Running backs/2020

Updated Jan. 29, 2020. Post-Senior Bowl; pre-combine.

2020 NFL Draft:  Top Rated RBs

Photo: Jeff Sentell|DawgNation

1. D’Andre Swift*, Georgia, 5-9/215

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, 5-11/214

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.

2. 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.

4. Zack Moss, Utah, 5-10/212

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.

5. 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.

6. Cam Akers*, Florida State, 5-11/213

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.

7. KeShawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt, 5-10/225

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.

8. DeeJay Dallas*, Miami, 5-10/220

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.

9. A.J. Dillon*, Boston College, 6-0/245

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. Will Derrick Henry’s success help Dillon’s draft stock?

10. Clyde Edwards-Helaire*, LSU, 5-9/212

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.

11. Kylin Hill*, Mississippi State, 5-11/215

Hill was one of the top backs in the SEC this year. He finished third in the conference in rushing yards with 1,350. He acrobatic, spinning and hurdling his way past would-be tacklers. Takes care of the ball, only one fumble in 242 attempts this year.

12. Joshua Kelley, UCLA, 5-10/207

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.

13. James Robinson, Illinois State, 5-9/215

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.

14. Lemical Perine, Florida, 5-11/218

Perine didn’t have an exceptional career at Florida. He finished his four years with 2,485 yards on the ground. He has 72 career receptions and caught five touchdown passes this year.

Senior Bowl: Like Kelley, Perine really helped himself with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl. He showed the ability to hammer the ball up inside, plus good vision to find the crease. He scored on a 16-yard pass from Justin Herbert for the game’s first score. He finished with two receptions for 17 yards and added 42 yards on the ground on seven carries.

15. JaMycal Hasty, Baylor, 5-9/211

16. Darius Anderson, TCU, 5-11/212

17. Antonio Gibson, Memphis, 6-2/220

18. Rico Dowdle, So. Carolina, 6-0/210

19. Eno Benjamin*, Arizona State, 5-10/200

20. Raymond Calais, Louisiana, 5-9/191

***

OTHER PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON:

  • Michael Warren II*, Cincinnati, 5-11/222
  • Brian Herrien, Georgia, 6-0/210
  • Benny LeMay, Charlotte, 5-8/216
  • Adrian Killins, UCF, 5-7/164
  • Tavien Feaster, So. Carolina, 6-0/221
  • Salvon Ahmen*, Washington, 5-11/191
  • Darrynton Evans*, Appalachian State, 5-11/191
  • Javon Leake*, Maryland, 6-0/210
  • LaVonte Bellamy, Western Michigan, 5-9/171
  • Rodney Smith, Minnesota, 5-11/210
  • Patrick Taylor, Memphis, 6-3/223
  • Reggie Corbin, Illinois, 5-10/190
  • Tony Jones*, Notre Dame, 5-11/225
  • Jonathan Ward, Central Michigan, 6-0/200
  • Scottie Phillips, Mississippi, 5-8/212
  • Cameron Scarlett, Stanford, 6-1/220
  • Jason Huntley, New Mexico State, 5-9/192
  • Sewo Olonilua, TCU, 6-3/231
  • 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, 5-6/180
  • 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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