Prospects Spotlight: 2019 Draft Running Backs

 

By Michael Stewart @golferbad

Introduction: You may think that the Giants wouldn’t consider drafting another running back as they have for the past three seasons, but consider that free agent signee Jonathan Stewart is making $3.925M this season and will make $3.2M in 2019. That’s a large chunk of money for a running back that is being used sparingly. Let’s not forget that Wayne Gallman could be in jeopardy as a former draft pick from the old regime. The 2019 running back class is not as deep or talented as the 2018 class was, but they do have a number of backs that can be productive players in the NFL.  Below are the current top 10 running backs in the 2019 draft class. With so many months away from the draft, a lot could change and this will certainly need to be updated.  

  1. David Montgomery (Iowa State) 5’11/222: Montgomery is currently ranked 1st among the running backs in the 2019 draft. Montgomery is coming off a breakout season in 2017, and he seems to fit the mold of a modern running back in the sense that he provides value both on the ground and through the air. Montgomery finished with 1,146 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
  2. Justice Hill (Oklahoma State) 5’10/190: Hill currently ranked 2nd among the running backs in the 2019 draft. Hill has been excellent in his first two seasons with the Cowboys; rushing for a combined 2,609 Yards and 21 touchdowns on 5.5 yards per carry. With the departure of quarterback Mason Rudolph and wide receiver James Washington, Hill is expected to be the centerpiece of the Oklahoma State offense.
  3. Bryce Love (Stanford) 5’11/213: Love is currently ranked 3rd among the running backs in the 2019 draft. Love has an excellent jump cut that he uses when receiving the ball, picks a hole decisively and can burst through the hole. Not a true power back, but not a scat back, either. Has the athletic attributes, including top end speed to be a dual threat receiver / pass catcher, but hasn’t had much of an opportunity as a receiver at Stanford.
  4. Damien Harris (Alabama) 5’10/196: Harris is currently ranked 4th among the running backs in the 2019 draft. Harris might have been a little under the radar last year, but not entering this season. Harris is an excellent open field runner as he can put his foot in the ground, change directions and get into high gear quickly.  Big plays, increased awareness in pass pro and in the passing game will cause his draft stock to rise.
  5. Rodney Anderson (Oklahoma) 6’1/219: Anderson is currently ranked 5th among the running backs in the 2019 draft. Anderson is a do it all back that is deadly in the open field where he can quickly change direction and get into top gear after a cut. A power back with speed, he is a weapon in the passing game with good hands and can make the catch and effortlessly transition to making yards after catch. He was briefly charged with rape, but the charges were dismissed and he passed a lie detector test
  6. Mike Weber (Ohio State) 5’10/212: Weber is currently ranked 6th among the running backs in the 2019 draft. Weber hasn’t seen a lot of action, but in the time that he has, has proven to be an effective speedster, capable of big plays. The intriguing part of his game is how much he can develop into a hybrid running and receiving threat, coveted by many NFL offenses.
  7. Devin Singletary (Florida Atlantic) 5’9/200: Singletary is currently ranked 7th among the running backs in the 2019 draft. Singletary is at his best when he’s going downhill using his quickness and lateral agility to make defenders miss and get to open running lanes. Using this lateral agility and burst Singletary is able to juke away from defenders but also get to open space to reel off yardage.
  8. Myles Gaskin (Washington) 5’10/191: Gaskin in currently 8th among the running backs in the 2019 draft. Gaskin has a lot of positives to his game, but he’s most impressive as a pass protector. He does a great job attacking the blitzes and protecting the quarterback. Gaskin’s has good balance as a runner and does a solid job following his blockers.
  9. Benny Snell Jr. (Kentucky) 5’11/223: Snell Jr. is currently ranked 9th among the running back in the 2019 draft. Snell never stops moving forward and is at his best after initial contact. Snell finished the 2017 with 1,333 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns.
  10. Jacques Patrick (Florida State) 6’3/235: Patrick is currently ranked 10th among the running backs in the 2019 draft. Patrick isn’t the fastest back or the most elusive, however; Patrick is a skilled power running back who is also efficient in the passing game on screens and short passes in the flats. In the right system, Patrick would excel and provide solid production as a utility back.

Final Thoughts: GM Dave Gettleman could still decide not to look at the draft for depth in the backfield. He could also consider the two current running backs on the practice squad in Robert Martin and Jhurell Pressley, who both showed ability in pre-season. Other options could be through free agency as there should be several serviceable running backs available that won’t break the bank. Lastly, Gettleman could decide not to draft a running back at all and go with his current group.

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