1. Ezekiel Elliot (Ohio State): He was the driving force for a Buckeyes team that won it all a year ago and he’s my top rated running back in this draft class. He gained legendary status after recording multiple 200 yard rushing games on the road to a National Championship back in Columbus. Ezekiel Elliot is a very well-rounded athlete with the ideal frame for the position (6 feet tall, 225 pounds). He’s also got outstanding footwork that is able to stay in sync with his vision on the field. He’s got very strong legs as he always keeps them moving and moving to gain each yard and he has a natural forward lean along with the balance to keep himself upright and move the chains. I love the passion this guy plays with. He loves the game. He’s a very patient runner meaning he allows the hole to open up and then burst into the open field. He can cut on a dime and transition himself into that next level of speed to make a play.
2. Derrick Henry (Alabama): Since 2011, four Alabama running backs have been drafted and are currently playing in the NFL and that’s Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon, Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson but things haven’t gone so smoothly for Trent. Derrick Henry will be the fifth in five years if drafted which he will be. He’s a special guy at his position. I love the physical nature he brings to the position. He wants to lower the shoulder and run the defender over. At 6’3 and over 240 pounds, the shiftiness he shows is what separates him from so many other backs. He’s a powerful guy that is able to get himself through the tiniest spaces to get yards. When I watch him play, I see a more athletic and skilled LeGarrette Blount. He’s able to bounce outside the tackles, run in between the tackles and he’s always moving, no matter what.
3. Alex Collins (Arkansas): With so many big names at the position this year in the country such as Elliot, Henry, Perine and C.J. Prosise to name a few, you didn’t hear much about Alex. He handled his business though for the Razorbacks and was a perfect fit for that pro-style offense they run. He didn’t become a full-time starter until last season and he took full advantage of it. It was his third straight 1,000 plus yard season making him the third SEC player ever to do so as he joined Herschel Walker and former Razorback Darren McFadden. He’s what I call a “hungry runner” meaning he wastes no time running north/south and doesn’t avoid contact at all. He loves to barrel into defenders. He’s very quick and decisive and shows great patience and burst. A big plus with him is he’s very reliable as a pass catcher. He can line up in the slot and get in the flat of the defense.
4. Kenneth Dixon (Louisiana Tech): He finished off his career at with a total of 203 yards in a win over Arkansas State in the New Orleans Bowl. Dixon has a very compact build and has the body type to take the punishment. He’s a balanced running back meaning he’s got controlled quickness to make some sharp cuts in small spaces. He’s not the explosive type, but he has great vision and great feel to pick through a cluttered crowd. He’s a runner with decisiveness and he’s physical when running downhill. He’s also an exceptional blocker as he uses his base strength and physical toughness to his advantage. Dixon is also productive as a pass catcher which scouts will look at if you want to succeed at the next level.
5. Devontae Booker (Utah): He tore his meniscus which ended his season early, but he was still named to the All Pac-12 second team. Devontae Booker has a compact and powerful build and he’s a very heavy runner for someone who weighs on 219 pounds. He’s frequently breaking tackles due to his low center of gravity and he’s a back that cuts to make the defenders miss in open space. He bulldozes defenders and can slip into the secondary with his top speed. he shows light feet and balance to pick his way through traffic.