2017 NFL Draft-RB Overview

This year’s crop of running backs is deep. Balls deep, if you will. There are three prospects likely to be chosen in the first round, and several more who will go in rounds two through four who could be quality NFL starters. Of course, there will be those plodders who get overdrafted and manage to squeeze out four unspectacular seasons in the league, and those who will get hurt after showing promise early on in their careers. But I believe there are four or five running backs who will end up being solid NFL starters, several of whom will be available in Day Two.

Best Prospect-Dalvin Cook, Florida State
If only Dalvin Cook didn’t assault some guy outside of a bar where he was underage drinking, he would be the consensus top RB in this year’s class. Talent-wise, he’s better than Fournette, and is a much better pure runner than McCaffrey. Cook is incredibly quick with great vision to race through the open hole. He sifts through traffic with ease, and can work well in tight spaces. Along with this, Cook can make guys miss in the open field and sheds through arm tackles. He is as sure of a thing that there is, so long as he does not become an NFL Fuck Up, which is iffy.
NFL Comparison-Jamaal Charles

Biggest Bust Potential-Leonard Fournette, LSU
Leonard Fournette is overrated. It’s no longer a question. He is too big, indecisive at the line of scrimmage, lacks quickness, and is always looking for the big play. Fournette has the talent to make big plays, as he often did in college, but so did Reggie Bush, and Trent Richardson, and Mark Ingram. Fournette will not, I repeat, will not be a good NFL player. He will get eaten alive behind the line of scrimmage, and will resort to being a power back of sorts.
NFL Comparison-Mark Ingram
Side Note: I know that Ingram is a quality NFL running back, but he was not worth a first round pick, and he’s nothing special.

Slightly Overrated White Guy-Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that McCaffrey will be a solid pro. My concern is that he is a gadget player, and gadget players are hard to justify in round one. He’s a good runner with great athleticism, and the best receiving back in this class. I don’t see him as consistent 1,000 yard rusher in the NFL, but he’ll be a great tool on some team’s offense.
NFL Comparison-Reggie Bush

Not Scouted Because He’s Irrelevant at This Point-Joe Mixon, Oklahoma
I’m sure Mixon is a talented player and that he’ll be good for the Giants after they sign him as an undrafted rookie. But a video exists, and while it’s not the same as the Ray Rice video, he will still struggle to get a chance in the league, and to stay in the league.

Mid-Round Steal-Kareem Hunt, Toledo
I have no idea why Kareem Hunt isn’t getting more attention at this point. The dude’s a freaking stud with talent that will translate to the pros. Hunt’s one single most important trait that will serve him best in the NFL is his balance. He can sustain hits and contort his body in weird ways but maintain his balance. Hunt is the best in the class at working through traffic and taking whatever the defense gives to him. Despite the fact that he played at a college located in the Butthole of America, Hunt can play.
NFL Comparison-Frank Gore

Inspirational Story, But Actually Good at Football Too-James Conner, Pittsburgh
We see a lot of inspirational players whose story makes headlines, but are garbage on the field. Conner missed the 2015 season after undergoing treatment for cancer, but returned to his normal self this past season. Conner is a large back at 230, but is quick and agile. He also catches the ball well out of the backfield.
NFL Comparison-Arian Foster

Solid But Not Special-D’Onta Foreman, Texas
Another big back with decent agility, Foreman is more of a power guy than Conner. He has starting potential because of his athletic ability to compliment his power as a runner. He won’t be a superstar, but should be a serviceable back for a few years
NFL Comparison-Alfred Morris

The Small Sample Guy-Alvin Kamara-Tennessee
Kamara has generated some hype lately, and is being touted as a second round pick. He has excellent speed and quickness, and can maneuver quickly through traffic. He’s got a similar skill set to Dalvin Cook. However, Kamara never topped 700 yards rushing at Tennessee, and was never a primary back.
NFL Comparison-Early Career Felix Jones

2018 Roster Cut-Samaje Perine, Oklahoma
The other Oklahoma running back, Perine is all power with absolutely no speed. That kind of skill set rarely works out since even big guys need some speed to use their power effectively. Perine is not an NFL player.
NFL Comparison-David Cobb

Late Round Steal-Stanley Williams, Kentucky
Williams is about what you’d expect from a 5 foot 7 running back, he’s small and quick. While he has no business ever being a team’s starter, he could be a useful gadget player for a few years.
NFL Comparison-Dexter McCluster

Solid Complimentary Guys-Marlon Mack, USF; Wayne Gallman, Clemson
Both guys have similar skill sets and are set to be mid round picks. Mack is more athletic but smaller, and Gallman has more power. Neither one is a starter, but both could do well in a number two role.

I wish that I had time to review all the prospects but unfortunately, I don’t get paid six figures to get spray tans and pretend to know what I’m talking about. That’s the dream anyway.

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