2017 NFL Draft- Running Backs

1. Leonard Fournette (LSU)– We were all wowed by his body of work in Baton Rouge and now, he’s my top running back prospect in this year’s draft. He’s 6’1, 236 pounds and he’s built like a middle linebacker. He’s by far the most physical finisher at contact that I’ve ever seen and he delivers punishment with a combination of violence, power, and determination. He lowers his pads and trucks through people in the open field. He is tremendous at picking up yards after contact. It’s one thing to be hit, but when you can still keep it going after the contact, that’s what will always stand out to people. He’s controlled, shows many athletic movements and he cuts back and accelerates extremely well for a man of his size. Some have called him the next Adrian Peterson, I see more of Larry Johnson who played for the Kansas City Chiefs when he runs and this comparison makes the most sense as Fournette has that same combination of size, power, and speed that Johnson had.

2. Christian McCaffrey (Stanford)– The son of former NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey has certainly made a nice name for himself over these last few seasons as a Cardinal. He became one of the best all-around football players in the country due to his versatility. He’s a player that can beat you as a runner out the backfield, he can catch it and he also returns punts. He’s very shifty and has the lower body ability to spring in any direction, transition his weight and shake defenders. He’s a very smart runner. He allows the holes to open up and knows when to fight for those extra yards. He displays great hand-eye coordination and very soft hands and runs his routes better than anticipated. He’s the only player in Stanford history with back to back seasons of 2,000 all-purpose yards.

3. Dalvin Cook (Florida State)– The world of college football has been filled with some great running backs. There’s Gallman from Clemson, there’s Chubb in Athens, Georgia, Perine in Oklahoma and sometimes, Dalvin Cook would put some great numbers just as those other backs and still go unnoticed. When you evaluate a running back, the two things to look out for are can he navigate and can he create? Dalvin Cook can do both. He displays excellent patience to allow his blockers to work up front and when they open holes for him, he comes in and does the damage. He has an explosive lower body and the footwork to start, stop and redirect quickly. He’s a gifted athlete that can make multiple people miss at times and shows exceptional body control in his jump cuts. He’s quick to read blocks and sets up his moves with patience and feels. He’s also very sure-handed out the backfield as a receiver and can make a defense account for his catching it out the backfield. He’s made comparisons to Marshall Faulk. You must be doing something right if your name is being mentioned with one of the legends of the game.

4. Alvin Kamara (Tennessee)– His story is very interesting. He had many offers on the table. Alabama was one school he was considering and the thought of Alvin Kamara and Derrick Henry as a tandem is very scary to process. He decided to attend Tennessee and last season was his first year starting and he didn’t disappoint. He’s a tough guy to bring down one on one due to his controlled feet and the ability to redirect and maintain balance through contact. He has the initial burst to attack running lanes and quickly get to the second level of speed. He accepts contact and lowers the pads to gain extra yards instead of stepping out of bounds. He’d be a very nice asset to any NFL backfield.

5. D’Onta Foreman (Texas)– He was one of the best runners in the nation in 2016. He’s built like a tank with very broad shoulders and thick thighs. He runs with a low center of gravity to absorb contact and maintain balance through physical contact. He plays the position with an old school feel as he frequently uses the stiff arm to knock a defender down in space. He’s also great when it comes to pass protection and holds his ground with physicality.