Mike Mayock revealed his top five running backs prior to the NFL Scouting Combine.
This is probably a position that the Bengals won’t be addressing via the draft since they have a number of young running backs on their roster already. The Browns will probably be in the market for a running back though, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see one of these guys twice a season for years to come.
1). Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Barkley is viewed as not only the best running back of this class, but he is also one of the best overall players of this draft. He is viewed so highly that there have been talks that the Browns should take him first overall.
I’m inclined to disagree with that notion as it could cause them to miss out on which ever quarterback they prefer from the five to choose from. Still his talent will probably land him somewhere in the top three. His speed and shiftiness will make him one of the better running backs in the league in a few years. There are concerns over his ability to move a pile, but a creative offensive coordinator can cause plenty of nightmares by getting him in the open field as often as possible.
2). Derrius Guice, LSU
The latest of the LSU running backs could end up being the best. He played through injuries his last season, but before that he was one of the best running backs in the country. He is able to combine the abilities of getting consistent yards after contact with a home run hitting ability. He should end up off the board far later than a player of his talent should go. He could even end up being a steal towards the end of the first round.
3). Ronald Jones II, USC
Jones’ small frame will limit his chances to have an effect on games at the next level. At 5’11 and only 200 pounds, he will has to be on a carry count at the next level. He is a patient runner, but his vision inside needs to improve. He has home run threat speed, but he needs to go to a team that can create lanes via a good offensive line.
4). Sony Michel, Georgia
Michel is a real throw back runner. He doesn’t get fancy behind the line of scrimmage. He attacks north and south every play. He isn’t going to get you that game changing long run, and he isn’t going to dodge defenders in the open field. He will be able to consistently gain yards though, and that is something that has been underrated in today’s NFL.
5). Nick Chubb, Georgia
Chubb suffered a horrific knee injury during his college career, but he looks to be recovered now. It does seem like he may have lost a step though. Still, much like Michel, he is a very good north and south runner, and he possesses the ability to run through arm tackles. The major knock on Chubb is his lack of value on third down, which will likely have him going later than he should.