It’s the time of year where fans of teams that didn’t make playoffs turn their attention to the draft and look to the future. Unfortunately, Raiders fans are apart of that collective. I will be giving you a look at the top prospects (senior and juniors that have declared to date, only) at every position as we head towards the 2013 NFL draft. We will post refreshed rankings after the combine, pro days, etc. Here we look at running backs that are likely to be taken at the top of the draft.
1.Gio Bernard 5’10 205 lbs UNC
Shows good vision in and out of the tackles. He lacks elite speed but has good acceleration. Bernard has good lateral movement and uses that to make defenders miss. He runs low can can add power churn his legs and get the tough yards. Has solid hands in the passing game but will need to improve his pass protection as he transitions to the NFL but's common for college RBs.
Pro Comparison: Shane Vereen
2.Dennis Johnson 5’9 215 lbs Arkansas
Dennis has it all as a runner: light feet, good vision, sudden quickness agility and underrated speed. Johnson does well with keeping his legs moving after contact. He'll also be able to factor in the passing game as a receiver and blocker. He has great experience returning kicks, holding the Arkansas return record and also being one of the most productive returners ever to play in the SEC. Johnson needs to address fumbling issues else he’ll quickly fall out of favor with the team that drafts him. If he can correct that issue, he has the tools to be three down running back.
Pro Comparison: Chris Ivory
3.Eddie Lacy 5’10 220 lbs Alabama
A powerful runner with good burst, Lacy shows the ability to smash defenses up the middle. He reads running lanes well and can make the necessary cuts to hit them. He lacks the elite speed and lateral movement to be a top pick but has enough to be efficient in the league. He's the best running back in pass protection RB on Bama’s team but he's still not used much in passing game. Alabama is slowly becoming “RB U”.
Pro Comparison: Benjarvus Green-Ellis
4.Andre Ellington 5’9 195 lbs Clemson
A definite “speed back," Ellington has the wheels to take it to the house on any play. He shows good balance and cuts into lanes well. He's a good receiver out of the backfield and especially deadly on screens. Despite his size, he's gritty and efficient in pass protection. The biggest question for him is whether his body can handle the rigors of an NFL season, especially because he's had a few niggling injuries over his time at Clemson.
Pro Comparison: Jahvid Best
5.Stepfan Taylor 5’11 215 lbs Stanford
Good all-round back with a lot of decent traits but lacks anything special. A workhorse at Stanford that set most of the school's rushing records. Shows great vision and enough burst when hitting holes and has the goods in the passing game, as well. Better when he runs vertically and doesn’t try to wiggle around behind the line for a better hole. Taylor could excel in right scheme but is no guarantee in the NFL.
Pro Comparison: Pierre Thomas
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