With the NFL draft only days away it’s time to take a close look at the best running backs in this years’ draft class. I’ll give you a brief breakdown of each players strengths according to what the film tells us and what NFL running backs they most remind me of. So with that being said, let’s take a look!
Number Five – T.J. Logan – North Carolina
T.J. Logan stands at 5’9″ and weighs 196 pounds; the North Carolina product ran the fastest 40 yard time at the combine among running backs (4.37 seconds) and it shows in his highlight film. Racking up seven rushing touchdowns, three receiving touchdowns and two kick return touchdowns, his speed allows him to get to the edge and turn up field quickly and when he runs between the tackles his low center of gravity forces defenders to bring their entire body to the tackle because he easily breaks arm tackles. If he can add about 15-20 more pounds it will help him against bigger NFL linebackers.
NFL comparison – Doug Martin
Number Four – Christian McCaffrey – Stanford
Christian McCaffrey stands at 5’11” and weighs 202 pounds; McCaffrey ranked fourth among running backs at the combine for a 40 time of 4.48 seconds. McCaffrey is a shifty back whose strength is making defenders look silly in the open field. He’s also dangerous when he hits the open field with great vision to aid him in making “ankle-breaking” jukes. McCaffrey has decided to forgo his senior year at Stanford after racking up 5,128 total yards from scrimmage through three seasons with the Cardinals, a good idea which will allow him to save his talents for the pros.
NFL comparison – Reggie Bush
Number Three – Dalvin Cook – Florida State
Dalvin Cook stands at 5’10” and weighs 210 pounds; Cook’s a smooth runner who can find that second gear when he hits the open field even though his 4.50 time at his 40 yard dash is fairly pedestrian. Cook has great vision behind the line allowing him to exploit seams in the defense. Cook has good hands catching balls out of the backfield as well and averaged 11.4 yards per reception over the course of three seasons. Cook doesn’t take long strides so his footwork allows him to drive through the first hit.
NFL comparison – Matt Forte
Number 2 – Joe Mixon – Oklahoma
Joe Mixon stands at 6’1″ and weighs 226 pounds and there’s no doubt Mixon has plenty left in the tank for an NFL team since his off the field issues have kept him sidelined a lot of his college career. Mixon possess excellent vision behind the line and in the open field. His bigger frame allows him to break through arm tackles and his choppy footwork makes him a human highlight reel jumping and running circles around defenders. Though Mixon ran an unofficial 4.43 for his 40-yard dash, when he hits the open field he shifts into a hidden gear and finds ease pulling away from defenders.
NFL comparison – Adrian Peterson
Number One – Leonard Fournette – LSU
Leonard Fournette stands at 6’1″ and weights 240 pounds while running a 4.51 for his 40-yard dash at the combine, which isn’t bad for such a big man. Fournette doesn’t believe in juking defenders, his physical “beast-mode”-style running saw him making weekly highlight reels often during his college career. Fournette never goes down on first contact and often carries defenders with him when he runs. Give him the opportunity to get a full head of speed and he will make defenders pay. Averaging 6.2 yards per carry and compiling 41 touchdowns over the course of his three season at LSU, Leonard is also skipping his Senior year at LSU to enter the NFL draft.
NFL comparison – DeMarco Murray/Le’Veon Bell hybryd
So what did Raider Nation think of these five running backs? Also, did they make the cut for recent Two-Round Mock here at RaiderRamble.com? Stay tuned to RaiderRamble.com for all your latest original NFL draft reporting.