Running backs/2020

Updated April 19, 2020. Pre-Draft.

2020 NFL Draft:  Top Rated RBs

Photo: Jeff Sentell|DawgNation

1. D’Andre Swift*, Georgia, 5-8/212

A blue chip recruit from St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia. Swift rushed for 1,218 yards and seven touchdowns this season. He’s an everydown back with a nice blend of power and speed. He also has 73 career receptions to his credit.

2. Jonathan Taylor*, Wisconsin, 5-10/226

Taylor ran for over 6,000 yards in three seasons. No running back in this draft class is better at hitching himself to an offensive lineman’s hip and sliding through the crease. Taylor scored 50 touchdowns in 41 career games. The knock on him is his 18 fumbles – that’s about one every other game. That’s the only thing keeps him from being the top running back in this class.

Taylor helped himself by running a 4.39 at 226 lbs.

3. J.K. Dobbins*, Ohio State, 5-10/208

Dobbins rushed for an Ohio State-record 2,003 yards this season, including 174 yards against Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal loss to Clemson. Dobbins was at his best down the stretch as he keyed OSU wins against Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Combine: Dobbins only lifted. Waiting for his Pro-Day – which didn’t happen.

4. A.J. Dillon*, Boston College, 6-0/247

I like A.J. Dillon more than other mock drafters. He seems like a Leonard Fournette / Derrick Henry type of runner. He’s going to fit well with a team that likes to run the ball. I’m not as concerned as others about his receiving skills. I always say, “If Ricky Watters could learn to catch the ball…”

Dillon has 38 touchdowns in 35 career games. He’s a old-school north-south runner. Not a typical bruiser, running people over, Dillon is looking to take it to the house on every play. He played I-back in a two tightend set, so his success was somewhat scheme specific. For a big back, he has the ability to get skinny when he needs to squeeze through a crease.

Dillon increased his stock by running a 4.53 at 247 lbs. He also had the best Vertical (41) and best Broad Jump (131) among the running backs.

5. Cam Akers*, Florida State, 5-10/217

Akers has been the best player the last couple of years on a struggling FSU team. He is a long-strider than glides in open space. He’s got soft hands and can be a threat in the passing game. Sixty-nine career receptions, physical build looks more like a wide out.

Combine: Akers looked sharp, quick, and feet of foot.

6. Antonio Gibson, Memphis, 6-0/228

I like this guy more-and-more the closer we get to draft day. Some have Gibon listed as a WR, some at RB. He is so versatile, he can do it all. His 4.39 at 228 lbs is going to make him a very attractive to any team that wants to open up the field.

7. Zack Moss, Utah, 5-9/223

Moss broke six school records in 2019: including career rushing yards, 4,167; career 100-yard rushing games, 18; and career rushing touchdowns, 38. He’s a big physical back that can pound the rock. He’s good in pass protection which will help his stock.

Combine: Moss hurt his stock by clocking 4.7 on his first run and then only hitting 4.65 on his second run.

8. Clyde Edwards-Helaire*, LSU, 5-7/207

I’m not as sold on Edwards-Helaire as some others. I wasn’t as high on Josh Jacobs, last year, as Daniel Jeremiah was.

Edwards-Helaire has a breakout senior season with 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns. Possesses a low center of gravity, quickness, and good balance. Has 40 kick returns in his career for 877 yards. Also has 69 career receptions. Is he big enough to be an every down back, that is the question.

Combine: Edwards-Helaire ran a modest 4.61, but his did post a 39.5 Vertical.

9. Darrynton Evans*, Appalachian State, 5-10/203

Evans looked very good at the Combine. He ran a 4.42 and posted a 125 Broad Jump.

10. Anthony McFarland*, Maryland, 5-8/208

A bit of a surprise that McFarland declared after only two seasons in College Park. He’s been plagued by injuries, and that might have played into his decision to come out early. Instant acceleration and long speed are trademarks of his game.

Combine: McFarland’s game and reputation have been build around speed. He ran a decent, but not outstanding, 4.4. He tested at the bottom of his RB class in the Vertical and near the bottom in the Broad Jump.

11. James Robinson, Illinois State, 5-9/219

Big and strong between the tackles with enough long speed to take it to the house. Robinson really helped his cause with a phenomenal East-West outing. He had a 63-yard run for a touchdown and a 46-yard reception. He showed he can play with the big boys. One concern, he has 12 career fumbles in 46 games: five this year.

Combine: The negative, Robinson ran a 4.64. The positive, he had the top Vertical in his RB class (40), and tested near the top in the Bench Presss (24), Broad Jump (125), 3-Cone drill (7.03), and 20-Yard Shuttle (4.19).

12. Eno Benjamin*, Arizona State, 5-8/207

Benjamin had a decent week at the Combine. He had the best 3-Cone Shuttle in his RB class, clocking in at 6.97. His forty was clocked at 4.57.

13. Javon Leake*, Maryland, 6-0/215

Some people have Leake going ahead of teammate Anthony McFarland. Leake’s 4.64 forty didn’t help him any. He did post a 125 Broad Jump. We’ll check back on him after Maryland’s Pro-Day.

14. DeeJay Dallas*, Miami, 5-10/217

Sleeper prospect. Excellent athleticism with natural balance, strength to break arm tackles and speed to take it to the house. Potential is the key word with Dallas as he didn’t have a outstanding career at Miami: looks to be a better pro prospect.

Combine: Dallas didn’t test especially well, turning in marks in lower half of his RB class with a the Broad Jump of 119 and a 3-Cone of 7.18.

15. KeShawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt, 5-9/214

Vaughn hung 130 yards on LSU earlier this year. Spent his first two years at Illinois, but really came on once he transferred to Vanderbilt. Good at creating yards after contact. Rushed for over 2,000 at Vandy with 21 touchdowns. Has 66 career receptions.

Senior Bowl: Vaughn did not play in the Senior Bowl because of an undisclosed injury. He was available to meet with teams though.

Combine: Vaughn ran a decent 4.52, but did not flash.

16. JaMycal Hasty, Baylor, 5-8/205

Hasty had his moments in the Senior Bowl. At the Combine, it was more of the same. He flashed in the 20-Yard Shuttle, recording the best score in his RB class (4.03). His forty time was 4.55.

17. Rico Dowdle, So. Carolina, 5-11/213

Like Hasty, Dowdle had a pretty good Senior Bowl, followed by a pretty good showing at the Combine. Dowdle ran a 4.54 and posted a 125 Broad Jump.

18. Joshua Kelley, UCLA, 5-10/212

Has put up back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons and scored 24 rushing touchdowns in that time. He has “value add” with 45 career kick returns for 1,133 yards.

Senior Bowl: Kelley made plays all week long and really improved his draft stock. He was able to run outside and up the middle with equal success during the game. His stock is on the rise.

Much like Hasty and Dowdle, Kelley has been working to improve his stock. His 6.95 3-Cone was best in his RB Class. He has 23 reps on the Bench Press and ran a 4.5.

19. LaVonte Bellamy, Western Michigan, 5-8/192

Bellamy definitely helped himself by weighing in at 192, almost 20 lbs heavier than expected. And with the extra weight he still ran a 4.5. The question will be can he keep the weight on during the course of a 17-week season?

20. Raymond Calais, Louisiana, 5-7/188

Calais stays at number twenty in the ranking. He ran a 4.42 which will be enough to entice teams to take him as a receiving back or special teams star.

***

OTHER PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON:

  • Lemical Perine, Florida, 5-10/216
  • Patrick Taylor, Memphis, 6-1/217
  • Brian Herrien, Georgia, 5-11/209
  • Michael Warren II*, Cincinnati, 5-9/226
  • Sewo Olonilua, TCU, 6-2/232
  • Salvon Ahmen*, Washington, 5-10/197
  • Jet (Darius) Anderson, TCU, 5-10/208
  • Adrian Killins, UCF, 5-7/164
  • Tavien Feaster, So. Carolina, 6-0/221
  • Rodney Smith, Minnesota, 5-11/210
  • Reggie Corbin, Illinois, 5-10/190
  • Tony Jones*, Notre Dame, 5-11/225
  • Jonathan Ward, Central Michigan, 6-0/200
  • Benny LeMay, Charlotte, 5-8/216
  • Scottie Phillips, Mississippi, 5-8/212
  • Cameron Scarlett, Stanford, 6-1/220
  • Jason Huntley, New Mexico State, 5-9/192
  • DeShawn McClease*, Virginia Tech, 5-9/190
  • Artavis Pierce, Oregon State, 5-11/202
  • Tre Minter, So. Alabama, 5-9/205
  • Tre Barnett, Georgia State, 5-10/185
  • James Gilbert, Kansas State, 5-9/198
  • Jordon Cronkite, USF, 5-11/204
  • Tre Minter, So. Alabama, 5-9/205
  • Xavier Jones, SMU, 5-11/215
  • Toren Young*, Iowa, 5-11/223
  • Gerald Bright, Utah State, 5-10/190
  • J.J. Taylor*, Arizona, 5-5/185
  • Ty’Son Williams*, BYU, 6-0/220

***

SMALL SCHOOL PROSPECTS

  • A.J. Hines, Duquesne, 5-1/225
  • Julius Chestnut, Sacred Heart, 6-1/215
  • Pete Guerriero*, Monmouth, 5-10/190
  • Jordan Bentley, Alabama A&M, 6-1/195
  • Domenic Cozier, Holy Cross, 5-9/181
  • Billy McCrary, Abilene Christian, 5-11/200
  • Jordan Bentley, Alabama A&M, 6-1/195
  • Nate Gunn, MSU-Mankato, 6-2/220
  • Tabyus Taylor*, Virginia Union, 6-0/225
  • Wesley Schools, Grove City, 5-11/190
  • Dawonya Tucker, Prairie View A&M, 5-5/180

***

*Denotes underclassman.

***

QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | OG | OC

Nat L. Faybian’s 2020 NFL Draft Players Position Rankings

DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | ST

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