After all the tape study, the combine measurements/workouts, and re-watching of tape, there hasn’t been much movement but here are the post combine running back rankings.
Jayson Braddock and Dory LeBlanc used extensive criteria that included (but was not limited to) running inside and outside, elusiveness, speed, power, vision, durability, experience, receiving, blocking, physical makeup, agility, and productivity into determining how those attributes translate to the NFL.
The ten-best prospects at the RB position are:
1. Trent Richardson, Alabama, Jr., 5’9” 228 Lbs. – Richardson is by far the most complete back in this draft and the best running back prospect to come out since Adrian Peterson. EVEN
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2. Doug Martin, Boise State, rSr., 5’9” 219 Lbs. – We’ve been big on Martin since we first put on the game film. I don’t know why people were underselling him, but now even they are coming around. He moves up above Pead, because Pead’s ceiling is limited, depending on the system he is drafted in to. +1
3. Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati, Sr., 5’10” 197 Lbs. – Isaiah could lead the NFL in rushing but he needs to go to a zone running scheme. There aren’t that many zone teams, so his value gets hurt a little. He can still play and be effective in other rushing attacks but he want reach the same heights of success. +1
4. David Wilson, Virginia Tech, Jr., 5’10” 206 Lbs. – We still fear that Wilson won’t stop his bad habit of trying to reverse field every time the defense blocks his lane. But, the positives on tape and how effortless he runs and catches deserve a higher value and the hope that NFL coaching will make him a disciplined runner. +2
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5. Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M, Sr., 5’10” 206 Lbs. – Cyrus doesn’t get the attention he deserves. You can easily make an argument for Gray to remain ahead of Wilson and we actually did. Gray split carries at A&M and teams may be concerned if he can shoulder an increased work load on top of a much longer season. -1
6. LaMichael James, Oregon, rJr., 5’9” 195 Lbs. – It’s difficult to push James outside of the top 5 but the players fall where their talent allows. The other backs offer more as a whole but which ever team pairs James with their current back, should have a hell of a 1-2 punch. -1
7. Tauren Poole, Tennessee, Sr., 5’10” 205 Lbs. – This is a back that will surprise people by how early he has success in the NFL. He wasn’t in the best situation in Tennessee. I don’t think most of us would have finished playing for a coach like the one the Vols have. He constantly throws his players under the bus and this prevented Poole from flourishing. EVEN
8. Lamar Miller, Miami (FL), rSo., 5’11” 212 Lbs. – After Poole, there is a clear falloff in talent. We’ve never been excited about Miller. He’s a speed guy that has horrible change of direction and lack good vision. He can be a speed threat on a team but that will be the extent of it. EVEN
9. Chris Polk, Washington, Sr., 5’11” 215 Lbs. – Polk dropped weight to try and run a faster forty time in Indy. He still barely came in under 4.6 and at 215 he won’t run with the same force he had. The only thing we liked about Polk was the way he slammed through holes. He’s not a great back but could add his weight back and be a decent short yardage back to always gets a positive game. EVEN
10. Bernard Pierce, Temple, Jr., 6’0” 218 Lbs. – We see Pierce as a better pro back than a college back. He has huge thighs and moves well laterally for a bigger back. He doesn’t have the great explosion but he powers through tackles and always fights for extra yards. +1