NFL

Combine Coverage: Running Backs

 

I’m going to start writing a little about the combine. I’ll write about the guys who helped themselves the most with their combine performance and the guys who may get knocked down. Then I’ll rank my top 10 at the position and give a few guys outside the top 10 who could surprise people.  I’ll start with running backs.

Helped:

  1. Saquon Barkley

Expectations were insanely high for Barkley’s combine and he still managed to exceed them. The 233 pound back solidified himself as the top back in the class with his combine performance. 29 reps on the bench along with a 4.40 second 40 time and a 41 inch vertical help prove his game tape to be true, he is one of the most well-rounded backs in college football history and whichever team decides to take him will be getting as close to a sure fire superstar as I’ve ever seen.

  1. Nick Chubb

Chubb’s draft stock took a little bit of a hit during the college football playoff in part because of the outstanding play of his teammate Sony Michel.  Chubb looked a step slow but it’s possible that may have been due to an injury. His combine numbers may have made him the biggest riser at his position. After running a respectable 4.52 40 (.02 seconds faster than Michel’s), any teams concerned about Chubb’s speed can rest a little easier. Chubb also showed off his strength by putting up 29 reps on the bench to tie Barkley for the highest number by a running back. Chubb more than likely won’t be drafted on day 1 of the draft because of a stacked running back class, but he will be a very solid late second 2nd or 3rd round pick.

  1. Rashaad Penny

My biggest concern about Penny outside of pass protection was that he may have not possess breakaway speed. Running a 4.46 40 shuts down that concern. Penny might be the most underrated back in the class and will be a steal wherever he is taken.

 

Hurt:

  1. Ronald Jones

Jones is a 200 pound back and he needed to run a good 40 to solidify himself as a first round pick. Instead, he ran a 4.65 and he never really looked comfortable running. A good pro day can easily fix this but for now his draft stock takes hit.

  1. Kerryon Johnson

Johnson didn’t run the 40 and it’ll be interesting to see if he does at his pro day. 11 reps on the bench likely hurts his draft stock a little bit. Upper body strength isn’t nearly as important at the position but 11 reps was tied for the lowest number at the position.

  1. Mark Walton

Largely seen as a slasher kind of back, Walton’s 4.6 second 40 hurts him with bigger backs Nick Chubb and Bo Scarborough both running faster 40 times.

Top 10 Running Backs

  1. Saquon Barkley-Penn State
  2. Derrius Guice-LSU
  3. Sony Michel-Georgia
  4. Ronald Jones-USC
  5. Rashaad Penny-San Diego State
  6. Royce Freeman-Oregon
  7. Bo Scarborough-Alabama
  8. Arkum Wadley-Iowa
  9. Nick Chubb-Georgia
  10. Kerryon Johnson-Auburn

Guys to watch

  1. Justin Jackson-Northwestern

Justin Jackson is a very good player, he was just always over shadowed by other running backs in the Big 10 during his time like Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliot. Jackson might not go until the third day of the draft but if he finds the right fit he could be a starter from day 1. The 10th leading rusher in NCAA history could be a late round steal.

  1. Josh Adams-Notre Dame

Fumbling was a problem for Adams at times in college. If he can figure out how to hold onto the football he could have a very good NFL career

  1. Chris Warren-Texas

Warren is massive. The 250 pound back is going to score a lot of touchdowns for an NFL team. He is not a guy linebackers want to see coming at them with a head of steam.

 

This is one of the best running back classes I’ve ever seen. There are some extremely talented players at the top of the class and it’s a deep class.

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