The 2018 NFL Draft is almost here, and with it comes renewed hope for 32 NFL teams, looking to make a push to the top of the constantly changing NFL draft. This year showcases a deep running back class, including one of the best prospects of all time. Here are our top four RBs in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Saquon Barkley is the consensus top running back in this year’s draft, drawing comparisons to recent high draft picks Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette, as the best pre-draft prospect of the group. Aside from his almost superhuman athleticism, his ability to break a long play (and a game) wide open at any given time makes this player a dangerous weapon that any NFL team would love to have. He is also a complete player, with strong skills in pass-protection and as a receiver in the open field.
Barkley is in the discussion for the first overall pick in this year’s draft. You can make a case for this outstanding talent to be selected ahead of the top QB prospects, NC State DE Bradley Chubb, or Notre Dame Guard Quenton Nelson.
Rashaad Penny, San Diego St.
Penny is often overlooked by many draft analysts and scouting experts. He is consistently graded as a second or third round pick. The list of backs expected to be selected ahead of him can all have holes poked in some part of their game. At least with Penny, a team would get a highly explosive player, who can contribute in multiple facets of the game.
Penny led the nation with 2,248 rushing yards, to go along with 135 receiving yards and 25 total TDs. He clearly possesses the ability to be an every-down back on an NFL team. This guy will be a star in the league sooner rather than later.
Derrius Guice, LSU
Guice is on many teams’ draft boards right now as a potential late first-round selection. At 5’10, 224 lbs., he is known for a punishing running style. However, he has also flashed his speed, recording a 40-yard dash time of 4.49. Guice often finishes runs by lowering his shoulder and churning out extra yards, a trait that NFL general managers and coaches cherish, over many players’ tendency to try and dance their way behind the line of scrimmage. Guice has the physical traits and game film that often translate well at the NFL level. Where he will end up going could depend on the dynamic of the draft and how many teams aggressively pursue running backs early in the draft.
Sony Michel, Georgia
Michel actually split time with other Georgia backs, including fellow draft prospect Nick Chubb. Despite the shared workload, he was able to amass 1,227 rushing yards with 16 touchdowns, and a 7.9 yards per carry average. His 40-yard dash time of 4.54 left a lot to be desired, but game speed can sometimes bring the best out of a player. Last season, six of his 16 rushing touchdowns were scored from 16 or more yards, illustrating his ability to score from distance, combining a powerful running style with homerun ability. Michel is projected as a later first or early second round pick in this year’s draft.