and speed combo with great first cut ability, but overall he looks like Mark Ingram where he isn’t the most creative but strings together effective plays and durability. I picture him as a good fit for the 49ers or Dolphins.

Our Grade: 2nd Round

Projected: 2nd Round

Pro Comp: Mark Ingram

*Kallen Ballage (Arizona State)

Kallan Ballage is a powerful upright strong runner who can power through contact and plays with enough speed to break runs outside. If you watch every running back in this class next to each other, Ballage looks like the fastest and strongest together. He is a specimen. Oddly, there’s not a lot of college production but I think he shared time with Demario Richard who also looks like a good power back. Ballage can catch and he can break tackles. He is tough. Not a great blocker but that’s his main weakness. Its not like hes the worst though. I really like his game, ability to cut and functional strength. He uses his shoulders well to run people over without taking too much contact himself. His vision could be improved because he doesn’t always attacks the gaps available and sometimes will break it outside when he should hit the crease. He’s patient and overall the best sleeper in the class and I was tempted to give a first round grade simply on speed, size, strength and catching ability but he doesn’t showcase the necessary vision to be 1st round rank, but he is close. I love his game and even saw 40 yard bombs he caught downfield. He’ll be a solid pro with pro bowl potential.

Our Grade: 2nd rd

Projected: 3rd rd


Pro Comp: Demarco Murray

Kerryon Johnson (Auburn)

Kerryon Johnson is deceptively effective. He doesn’t jump off the screen as athletic but he is an all around good player. Very aggressive and effective pass blocker. Long strider, breaks tackles, touchdown machine, tough, thinner build, plays with power and knack for hitting pay dirt. The type of guy you want on 3rd down because can run, throw, or catch a touchdown. He gets short tough yards. Doesn’t have a lot of burst on his 1st step, so makes up for it by running patient, waits to pick his hole. Jack of all trades, master of none. I see a strength player who wants to block, is able to catch, can push the pile, run you over, can juke okay and makes people miss, but his best ability is persistence and ability to squirt through the pile and fall forward for a tough yard or two. You wish he had more burst but he is effective in so many ways and gets stronger as the game goes on. He has nice balance and bounces off of contact. What you get overall is a guy with vision, strength and leg drive who always falls forward, runs patient and has desire. Much like Latavius Murray, I think Johnson could be a premier goal line and short yardage back with versatility to be an every down back if team needs. He can be great on third downs back because of power, catching, tackle breaking and blocking. He has to get better at getting open in the passing game and work on initial burst. He wasn’t always healthy because some games he looks vastly more athletic than others, and some claim it’s his hamstring. If that’s the case, some team may get a steal in the late 2nd or early 3rd round.

Our Grade: 2nd rd

Projected: 2nd rd

Pro Comp: Darren McFadden

Ronald Jones (USC)

Ronald Jones is a shifty agile explosively quick back with homerun speed but lacks functional strength to break tackles. He’s not strong or big with a lean frame and is best breaking tackles before contact. Patient at the line, sometimes too much instead of attacking, however when he attacks he hits the hole faster than any other back in the class. He cuts with ease and moves side to side as he’s moving forward. His agility is elite so teams will pick him high as they copycat the Alvin Kamara success, but “Rojo” lacks power and it could be a real problem when it comes to breaking tackles or moving bodies at the pro level. Almost immediately upon contact, he goes down. He gets tossed around like a rag doll while trying to block and is awful pass blocking. It may compromise his ability to be an effective 3rd down back if he doesn’t improve strength and blocking. USC did not throw to him which is odd because his skill set looks like an ideal 3rd down receiving back in the open field. Because of speed he will get drafted way higher than he should, possibly late first round or early second. Lack of power is a problem and I don’t see him as an every down back. Speed and agility may be elite but it’s hard to rank a guy that high when he hits an opponent never pushes forward, falls forward or rarely breaks tackles. He goes down too easily upon contact.

Our Grade: 3rd rd

Projected: 1st rd

Pro Comp: Napoleon Kaufman

Mark Walton (Miami)

Mark Walton has natural and smooth get up and go. When he takes off its as if he is already at top speed and his top speed is fast. He displays elite feet and quickness with ability to deceive defenders. This type of back will be picked higher because of Alvin Kamara and Dion Lewis’ success this past season. Walton’s side to side shakes and jukes are super fun to watch and he is stick of dynamite. He is a smaller 3rd down back who is tough enough to run up the middle but I’m not sure if he is big enough to hold up for much more than 3rd down back role. He really is dynamite though and I think teams will want to get him on the field. Tougher than his size would indicate and runs with great leverage, gets low at point of contact. He could really be best friends with an average quarterback or quarterback with no o-line (Joe Flacco, Andrew Luck). Walton’s cutting ability is truly special and will put him in early pick territory. You would think with this kind of speed that he would break everything outside, but not the case. He is able to go up the middle and has more north south mentality than you would expect. Overall the only thing not to like is his weight and injury history, and I’m not sure I can hold it against him.

Our Grade: 3rd rd

Projected: 2nd rd

Pro Comp: Justin Forsett

Nick Chubb (Georgia)

Nick Chubb is highly ranked and I just don’t like him. I don’t know what it is and can’t place it. He was at one time my favorite freshman in the country, and I know he’s powerful and athletic but as my team enters the draft, I couldn’t condone or encourage them drafting him. It’s odd. It’s hard to define this instinct or dislike. It’s possible that he reminds me of Mike Hart who was an old Michigan running back who was one of my favorites as a kid but never did well as a pro because he got hurt…that sounds stupid. Maybe it’s that Chubb doesn’t always display consistent balance, or that he runs into his own blockers, or that he isn’t creative and runs blind, or that he puts up too many negative plays, or that he breaks too many runs to the outside when he should be running north, or that he’s one dimensional and doesn’t catch, or that I liked his backup Sony Michel better, or that he’s not the player he used to be; it’s hard to define, so call it an instinct. I feel weird saying this but I think Jordan Wilkins will have a better NFL career than Nick Chubb. It’s how I genuinely feel. So, on record Nick Chubb vs. Jordan Wilkins will have to go down as a scouting experiment, a way to either learn a good or a bad lesson. Do I stick with instinct? Or, do I disregard feelings and strictly watch tape? The real question is: is my instinct caused by something I see in the tape but can’t define with words, or is my instinct just silly feelings that I should disregard? The answer to that question we’ll know in two to three years and I’ll be a better scout because of it. Overall Chubb’s game resembles Jonathan Stewart or Michael Turner, and his nickname should be the muscle hamster. Aside from my personal dislike, Chubb is athletic enough although you wouldn’t call him fast, very tough, and breaks a lot of tackles. He plays strong and runs low with balance, and he was very effective, having put up a great career at Georgia. He reminds me of an old Vanderbilt runner Zac Stacey who actually might have had a good career but I don’t think he had a great opportunity, team, or chance to play. My personal baseless (or, not) vendetta aside, Chubb will be picked higher than I grade him and I wish him well as long as he isn’t playing my team, but I don’t necessarily want him on my team.

Our Grade: 4th rd

Projected: 3rd rd

Pro Comp: Mike Hart

*Lavon Coleman (Washington)

Lavon Coleman is a big strong runner with natural feet and enough wiggle, balance and vision to have a shot to be a producer in the NFL. He plays fast and aggressive and can catch and block well enough to stay on the field all 3 downs. He’s the type of player when you watch the tape you wonder why he’s not ranked higher. He is very easy to like and could surprise some people. He definitely looks like a pro runner I just worry about his physical style opening him up for too many hits. He needs to be smart about when to stay on feet and when to live to fight another day.

Our Grade: 4th rd

Projected: 5th rd

Pro Comp: Chris Ivory

*Chase Edmonds (Fordham)

Chase Edmonds was born to play running back and is clearly the best sleeper prospect at running back. He looks small but is built powerfully. Very creative and strong. At 5’9 205 pound, has the nastiest stiff arm and uses it a lot. Willing blocker, awesome feet, shifty when he has to be, burst when he needs it, and runs people over when he has to. Natural vision and can run inside or out. Unfortunately, at D2 level, breaks most runs to the outside which he can’t do as a pro. Feisty attitude, and one of my favorite prospects at running back in a long time. He can catch, kick return, block, run any kind of run, and he broke rushing records at Fordham, like averaging 21 yards a carry against ULL. He would have broken the all time 4 year yardage record but missed 5 games as he was closing in on history. He is the most deceptively powerful back in the class and I would rather him on my team than Nick Chubb (considering value and where likely drafted). I worry about injury because he is very physical for his size and his toughness gets the best of him often taking hits he shouldn’t. But, he even after big hits, he gets back up and makes more plays anyway. If the Saints draft a running back, this is their kind of guy and I think some team will fall in love with him much like Tarik Cohen last year to the Bears. It used to be that you could get Danny Woodhead type players undrafted if they came from D2 and were undersized but with such a good combine performance, I think those days are over, and expect Edmonds to get picked anywhere from 4th to 6th round. I’m not sure why he went to Fordham because clearly he has talent to where he could have played SEC, but it worked out well being a 4 year dominant starter and truthfully D2 miles are not the same as SEC miles. Edmonds wrecked the combine leading all backs at the 3 cone (same time as Doug Martin and Ameer Abdullah), leading all backs at the 20 yard shuttle (9th all time, same time as Melvin Gordon), 3rd in the 60 yard shuttle, 5th in the broad jump , 5th in bench press. Overall, Edmonds looks and plays like Darren Sproles and is shaped like James White or Gio Bernard, but his comp could be Danny Woodhead because both were record breaking undersized D2 athletes that made the league with versatile game.

Our Grade: 4th rd

Projected:5th rd

Pro Comp: Charcandrick West

Bo Scarbrough (Alabama)

Bo Scarbrough is an extremely strong and big runner who plays very mean; nobody wants to get hit by this dude. He can catch ok and has better long speed than short area initial speed or burst. He’s a freight train in that sense. He lacks creativity and sometimes misses obvious lanes which makes you question his vision. He dishes big time contact. Doesn’t block as well as strength would indicate because he doesn’t commit to the block but at times he’s very willing. Has a tendency to break runs outside that he should cut north. Believe it or not, I expect him to be used more in the passing game when it comes to pro game. Many times runs into wall instead of looking for a crease. He looks a lot like Derrick Henry or Eddie George but I’m not sure if he has the same vision or creativity. If he were more creative, he’d be a top pick but without premiere vision, he’s more of a one dimensional power and balance specimen that may be used in one yard situations and sometimes in open field catching passes.

Our Grade: 4th rd

Projected: 4th rd

Pro Comp: Chris Carson

Royce Freeman (Oregon)

Royce Freeman has pro skills but breaks too many runs to the outside. He’s either montee ball and will not make it in the NFL or he’s patient before the attack, can make the first person miss, catch comfortably, block willingly, and break runs to the outside despite being 230 pounds. His vision is good and you can’t argue with his production. You want better balance after contact and want to see him use his leverage and size more, but he has talent. The problem with watching Freeman is he breaks his runs to the outside on almost every run. If he’s comfortable on the outside then I would pass to him 10 to 15 times a game, but I’m not sure if I’d run him up the guy 20 times because he doesn’t show that knack enough. I’m not sure if it’s play-calling or style so he is a very tough player to grade. Overall, he looks like a well rounded player with one sever limitation (or at least perceived limitation with breaking runs outside) and he even shows willingness to block. Overall, Royce Freeman is the hardest person I’ve scouted in this draft. I remember liking him as I watched him live and thinking how can a guy this big move this quickly but I’m not sure if he is going to adjust his style and preference when he goes pro. He does have skills though and has pro bowl level cutting, vision, athleticism, size, durability, agility and movement but if he can’t get up the middle he won’t make it. His production is unreal like 6400 yards and 64 touchdowns in 4 years.

Our Grade: 4th rd

Projected:3rd rd

Pro Comp: Terrence West

John Kelly (Tennessee)

John Kelly plays football like he cares; there’s an entirely different tone to his tape than most players. Absolutely nasty stiff arm and good tackle breaking power. Isn’t an elite athlete, doesn’t jump off the tape with speed or burst, but he runs mean with balance and has aggressive vision. He blocks mean and may be one of the best pass blockers at his position. Attacks the hole, looks to be creative, fights for every single inch. Gets the most out of play that he can. Shows enough quickness and strength to make a living in pros even though you wouldn’t consider him athletic. Lacks pile moving strength but can knock a man out or run a person over and does a good job lowering his shoulder upon contact. Gives more hits than he takes. Catches really well in the screen game and should make a pro roster on pass catching, blocking and heart alone. Plays like Pierre Thomas, Matt Asiata, or Kevin Faulk – powerful 3rd down back who plays with physicality, energy, and vision but may be slightly less athletic. Don’t bet against a player with this much heart. Suspended 1 game for getting arrested for weed.

Our Grade: 4th rd

Projected: 5th rd

Pro Comp: CJ Anderson

Josh Adams (Notre Dame)

Josh Adams displays fantastic patience and looks athletic. Looks like a pro, moves well, and has a good build. He’s tall and on the thing side but looks like a pure athlete. Takes time to build speed. Plays powerfully for a thinner frame and is a shifty cut back. You like that he lowers pad level in many cases but you wish he had better speed because he can get caught from behind. Everyone told him how dumb he was to leave a year early, but after 3500 yards in 3 years and getting banged up, I’m not sure what else he had to prove. Not a strong pass blocker will hurt ability to be a 3 down back and I can’t remember him catching any passes in the Notre Dame games. Doesn’t always fall forward through people and takes more hits than he should but overall he’s smart. What really separates him is his patience (and athleticism). He approaches the line with poise then looks good getting into the second level. He’s better before contact and doesn’t always break through physicality or opposing bodies. Tall build, biggest risk is lower body injury. Overall, there’s no denying talent and he’s the kind of player you would want on a good team to bring in as an athletic closer late in season and late in games, especially as a playoff back once other teams are worn down and tired. He’s not overly creative and will need a good zone blocking team around him. I would have liked to see him catch more because he’s better in space and I picture him with a team like the packers or redskins, but he’s pretty system diverse.

Our Grade: 4th rd

Projected: 5th rd

Pro Comp: Devontae Booker

*Jordan Wilkins (Mississippi)

Jordan Wilkins is one of the few running backs in the class that I would consider persistent and creative. He is an all around player, catches well, power, fast enough, sleeper alert for sure. I love his shiftiness and toughness and even though he’s not as big or strong as you might like but he makes up for it with backyard style love for the game. He’s shaped a lot like the old Vikings back Robert Smith or Donald Brown but plays tougher than his thin build indicates. For value, Wilkins is the best steal in the draft and probably my favorite running back prospect considering where he’ll be picked. Missed junior year for off the field problems and has little wear on the tires. Biggest reason he will fall was he didn’t measure well and ran a 4.71 40 yard dash, so if somehow he goes undrafted, he instantly becomes priority free agent. His game is identical to Ryan Grant who was an undrafted stud for the Packers back in the day, and by the way, they measure the exact same.

Our Grade: 4th rd

Projected: 6th rd

Pro Comp: Ryan Grant

*Justin Crawford (West Virgina)

Justin Crawford is a throwback shifty runner who will lower his shoulder and knock the shit out of you. On many plays the asked him to lead block and he blocks serious. He’s an open field nightmare with great vision, natural movement, and even though he’s a smaller guy, he looks the part for a third down back and possible all down back. He takes a lot of shots that he shouldn’t which is concerning but he is tough. Jordan Crawford is the reason I wouldn’t draft running backs high because guys like this go undrafted and there is so much to work with. He was a state champ at long jump in high school and shows enough versatility in his game to contribute all over the field. His biggest problem is he doesn’t attack the middle of the line and gaps that have small openings, but I think he could be a steal and productive player. Not the type of guy I’d bet against. As far as pro comp, he looks like a tougher Reggie Bush. He’s a 5’11 199 pound shifty player who can catch. Crawford isn’t as athletic as Bush was when it comes to combine stuff, but he’s also tougher. Overall, he’s Giovani Bernard with slightly less speed and a 15 pound less frame.

Our Grade: 6th rd

Projected: Undrafted

Pro Comp: Giovani Bernard

*Roc Thomas (Jacksonville State)

Roc Thomas is a smaller back who attacks the hole faster than almost any other back in the class. I appreciate his ambition and ability to receive. He also is dynamite in the open field and has the ability to make people miss. He’s the kind of guy that would have been your favorite guy to play with on the playground. He’s tough and knows how to take hits. Built small, Thomas is strong with a lot of his strength in the legs. He was a top 5 back coming out of high school and the pedigree is obvious. His spin move is outstanding and he uses it often. Overall, he will come in as a 3rd down back because he’s small, not but it would not surprise me if he out toughed that role and earned time as a feature back at times. I did a pro comp to ahmad bradshaw because he was the only back under 200 pounds recently that I could think of that played with an attacking style. They are different, but there’s not a low of guys I can compare roc too so he is a unique prospect.

Our Grade: 6th rd

Projected: 7th rd

Pro Comp: Ahmad Bradshaw

Phillip Lindsay (Colorado)

Phillip Lindsay is a smaller fast 3rd down back with vision and cutting ability. He had good production at the college level and is clearly very fast on the field but he is not build like your typical pro. Super thin build means you will have to manage his touches, but there is no denying his athleticism. He even sticks his nose into blocks and with his ability to run great routes and catch, he will make a roster as a third down back. You just worry is he going to be like a Jahvid Best where he’s super athletic but too small to hang in the league. At best though he could be like a Marcus Murphy or DJ Foster.

Our Grade: 7th rd

Projected: 5th rd

Pro Comp: Marcus Murphy

D’Ernest “Junkyard Dog” Johnson (South Florida)

D’Ernest Johnson may be the gem of the undrafted players because he is Mr. Versatility. Built well and athletic, I love players like this. He can catch naturally; break tackles with strength or speed and is the most well rounded player on offense. Lays everything on the line; he is a Jack of All Trades and was his teams MVP. I saw him lineup wide, catch passes deep, break runs outside, run up the gut and move the pile, take massive hits and get back up, catch screens with his fingertips and take it to the house, kick return, punt return touchdowns like a sicko for touchdowns, pass block aggresively, throw a 50 yard bomb, throw 2 touchdowns, break an inside run with no lane to the outside and outrun the entire defense for 45 yards only to dive from the 5 yard line and make it to the endzone like superman, tackle as a gunner on punt coverage, and run through the pile on goal line situations. His offensive line’s blocking was atrocious so that might be a big reason why he didn’t crack 1,000 yards. He’ll go undrafted because he’s not a super athlete and I don’t expect him to have lots of punt return success at the NFL level because lack of pure speed; also, his feet are slightly choppy instead of smooth like most pro athletes, but you have to love his overall game and toughness. He does take some huge hits because he’s not super fast, but I imagine a guy that does this much on the field could contribute on special teams as a gunner and his coaches will love him. I think his best attribute is natural hands and could be a great 3rd down back in screen situations who can contribute in other facets of the game like special teams. As a runner he doesn’t display the best vision or footwork but he runs low and tough and gets north south quick with ability to make people miss with jukes. He’s creative but doesn’t have great functional strength.

Our Grade: 7th rd

Projected: Undrafted

Pro Comp: Trey Edmunds

Underestimated Undrafted:

*Martez Carter (Grambling State)

Martez Carter was a really strong player for Grambling State and showed enough speed to take it to the house and enough strength and toughness to get up from big hits. He had some great punt and kick returns against Southern but there are also a lot of times he takes massive hits. His speed and power combination is definitely enough to make a pro roster. He could be the sleeper in the undrafted class just from burst alone. Averaged a lot of yards per carry, kick returned, caught the ball well, pretty good all around game against not great competition. His acceleration jumps off the tape.

Our Grade: 7th round

Projected: Undrafted

*Demario Richard (Arizona State)

Demario Richard is a patient pinball who bounces off contact with great power and balance. He lacks speed but can’t argue with his power. His vision is good enough to get to the second level but there are times where he displays too much patience because he doesn’t have burst. He could be a pro guy from power alone. Built like a bowling ball. If you needed a pure power player tackle breaker, could have a late round grade.

Our Grade: 7th round

Projected: Undrafted

Akrum Wadley (Iowa)

Akrum Wadley is a one dimensional 3rd down back with extremely natural hands who lacks explosion and power to really be an effective pro as a consistent 3 down back. His vision is good and hands make him a 3rd down option to catch passes but he breaks a lot outside and lacks tools that I like to see in a pro back. He is shifty but does not play as fast as his 40 time, combined with small frame and size, I probably wouldn’t draft him earlier than the 5th round and if I did draft him it would be for one role, catching passes out the backfield and nothing else.

Our Grade: Undrafted

Projected: 5th rd

Pro Comp: DJ Foster

Darrel Williams (LSU)

Darrel Williams is a limited athlete who could be a strength player and goal line back. I like his vision and north south mentality, and even appreciate his desire to block and move the pile, but his role is limited to short yardage situations due to lack of speed. There are flashes of athleticism but I’m not sure he’ll look like an athlete on the pro level. He’s a tough guy to scout. There’s a chance he could put up 20 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown in a pro game, but there’s also a chance he could be the next Charles Scott who broke LSU’s touchdown record but wasn’t athletic enough to crack the league.
Our Grade: Undrafted

Projected: 7th rd
Pro Comp: Charles Scott

Nyheim Hines (NC State)

Nyheim Hines ran a blazing fast 40 so most likely he gets drafted, but he has a very small build and I see limitations even as a 3rd down speed back or punt returner because he lacks requisite pro level strength. He led the ACC in all purpose yards so scouts will give more credit than they should, but he is just too one dimensional of a player and I’m not so sure he has the tools to make the pro leap. Hines is everything wrong with pro scouting. I think no team should have a draftable grade on a player this small. When he gets hit and he just folds back like a lawn chair and he will not hold up on the pro level in my estimation. Speed and vision can only get you so far if you don’t have strength, but some team will get duped by his track speed instead of judging based on tape.

Our Grade: Undrafted

Projected: 5th rd

Pro Comp: Jeff Demps

Justin Jackson (Northwestern)

Justin Jackson dominated the combine with agility drills, which is funny because when I first watched his tape, I had him listed as slow. He throws his little body in the mix on blocks, but I don’t think he is big enough to make a difference at the pro level. His feet are quick and he goes towards the middle instead of breaking it outside, but I don’t think a small guy who is a long strider like this can make the jump. But, he is tough and might have a shot as a third down back in the right system.

Our Grade: Undrafted

Projected: 7th rd

Pro Comp: Garrett Wolfe

Jarvion Franklin (Western Michigan)

Jarvion Franklin looks slow, but is powerful. Shifty side to side, hardest to figure value, have to see against pros, like him, sort of a mean throwback but doesn’t engage on pass blocks well enough and really doesn’t look explosive enough to make it pro. One problem is all tape is out the spread and ouit of shotgun and Franklin’s build would make you think he’d be better out of I formation. He appears to have movement side to side and generally gets to second level (sort of with ease too) but hard to scout because of system. I’d give him a shot in a run heavy system and he is built like a pro even if he’s not athletic. He could actually end up being a 20 carry guy. He looks sort of like a Terrence West type but better physicality and north south. I like him as a sleeper for sure. He’s the sort of reason you don’t even have to draft running backs any more.

Our Grade: 7th rd

Projected: Undrafted

Pro Comp: Corey Clement

Jordan Chunn (Troy)

Jordan Chunn is a power back who shows shome acceleration when needed but lacks overall speed. Various times he reminds me of Vick Ballard, I think just the idea of a big back who likes to go airborn which Chunn does okay. It’s hard to ignore production of almost 50 touchdowns, but overall he’s not a creative back and that’s all you get is a short yardage grinder. He can pile move and fall forward through bodies but you want to see better balance because he trips over himself a lot and you want to see more patience as he reads the defense and better vision.

Our Grade: 7th rd

Projected: Undrafted

Pro Comp: Vick Ballard

Chris Warren (Texas)

Chris Warren is the most powerfully built physique at running back in this draft. He is very big and powerful especially in legs. I like his intensity and he applies it even while pass blocking. His father Chris Warren was a former pro and he certainly taught his son to hit the weights. Warren can move the pile with power or run you over (which we consider two separate skill sets and types of power). He made insane hurdle plays showing explosion in that regard, but doesn’t have initial burst going from 0 to 100, there’s a slight hiccup before he hits top speed which is his biggest weakness. He’s the same size as Brandon Jacobs so that’s the initial comp you want to make but when you put Jacob’s tape side by side with Warren, warren is much less athletic in speed and agility but just as powerful if not more. He does hold the all time single game freshman record for yards in a game at 276 and against texas tech has a beast mode run that will make saints fans sick with nostalgia. Warren was criminally underused at Texas so left as a Junior, but unless he works on burst and catching, he’ll have tough time seeing action beyond 3rd down short yardage situations or pass blocking situations. But, if he develops hands to catch and gets the ball in his hands with momentum (at full speed) already built I would think that would be the best way to beat his weakness of lacking burst and utilizing his strength of open field strength.

Our Grade: Undrafted

Projected: Undrafted

Pro Comp: Slow Brandon Jacobs

Our Grades: Undrafted

Kamryn Pettway (Auburn)

Kamryn Pettway is a big boy who likes to run with power and he seeks contact. He lacks footspeed and may be better fit as a fullback. I like his power and he gets super low upon contact. When he does get in open filed he looks like one lumbering slow bastard. He has okay burst and agility just no speed. Hes got a shot to make a roster though and I certainly wouldn’t want to tackle him 20 times a game. He’d have to get lots and lots of carries in the pros to be effective or strictly used as a goalline back. I like his vision and power.

Larry Rose (New Mexico State)

Had production and made a living with vision and making people miss. He’s got a shot to make a roster just from his ability to get thin through the hole and get to the second level. He definitely sells his cuts and I like his game. Appears to have a thin frame and doesn’t have any one great attribute like power or speed. Agility and vision are his bread and butter but at the next level he might get caught dancing trying to avoid contact instead of attacking, and also may lack power to move bodies. Rose is nimble though and moves differently in a odd patient manner.

Ito Smith (Southern Miss)

Ito Smith is an undersized runner with good vision who can catches but a small build who may not be athletic enough to make it pro.

Jeff Wilson (North Texas)

Jeff Wilson is an undersized runner with a north south nose and lots of production. 17 fumbles at his size probably won’t cut it.

Ryan Nall (Oregon State)

Ryan Nall is a big lumbering power back who gets lots of yards after contact but will probably move to fullback due to lack of speed. He is a John Kuhn, Zach Line type. Lacks quick feet. Has power.

Keith Ford (Texas A&M)

Keith Ford lacks skills to stay on the field all three downs. He doesn’t block well but he is a a physical runner with a pro build and breaks tackles with ease. He has shifty enough feet to make a roster but is overly patient. Needs to attack the hole and use better vision. With some coaching up he has a shot to make a pro roster just with ability to squirt through the line and break tackles.

Ralph Webb (Vanderbilt)

Ralph Webb could be serviceable but he takes a lot of hits and lacks juice. He has power and put up a ton of stats in the SEC playing for Vanderbilt. He showed ability to catch out the backfield really well, but he is not fast enough to avoid contact at critical times. He goes to the outside too much instead of hitting the inside gaps. I don’t see a pro unless he does a better jump hitting north south up the middle. He sure is tough though taking and giving hits and just keeps getting up and running it again. I think he lacks vision to be a pro.

Kyle Hicks (TCU)

Kyle Hicks has natural hands and some vision but he lacks power big time. Possibly to a disqualifying degree. He is super shifty and can make 3 players miss in a phone booth so offers value as a third down back as a an undrafted guy. He is the type to lose yards on a few in a row then take one 20+, but as a runner I don’t see a pro threat.

Jalin Moore (Appalachian State)

Jalin Moore is hard to get a pulse on because played against bad competition, but he looks agile. He won conference player of the year but is a smaller guy. He gets upfield quickly but lacks power to move bodies. Nothing really jumps off the tape. Doesn’t have the skills all around I look for despite some agility and burst.

Warren Ball (Akron)

Warren Ball tape looks like high school and he looks lumbering.

James Butler (Iowa)

James Butler is small, not fast, nothing special.

DeAngelo Brewer (Tulsa)

DeAngelo Brewer may not have size speed athleticism. Nothing jumps off tape.

Terry Swanson (Toledo)

Terry Swanson runs north south but that’s about it. He was a doak walker candidate so production was ok. Runs low pad level but honestly hard to get much tape so I can’t make a call. I’m not sure he has the feet or power. Doesn’t look like typical pro back but shows some vision.

Ray Lawry (Old Dominion)

Ray Lawry doesn’t move like a pro, bounces off people, vision may make up for no speed, but not the competition or tape enough to make call.

Nick Wilson (Arizona)

Nick Wilson doesn’t look the part to me.