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2018 Top 5 NFL Draft Prospects by Position – Running Backs

RUNNING BACKS

Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State,  6’/233, Combine Results: 40/4.40, Bench (225)/29 Reps, VJ/41″, BJ/DNP.  In 2017, Barkley rushed for 1,271 Yds., 5.9 Avg., with 18 TD’s, and 54 Receptions.  Barkley is a premiere Running Back with exceptional speed, strength, elusiveness, and agility.  He has great lateral movement and cutting ability with top speed to go the distance every time he touches the ball.  He has great vision, balance, and tremendous open-field running ability.  He is a top 5 overall pick in the NFL Draft who should be a future Pro Bowl player.  He has the speed to run by the second level Linebackers and Defensive Backs.  On occasion, he spends wasted motion trying too many jukes on the first level defenders, allowing for defenders to close in.

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU, 5′ 10″/224, Combine Results: 40/4.49, Bench/15 Reps, VJ/31.5″, BJ/DNP.  In 2017, Guice rushed for 1,251 Yds., 5.3 Avg, with 11 TD’s.  Guice is a strong, powerful Running Back who possesses speed, power, and balance.  He has the ability to go the distance, however, he makes sudden cuts to power through the first level.  He’s more of a possession RB than a Home Run hitter.  Gets stronger as the game goes on, especially when healthy.  Guice had injuries throughout his 2017 College season.  He’s a furious Runner through the line while displaying some hip tightness.  Guice needs to stay healthy at the NFL level for RB success at next level. He should be drafted mid-later in the first round, or top of 2nd round.  Many NFL Scouts believe that Guice will become a productive NFL RB.

Sony Michel, RB, Georgia, 5′ 11″/214, Combine Results: 40/4.54, Bench/22 Reps, VJ/DNP, BJ/DNP.  In 2017, Michel rushed for 1,227 Yards, 7.9 Avg, with 16 TD’s.  Michel was Georgia’s other Running Back in conjunction with Nick Chubb.  Michel is a muscular, strong, powerful running back with good speed.  Michel uses his great vision, decision making and cutting ability to explode at the right time to gain yardage.  He has a very good burst after making his cuts.  He accelerates past Linebackers and Safeties.  He has a very strong lower-body which makes it difficult to bring him down with arm tackles.  He uses and sets up his blockers extremely well.  He demonstrated his superior upper-body strength by performing 22 Reps in the Bench at the Combine.  Averaged 7.9 Yards a carry at Georgia in the tough SEC.  He is a leader and 2 Year Captain at Georgia.

Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn, 5′ 11″/213, Pro Day: 40/4.54, Combine Results:Bench/11, VJ/40″, BJ/10′ 6″.  In 2017 Season, Johnson rushed for 1,391 Yards, 4.9 AVG, with 18 TD’s.  Johnson is an excellent inside runner who uses his quick feet and churning style of running to accelerate through the line into the second level.  He never stops driving his legs for extra yards while displaying a punishing running style.  He is a tough and physical runner who uses his stiff-arm effectively when in open space.  He is an upright runner who can also take a lot of punishment.  Expected Johnson to run a faster 40 at Combine.  He should get stronger in upper-body for greater success at NFL level.  His durability will have to be monitored at NFL level to ensure that he doesn’t wear down because of his physicality style.  He’s adept at finding the end zone as proven by the 18 Touchdowns he scored in the SEC.

Nick Chubb, Georgia, RB, 5′ 11″/227, Combine Results: 40/4.52, Bench/29, VJ/38.5″, BJ/10’8 “In 2017, Chubb rushed for 1,345 Yards, 6.0 AVG, with 15 TD’s.  Chubb is primarily a between the tackles runner opposed to trying to pile up yardage outside.  He can attack the edge and cut outside to gain yards when blocking breaks down.  Chubb has good speed for a big 220 Lb. Back.  He’s super strong as demonstrated by his Bench of 22 reps., and a 600 Lb. Squat.  He uses his stiff-arm to effectively push back tacklers in pursuit.  He has good balance and lower body strength to stay on his feet and break tackles at the point of initial contact and into the second level.  Chubb is not a very elusive or breakaway runner who will make many long scoring running plays.  He has enough upside to become a good NFL Running Back.

Talent Deserving Wider Recognition (RB) (TDWR)
Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama, 6′ 1″/232, Combine Results: 40/4.52, Bench/14, VJ/40″,BJ/10′ 9″.  Scarbrough has the speed and power to run past defenders and run over tacklers.  He can wear down a defense with his power and bruising style of running.  He would have gained more yardage at Alabama if he wasn’t one of many RB’s used by committee in Alabama’s rushing game plan.  He has the talent to be a productive and effective NFL Running Back.  He was impressive in the Combine power measurables.

This article was organized by former Pro Football Scout James Watkins who is one of our go-to guys in the NFL. 

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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