Raiders

Raiders Draft: 2021 Running-Back Prospect Rankings

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Travis Etienne (Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports)

This year’s running back class is pretty weak, especially in terms of high-end talent. On the other hand, there is plenty of depth. Teams, Las Vegas Raiders included, will have a plethora of options on day three to bolster their running back rooms.

1. Najee Harris, SR, Alabama

Harris is the most complete back in this class. He has great patience and vision, which, combined with his size and athletic ability make him a dynamic runner. Also, he can stay out on the field on third down too. He has great hands and route running, plus, he’s reliable in pass protection. He looks a lot like Le’Veon Bell. The thing that separates Harris from the rest of the pack is his ability to create positive yardage on plays where the opposing defense gets good penetration.

Grade: Late first round

2. Travis Etienne, SR, Clemson

The first thing you notice with Etienne is his burst. He hits the hole really hard. Etienne’s at his best running to the edge. On inside runs, he has a habit of being impatient and just running straight into bodies, but this is a minor issue. This year, Etienne has blossomed into a great receiver.

Unfortunately, he needs to improve on his pass protection so that he can be out there more on third downs at the next level.  This is something that many young backs have to learn when they reach the NFL. Etienne’s running style and pass-catching ability bring back memories of David Johnson in his prime. The Clemson product has a high floor, but his ceiling will be determined by the situation he is drafted into.

Grade: Early second round

Related: S Anthony Harris Is Another Viable Option For Raiders

3. Javonte Williams, JR, North Carolina

Williams is a bruising rusher that is built to pound on defenses for 20-25 carries a game. There is nothing super flashy about his game, but he consistently gets good yardage and has a nose for the end zone. He is not a big-time playmaker in the passing game, but he is reliable leaking out of the backfield into the flat or on hooks/curls. His excellent pass protection will allow him to be a three-down back at the next level. We will probably never see monster numbers from Williams, but he should have a long career as a reliable back, similar to Mark Ingram.

Grade: Second round

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The middle rounds

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Biglar

Just don’t waste a high draft pick on a RB. There are plenty of good RBs out there. Jaret Patterson from Buffalo should be available in the fifth, and he may be better than anybody on this list.