With 12 days left, teams will be looking to either add a feature tailback or a complimentary one to be used in a time-share with an aging veteran. Thanks to both the NFL evolving into a passing league and the monumental bust of former top pick, Trent Richardson in both Cleveland and Indianapolis.
Thanks to Richardson, the once-storied position of running back has now become more of an accessory and luxury for teams to take in later rounds as opposed to in the first round, thus a new term that this writer is coining called “The Trent Richardson Effect”
What that means is that thanks to the two factors mentioned above, NFL teams will now be more likely to take a top-rated running back prospect in later rounds, as opposed to the top half of the first. Unless said running back is a clone of Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson, do not expect to see any running backs come off the board until at least the top of the second round.
The running backs mentioned below are just as talented as Hyde and Sankey and could well be worth a look by teams come draft day.
- Ka’Deem Carey (Arizona) – Perhaps the top running back prospect not named Hyde or Sankey, the former Arizona Wildcat dominated college football in rushing for a combined 3,814 yards and 42 touchdowns over the last seasons—including 1,885 yards on 349 carries and 19 touchdowns in 2013-14. A strong and powerful slasher, capable of reeling off large chunks of yardage, the 5’10, 196-pound Carey averaged 5.4 yards per carry for the Wildcats. Projected to go anywhere between the top of the second to late third, the former two-time All-American and Pac-12 Offensive Player of the year averaged 109 yards a game. Despite some off-the-field issues and concerns over his upright running style, Carey could be perhaps the best pure running back in the entire 2014 NFL Draft.
- Charles Sims (West Virginia) – A former transfer from the University of Houston, Charles Sims may not get the pub of some of his more established peers, but could be a dynamic playmaker, thanks to his ability to both run and catch. In 2013, the 6’0 213-pound Sims rushed for 1,095 yards on 208 carries and 11 touchdowns, averaged 5.3 yards a carry on the ground and caught 45 passes for 401 yards for three touchdowns through the air. Thanks to his dual-threat ability, Sims would make for an enticing target for a team that needs a playmaker out of the backfield.
- Isaiah Crowell (Alabama State) – Perhaps one of the fastest risers in the draft, former Alabama State Hornets running back, Isaiah Crowell has the potential to be a diamond hidden in the rough for the team lucky enough to draft him. The 5’11, 190-pound Crowell rushed 1,121 yards on 170 carries and 15 touchdowns, while averaging 6.6 yards a carry. The one-time Georgia Bulldog was named SEC Freshman of The Year after rushing for 850 yards and five touchdowns before transferring to Alabama State after being arrested for felony weapon charges—which were later dropped. Considered to be a dynamic back with explosiveness and shiftiness, Crowell would be a great fit for a zone-block running scheme team such as Cleveland or Denver.
- Lache Seastrunk (Baylor) – A powerful and downhill runner, Lache Seastrunk could be perhaps the most complete back in the 2014 NFL Draft. At 5’10 and 201 pounds, the former junior tailback of the Baylor Bears rushed for 1,177 yards on 158 carries for 11 touchdowns in 11 games. In averaging 7.4 yards, Seastrunk was the main cog in the Art Briles Baylor offense down in Waco. Currently considered a late second or early third round pick, Seastrunk is a complete back that would be a great asset to any team.
- De’Anthony Thomas (Oregon) – Dubbed “The Black Mamba” by Snoop Dogg, the former Oregon Duck is as lethal as his namesake and just as fast. the 5’9 176-pound native of Los Angeles was one of Oregon’s most prolific playmakers in rushing for 594 yards on 96 touches for eight touchdowns on the ground and 22 catches for 246 yards receiving and one touchdown. A projected fifth to six round target, Thomas could help contribute as a third-down, change-of-pace back or on special teams as a kick/punt returns at the next level.
Other notables : Andre Williams (Boston College)
Robert D. Cobb Is the CEO/Founder/Senior Editor-In-Chief of the InscriberMag : Digital Magazine and a member of the PFWA(Pro Football Writers Association), please follow him on Twitter at @RC_TheInscriberMag