Draft 2019: Top 5 Running Backs

posted March 16, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Preston Shoemaker

With just over a month away from the NFL Draft, it is time to get up-to-date on the top talent entering the league. A year ago, we saw a strong running back class with the likes of Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, Kerryon Johnson, and Phillip Lindsay all making noise with their new teams.

This year, things are much more wide open. What names should you know for this year’s rushing class? Here, we rank the top five running backs to watch in this year’s draft.

Josh Jacobs, Alabama

Height: 5'10
Weight: 216

Jacobs is a strong power back and one of two Alabama rushers on the list. In 15 games last season, he rushed for 11 touchdowns despite only getting 640 yards.  He is known for his explosiveness combined with finesse.

Although his sample size is small, Jacobs has little wear-and-tear on his body after three years at Alabama. Jacobs is potentially the most complete running back in this draft and will be highly regarded by NFL teams.

David Montgomery, Iowa State

Height: 5'11
Weight: 216

Montgomery has earned comparisons to Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner. His ability to make cuts at the line of scrimmage is one of his best features.

Pass catching is another strength Montgomery has. In three seasons as a Cyclone, he caught 71 balls for 582 yards. This paired with his vision downfield will likely land him a spot on an NFL roster, with a chance at becoming a feature back.


Damien Harris, Alabama

Height: 5'11
Weight: 215

Harris is the second running back from Alabama on this list. He ran for 846 yards last season and nine touchdowns in 15 games. Harris has the ability to create long runs with his acceleration and often breaks tackles due to his strong legs and hips. He wastes no time dancing around the backfield and dives into holes in the line.

Harris and Jacobs have the chance to be the first two Alabama running backs drafted in the first two rounds in the same draft. With Harris projecting to be selected in the second round, this could likely occur.

Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic

Height: 5'9
Weight: 200

Singletary is one of the shortest players in the draft class at 5 foot 9 inches. He is known for his elusiveness and pops in the rushing game. In three seasons at FAU, he rushed for over 4,000 yards and for 66 touchdowns.

His quick cuts fool defenses easily, and although his 4.66 40 did not rank well with the other backs, he plays much faster than this time in the game. Singletary could find himself as a compliment back on an NFL roster, with flashes of a feature back role in the future.

Justice Hill, Oklahoma State

Height: 5'10
Weight: 190

Hill’s performance at the combine has him rocketing up draft boards. He ran a 4.40 in the 40 and finished on top for the vertical and broad jumps.

Hill’s speed can have him outrun many players on the field. He jukes players and can change direction on the spot. His size has led him to struggle to push through defenders, but some bulking could easily fix that.

Notable Mentions

Benny Snell, Kentucky

Height: 5'11
Weight: 223

Snell set records during his three years at Kentucky, racking up a career total of 3873 yards and 48 touchdowns. Snell’s vision paired with his blocking abilities gives him the potential to be dangerous at the next level, likely landing him in the middle rounds.


Bryce Love, Stanford

Height: 5'10
Weight: 202

One year removed from being a Heisman finalist and rushing for 2,118 yards, Love had an injury-riddled senior year. He only rushed for 739 yards and tore his ACL in his final game at Stanford.

Had he declared after his strong junior year, Love may have been a first-round pick, with his speed and burst. Instead, teams will have to take his injuries into consideration before taking Love in the draft.

Miles Sanders, Penn State

Height: 5'11
Weight: 215

After sitting under Saquon Barkley for two years, Sanders took over for the Nittany Lions in 2018. He is a shifty between-the-tackles runner with downfield speed. After finishing the season with 1,274 yards and having a strong combine performance, Sanders is climbing up the draft board.

 

 

Preston Shoemaker is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact, email pus144@psu.edu.