Here are the top 5 running back prospects coming into the 2018 NFL draft.
1. Saquon Barkley, Penn State University
Saquon Barkley is by far considered by everyone around the NFL as the top running back prospect in this year’s draft. Not only is he a great runner out of the backfield, but he is also a great pass catching running back. He is very hard for defenders to bring down, especially in open space. In each season at Penn State, he rushed for over 1,000 yards with over 5 yards per carry. (ESPN) He will immediately have an impact in the league.
2. Derrius Guice, Louisiana State University
Derrius Guice is a very physical downhill running back. For his first two years, he was behind Leonard Fournette, but took the lead role last year. In his last 2 seasons, he has rushed for over 1,000 yards and had at least 10 touchdowns. (ESPN) Guice’s style will fit in the NFL as he can use his power to break tackles and be a physical presence. The only red flag against Guice is his personality and that he can be difficult to handle for some people. Otherwise, he has the skill set to be a good starting running back.
3. Sony Michel, University of Georgia
Sony Michel was a major part of Georgia’s national championship run. He split backfield duties with Nick Chubb, who also will be drafted this year. Michel is a very quick and explosive runner but can also be a powerful back when he needs to be. He averaged 7.9 yards per carry last year at Georgia. (ESPN) Although he did not catch many balls last year, he has shown when needed he can be an effective pass catcher out of the backfield. With the right situation, Michel can be an effective running back in the NFL.
4. Kerryon Johnson, University of Auburn
Kerryon Johnson was the workhorse for Auburn in the 2017 season. He is a very big and powerful runner which makes it difficult for defenders to bring him down. His most impressive game was against Alabama when he ran 30 times for 105 yards against one of the top defenses in the country. (ESPN) Also, he played that game injured. This shows his toughness and willingness to play through pain, which is needed especially in the NFL. Also, when needed, he can make plays as a pass catcher out of the backfield. He can be a threat especially in short yardage and goal line situations.
5. Nick Chubb, University of Georgia
Nick Chubb played 4 seasons at Georgia, where he was effective each year when on the field. After tearing his ACL in the 2015 season, Chubb bounced back with 2 exceptional seasons. He rushed for over 1,000 yards with at least 8 touchdowns every year that he was healthy enough to play a full season. His one criticism from many experts is that he is limited on 3rd down because he is not a threat to catch the football.
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