Analyzing the Running Back Class

This year’s RB class if quite deep and has some fairly impressive talent at the top end of it. There is a good mix of short yardage backs, all purpose backs, and speed backs and you can find out more about these prospects after the jump.

Elite Prospect(s)

  • This year’s class features one absolute elite prospect in Trent Richardson. Richardson is right up there with Adrian Peterson as far as a prospect comes. He is strong, fast, explosive and has great vision to go along with it. I could see him landing anywhere from 4th to the Browns, 5th to the Bucs or if he has a fall on draft day, as low as 12th to the Seahawks (however, if he gets to the 8 to 10 range, I expect the Bengals to trade up for him).

The Next Tier

  • This is where this class is really awesome. Lamar Miller, David Wilson, and Doug Martin are all second round prospects (Miller might even be a late first round pick) while Chris Polk, Lamichael James, Isaiah Pead, Bernard Pierce, and Robert Turbin are all 3rd to 4th round prospects. Each one has their own strengths (James’ speed, Pierce’s power, etc) but they should all be very good backs at the next level.

Speed Backs

  • This year’s class is certainly not hurting for speed. The guys who I would consider strictly speed backs are LaMichael James, Devon Wylie, Bobby Rainey, and Chris Rainey. However, guys like David Wilson, Isaiah Pead, and Robert Turbin all have pretty impressive speed as well.

Power Backs

  • This class also has a fair share of guys who you could consider power back. Doug Martin, Bernard Pierce, Vick Ballard, and Marc Tyler are the best of the bunch in this category. Martin has been a workhorse at Boise while producing huge numbers. Similar things can be said about Bernard Pierce and Temple. Ballard is an under the radar back who could become a good RBBC type of guy.

All Purpose Backs

  • Trent Richardson, Lamar Miller, Chris Polk, Isaiah Pead, Robert Turbin, Ronnie Hillman, Tauren Poole, and Dan Herron all fall into this category. Each of these guys can run between the tackles, outside the numbers, block to some extent, and catch out of the backfield.

Players who need a good combine

  • Basically the “power” backs need to come in and show that they still have respectable speed. About once a year one of these guys will run in the 4.6’s and see his stock fall (Jonathan Dwyer effect) and can sometimes be a huge steal. The fast guys also need to prove that they are fast by running in the 4.4’s or 4.3’s.

Sleepers

  • My favorite sleeper in this class is Devon Wylie who currently carries a 5th to 6th round grade. He has health concerns but is lightning fast and could be a huge steal. Another guy I really like is Tauren Poole from Tennessee. He had a good career at Tennessee despite all the problems that university had while he was there. In the 7th round, I think you could be getting a legitimate 20 carry a game guy in Poole.
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