By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: This year’s running back class might not have a Saquan Barkley coming out, but the group does feature some highly skilled players ranging from rounds 1 through 7. Many of the running backs coming out this year have displayed a more diversified role and talent than in year’s past as many can hurt you on the ground and as a receiver. Let’s take a look at my top 10 college running backs for this season.
- Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin) 5’11/215: Taylor finished the 2019-20 season with 2,003 rushing yards (6.3 yards per carry) along with 21 touchdowns. Overall; Taylor has rushed for more 6,174 yards during his college career at Wisconsin (3 years). Taylor has power and speed, but perhaps his best attribute is his ability to make quick decisions through the line of scrimmage.
- Chuba Hubbard (Oklahoma State) 6’1/207: Hubbard led the nation in rushing yards with 2,094; good for 6.4 yards per carry and 21 touchdowns. Hubbard can create yardage on his own with his elusiveness and the ability gains yards after first contact. Travis Etienne (Clemson) 5’10/215: Etienne is extremely elusive to go along with his powerful frame. Etienne rushed for 1,536 yards (5.8) with 18 touchdowns and has the ability to accelerate quickly and to make defenders miss with his quick cuts. Etienne will have a larger role this season for the Tigers; which should enhance his draft stock.
- J.K Dobbins (Ohio State) 5’10/214: Dobbins is viewed more of a multi-dimensional type of running back, as he can hurt you on the ground (2,003 yards) and in the passing game 247 yards on 23 receptions totaling 21 touchdowns. Dobbins has excellent vision and acceleration that will bold well on draft day.
- D’Andre Swift (Georgia) 5’9/215: Swift is compact, powerful with a strong base as he rushed for 1,218 yards and 10 touchdowns. Swift displays a lot of patience through the line as he waits for the holes to develop. Swift is very difficult to bring due to his strong lower body and his excellent balance/leverage.
- Cam Akers (Florida State) 5’11/210: Akers didn’t get as many touches (231/1,144 yards) as some of the backs coming out of this draft, however; NFL teams are well aware of his ability. Akers has shown the ability to not only run the ball, but he also he a lethal weapon as a receiver out of the backfield. Akers has great vision and get cut on a dime and often makes opposing defenders miss.
- Najee Harris (Alabama) 6’2/230: Harris is a big, strong back that can not only run over you, but also can run around you and make you miss. Harris rushed for 1,224 yards and 20 touchdowns for Alabama as his combination of power and speed to go along with his elusiveness will make him a desirable selection in the upcoming draft.
- Cam Akers (Florida State) 5’11/210: Akers has shown the ability to not only run the ball, but he also he a lethal weapon as a receiver out of the backfield. Akers has great vision and get cut on a dime and often makes opposing defenders miss.
- Zack Moss (Utah) 5’10/210: Moss has elite vision and utilizes his quick acceleration to his advantage. Moss rushed for 1,416 yards (6.0) with 15 touchdowns and comes from a football family as his cousins are former NFL players Santana and Sinorice Moss. Moss has inherited many of his cousin’s attributes such as: speed, elusiveness and desire.
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU) 5’9/212: Edwards-Helaire had some setbacks this season with nagging injuries and only managed to carry the ball 199 times good for 1,304 yards and 16 touchdowns. However; Edwards-Helaire has the prototype body and ability to succeed in the NFL and should hear his name called upon possibly on Day 2.
- A.J Dillon (Boston College) 6’0/245: Dillon has an extremely thick frame and has the ability to either run over you or evade you totally 1,685 yards and 14 touchdowns. Dillon is extremely athletic for his size as he can contribute in the passing and be a devastating blocker. Dillon’s freakish agility and speed combination for his size will be sort after by many NFL teams looking for an all-purpose running back.
Final Thoughts: The unclear on whether or not Giants GM Dave Gettleman would consider drafting a running back or look to go through free agency instead. The future of backup Wayne Gallman could be in jeopardy this off season and if so, Gettleman could be in search for running back depth not only in free agency, but also in the draft.