As much as people downplay running backs in the draft, every team seems to need a reliable one to get through the NFL playoffs and win a Superbowl. Denver and Carolina are two very big proponents of this theory. The biggest problem for running backs is that there’s an abundance of good ones which has created numerous running back by committees around the league. If backs were given the old school 300+ carries, I’m sure that some of the players today could put up the type of numbers that the players like Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk, and Priest Holmes did.
However, the typical RB now gets around 200-250 carries and splits time with someone just as good or just a notch below them in terms of talent. The running back talent hasn’t gone down, just the opportunity to shine. This year the running back position is really deep with two guys that may be able to carry the load and a few others that look like they can give some immediate contributions to an NFL team. With the NFL going more and more pass happy, catching the ball and pass protection has become just as important to RBs as running the football.
There are two RBs that really stand out in my eyes in terms of every down type size for the NFL. Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott is considered the best in the class and at 6’ and 225 pounds, he is exactly the type of size back you want for today’s NFL. He is expected to run around a 4.5 forty, which would solidify him as a 1st round pick. Elliott already has a National Championship under his belt and last year he ran for his 2nd straight 1800+ yards season (over 2000 yards overall) and tossed in another 23 TDs (41 the last two years). He is looked at as a clear cut back above the rest of the field.
The other guy that has been mentioned the most as a low 1st or very high 2nd round pick has been Derrick Henry from Alabama. Henry is the 2015 Heisman trophy award winner, and ended the year with over 2200 rushing yards and 28 TDs, to go with and National Championship. The knock on Henry will be if he can keep his weight under control and not disappoint like previous Alabama backs have previously done in the league like Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy from last year. A red flag was already sent up by Henry weighing in at 247 pounds, most teams would like him to drop that down into the mid-230s.
Below is a list of all the heights, weights, arm lengths, and hand lengths of all the Running Backs who will be at the 2016 NFL Combine.
|Peyton Barber||Auburn||5-10||228||9 3/8|
|Devontae Booker||Utah||5-11||219||8 5/8|
|Tra Carson||Texas A&M||5-11||227||9 1/4|
|Alex Collins||Arkansas||5-10||217||9 1/4|
|Marshaun Coprich||Illinois State||5-8||207||9|
|Kenneth Dixon||Louisiana Tech||5-10||215||9 1/2|
|Kenyan Drake||Alabama||6-1||210||9 3/4|
|Ezekiel Elliott||Ohio State||6-0||225||10 1/4|
|Tyler Ervin||San Jose State||5-10||192||9 1/8|
|Glenn Gronkowski||Kansas State||6-2||239||9 1/2|
|Derrick Henry||Alabama||6-3||247||8 3/4|
|Quayvon Hicks||Georgia||6-1||259||9 5/8|
|Andy Janovich||Nebraska||6-1||238||9 3/4|
|Devon Johnson||Marshall||6-0||238||9 1/4|
|Daniel Lasco||California||6-0||209||9 1/8|
|Tre Madden||USC||6-0||223||9 3/8|
|Keith Marshall||Georgia||5-11||219||9 3/8|
|C J Prosise||Notre Dame||6-0||220||8 1/2|
|Wendell Smallwood||West Virginia||5-10||208||9 1/4|
|Kelvin Taylor||Florida||5-10||207||8 1/4|
|Shad Thornton||N. C. State||6-0||217||9 3/4|
|Soma Vainuku||USC||5-11||246||9 1/2|
|Dan Vitale||Northwestern||6-1||239||9 3/4|
|Deandre Washington||Texas Tech||5-8||204||9|
|Brandon Wilds||South Carolina||6-1||220||10 1/4|