The draft is right around the corner and it’s time to start having some rookies on your radar. The running back draft class is pretty deep this year and there are a few running backs that are outside my top 10 that still could make a splash this upcoming season. Take note, every decision matters when it comes to your fantasy team. With that being said–Here is my top 10 running backs entering the NFL Draft.
1Saquon Barkley-Penn State
It’s an easy consensus that Barkley is the number one running back coming out of the NFL draft. The real debate is if he should be the number one pick overall. The Penn State running back single-handedly carried the team on his back this past season posting 1,271 rushing yards with 21 total touchdowns. With career numbers of 3,843 rushing yards, 43 TD’s, 1,195 receiving yards, and 8 receiving TD’s, he’s been nothing short of stellar. I believe the Browns would be fools not to take Barkley number one overall. He’s clearly the best talent in the draft and will most certainly make an immediate impact.
Bryce Love -Stanford Returning to Stanford for Senior Season Love had one hell of a year. He finished with 2,118 rushing yards, 19 TD’s, and averaged 8.1 yards per game this season. The Heisman runner-up is someone teams should get extremely excited about. He’s got a great build at 5’10, 196lbs and is projected to go anywhere in the first 3 rounds of the NFL draft. This is definitely a player teams need to trade up to grab and fantasy owners should keep an eye out for in drafts.
3Ronald Jones II -USC
It was a close one, but I got the USC running back in the top 3. Ronald Jones had 1,550 rushing yards with 19 TD’s. His average per carry decreased a little since his freshman year, but I like the way he plays and I believe he will transition well into the NFL. He’s got a great build at 6’0, 200lbs, that will allow him to potentially be a TD machine in the NFL. He’s got elite plant and acceleration and is a very patient runner. Jones II needs to work on his cutbacks but will be a solid downhill runner. He’s also only had 2 fumbles over 591 carries, which NFL scouts will be excited about. He’s projected to go in the first two rounds of the draft.
4Derrius Guice– LSU
People thought it would be tough to fill the shoes of Leonard Fournette at LSU, but Guice did a great job in doing so. He had 1,251 rushing yards and 11 TD’s, which led the SEC. He’s well built with a powerful lower body and good overall size at 5’11, 211 lbs. Guice has the quality vision, great at cutting, and can establish his dominance at the end of the game. He will help teams in the blocking game but will need to improve as a third down back. He’s projected to go in the first two rounds of the draft as well. Scouts are comparing him to Marshawn Lynch, which is never a bad thing.
5Nick Chubb– Georgia
Georgia had the advantage of having two top 10 talents at running back this season, but I have Nick Chubb ahead of Sony Michel. Nick Chubb at 1,345 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns, barely edging out Sony Michel. Chubb posses a low center of gravity and strong base giving him balance to help stick yards after contact. Chubb is also effective with his off-hand at stiff arming, creating great separation. Needs to get a little quicker and more explosive, hasn’t looked as explosive after the leg injury in 2015. He also needs to improve his vision as well. Chubb isn’t overly elusive but does a great job at running through tackles with his great balance and body strength. He’s projected to go in rounds 3-4.
6Rashad Penny-San Diego State
Penny led the nation with 2,246 rushing yards and added 23 touchdowns, monster of a season. He has the size of an every down back that NFL teams desire. He’s a very patient runner and allows the blocking schemes to take place before making his move. In addition to all this, he’s a great kick returner as well. He averaged 31.9 yards per return, this would also get him more playing time right off the bat. Penny needs to get a little quicker for the next level, he seems to only have one speed when running. He needs to obtain that next level speed, so he can escape defenders at the second level. Right now, he’s projected to go in the first 2 rounds of the NFL draft.
7Kerryon Johnson– Auburn
Johnson provided Auburn with 1,391 rushing yards and 18 TDs. He earned first-team All-SEC Honors and earned Second Team Associated Press All-American. Johnson played basketball in high school which always transitions well to the next level. He’s an extremely fast runner that’s quick with his feet. He’s got multiple gears that he can turn on and fights for every single yard on every play. Johnson plays well in the screen game and check downs. Scouts are concerned that his frame and running style could lead to durability issues, which is why he is a little bit lower on the board. He’s projected to go after the second round.
8Royce Freeman– Oregon
Over the past years, the Ducks have produced dynamic players, and Royce Freeman continues the tradition. Throughout his 4 years at Oregon, he’s shown that he’s dependable, durable, and productive. His build, at 6’0-234 lbs., allows him to have natural power and absorb contact. Freeman is a downhill runner that has great vision. He’s projected to go in rounds 3-4, but I think that he is better than people give him credit for. With better blocking at the next level, he should be able to a very productive back.
9Sony Michel- Georgia
Some may argue that Sony Michel is the better back coming out of Georgia and I can’t blame them. they are both very good backs. Michel was able to get 1,227 rushing yards with 16 TDs– not too shabby for the second running back. Sony is a very decisive runner that rarely takes losses by trying to be a hero. He runs with great discipline by being able to gather himself and cut quickly. The consensus is that Michel’s vision needs to get a little better to be productive at the next level. He’s projected to go in round 2 or later.
10Bo Scarbrough– Alabama
This was a tough one, there is a lot of talent left that could be put into the top 10, but I had to go with Bo Scarbrough. He didn’t have the best 2017 season, but I like the possibilities that he will have at the next level. Scouts are comparing him to Derrick Henry, which just had his best season yet and has taken over the starting job in Tennessee. He’s a punisher behind the pads and plays with a steady tempo. With his powerful physique, he’s able to produce a lot of yards after contact. The biggest concern for scouts is his durability. He’s had an extensive injury prone past, which is why he’s projected at going between rounds 4 and 5.
1111. Akrum Wadley-Iowa
He received a third-team all-conference nod in 2017, starting 12 of 13 games played, covering 1,109 yards and scoring 10 times on 252 carries. He caught 28 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns. Wadley’s got premium athletic ability and his feet are light and electric. He’s a great pass catcher as well. The big concern for scouts is that he lacks the frame to carry the desired weight of an every down back and his blocking needs to improve. He will be an explosive back at the next level, but maybe not an every-down back. He’s projected to go in rounds 3-4.