This is, like last year, a NFL Draft that may not feature a first round pick of a running back. 8 of my top 10 backs are underclassmen. A list of the best backs in America would actually begin with some sophomores so for many of these underclassmen it is about striking when the iron is hot, and they’ll have more value in this draft than the next.
Of this group, I think only the first two guys have a shot at being first round picks. Running back is a position that has been de-emphasized both in pro and college. There are so many committees and so few work-horses any more that it makes less and less sense to spend a high pick on a back. You better make sure the guy is near flawless, and is a big-play machine to take him early. That’s why I think the first two guys will go pro, and will make solid pros.
Just look at the 2012 draft as an example of what a crap-shoot it can be. The first 7 backs were taken in the first 3 rounds: Trent Richardson, Doug Martin, David Wilson, Isaiah Pead, LaMichael James, Ronnie Hillman, and Bernard Pierce.
Lamar Miller in the 4th and Alfred Morris in the 5th have outperformed all these guys except Martin. Some of those guys barely play, or don’t play at all.
It’s just not a position to take a risk at unless you are sure. Really sure.
These are my top guys for this year’s draft.
*- denotes underclassmen
1. Lache Seastrunk, Baylor*
2. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin*
3. Bishop Sankey, Washington*
4. Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona*
5. Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
6. James Wilder Jr., FSU*
7. Tre Mason, Auburn*
8. Charles Sims, West Virginia
9. Malcolm Brown, Texas*
10. Devonta Freeman, FSU*