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NFL Draft 2016: Ranking the running backs

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Here are my 2016 Draft Running Back rankings. The list is a blend of who I like and where I think they will go. I try to use my comments to sort out my personal thoughts versus how I think the NFL may view the players.

RD 1- Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State. He can do it all -- run with power inside, hit home runs, block and catch the ball with natural hands -- and he should go somewhere in the 8-16 range.

RD 2- Derrick Henry, Alabama. Once he gets to the second level, he is so dangerous because typically all the defenders as big as him are slower than him, and all the defenders that are as fast as him weigh 50 pounds less than him.

RD 2- Kenneth Dixon, La Tech. Production hog who can run that inside zone out of shotgun, hit explosive plays, and catch the ball. I could see some NFL teams liking his skill set more than Henry.

RD 3- Devontae Booker, Utah. Super curious to see how he tests later this month, and if he tests off the chart, and medicals come back clean, I could see him in Round 2. He can be your bellcow, and has good hands in the passing game.

RD 3- Paul Perkins, UCLA. I personally like him more in Round 4, but in this class I think he will go Round 3. He is elusive, but does not have a lot of power on contact. He can produce, though, and I think an NFL team will take him Round 3.

RD 3- Jonathan Williams, Arkansas. I like him better than Paul Perkins, but he has spotty injury history. He's a tough inside runner who can cut and is good after contact. I can see Seattle liking him.


RD 4- Alex Collins- Arkansas. Classic case of a guy with pretty good tape but bad testing. Many NFL teams put a lot more weight on tape than testing, so he could go Round 3 easy, I think.

RD 4- CJ Prosise- Notre Dame. You pop on the USC game, and you see the explosive plays, but in two other games I was not impressed at all. Something about him doesn't sit right with me, and it's hard for me to put a finger on it. Karlos Williams was a guy who converted to RB while in college but for some reason I liked Karlos Williams better than Prosise.

RD 4- Kenyan Drake- Alabama. I think he will have appeal as a gadget type player and as a returner.

RD 4- Tyler Ervin, San Jose State. Smaller player than Drake, built more like a WR; he tested off the chart, not sure he can hold up in pass pro with smaller upper body and shorter arms, but someone will take him as a gadget type player and returner. He's explosive.


RD 5- Keith Marshall- Georgia. He had an amazing 40 yard dash but low vert. I liked his tape, but he had limited playing time in last few years due to injury, and this factors in to his grade. I think he may be more a Rd3-4 type talent.

RD 5- Jordan Howard- Indiana. I know this guy is hyped up, but I generally don't like backs who don't cut really well. He is big and physical, but doesn't really do much for me.

RD 5- Deandre Washington- Texas Tech. I actually would not mind this guy in Round 4; he is a smaller back, but he is a tough inside runner who can catch the ball as well. I like this guy.

RD 5- Josh Ferguson- Illinois. I like this guy a lot too -- he's not really a tough inside runner, but more a 3rd down type who can produce 700 yards rushing and 700 yards receiving -- that type of guy -- and he likes to catch in the flats and bounce runs outside. He can catch downfield, and many NFL teams will like this type of player I think, and possibly Rd 4. 


Really everyone else below this line I have watched only like 1-2 games. The guys above more like 2-4 games.  Everyone else I would lump into Round 6 down to UDFA, so these guys here are in no particular order

Peyton Barber- Auburn- solid Round 6 type player for me.

Kelvin Taylor- Florida- never did anything special in any one area.

Daniel Lasco- California- not even one of their lead backs, good tester but doesn't move me.

Brandon Wilds- South Carolina- big guy never did anything special to me.

Tra Carson- Texas A & M- type of guy you can get undrafted in any year.

Tre Madden- USC- see Tra Carson.

Marshawn Coprich, Illinois State- I actually liked this guy as a solid Round 6 choice -- he's a tough dude who is undersized and has some talent.

Aaron Green- TCU- not a big back and doesn't have crazy speed; has good agility but he's the type of player you can find in any year as UDFA I think.

Wendell Smallwood-WVU- solid Round 7 type guy, looks a bit light in lower body to me.