2022 NFL Draft: Who are the best Running Backs on the board?

BREECE HALL

By John Mesenbrink

IOWA STATE (JR), RB

Arguably the most explosive back in this year’s NFL Draft, wherever Breece Hall went, so went the Iowa State Cyclones offense. He has the great blend of size and power (6'1”/220) to be an every down back at the next level. Last year’s Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, Hall rushed for 1,472 yards on 255 totes with 20 TDs (behind a mediocre O-line). He padded his rushing stats with 36 catches for 302 yards and 3 TDs over 12 starts. Hall’s Cyclone career saw him rush for nearly 4,000 yards and 50 TDs which set an FBS scoring record with a rushing touchdown in 24 concecutive games. Hall projects to be selected in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft but we wouldn’t be shocked to see him sneak into the backend of the first.

Pluses:
• Excellent yards after contact
• Size and strength
• Projected every down back
• Patient runner

Concerns:
• College workload (800 touches over three seasons)
• Runs high due to his frame
• Pass protection improvement

KENNETH WALKER III

By Brandon Lane

Michigan State (JR), RB

Walker presents as a workhorse back who can carry the load. After having a solid two seasons with Wake Forest from 2019 to 2020 he chose to transfer to Michigan State his Junior year. The move proved to be exactly what this star needed to shine. He rushed 263 times for 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns while adding 13/89/1 through the air. Walker’s success was awarded by winning the Walter Camp Player of the Year and Doak Walker award. And, as if that wasn’t enough, he received first-team Associated Press All-American and Big Ten Running Back of the Year honors. We have this exciting young prospect as the second running back off the board in this years draft.

Pluses:
• SPEED, 4.38 40-yard dash
• Tackle breaking powerhouse
• A patient runner who finds the hole and hits it
• Great ball-handling skills (only one fumble in 2021)

Concerns:
• Questionable receiving skills (only 19 receptions in three years)
• Pass protection issues

ISAIAH SPILLER

By Brandon Lane

Texas A&M (JR), RB

Spiller saw his stock dip after not running at the combine, and what he did show in his jumps had him ranked last at the position. There were reports prior to the combine he was dealing with a strained abductor muscle which lead to his limited participation. Spiller was a top recruit out of high school but made the decision to stay local and sign with the Aggies. He was successful in all three of his college seasons averaging a consistent workload (approximately 180 carries) and productivity (5.5 YPC) in each of those seasons with approximately 1000 yards rushing and 20+ catches. Based on those numbers he should have more tread left on his tires than some of his fellow draftmates and he won’t turn 21 until August, making him one of the youngest players in this draft class. We believe Spiller will be the 3rd-to-5th back off the board in this years NFL draft.

Pluses:
• Good size and adequate speed
• Elusive runner with excellent shiftiness
• Balanced runner that utilizes good pad-level to break tackles
• Built to carry a solid workload

Concerns:
• Needs to learn patience and how to read the field better
• Not known as a pass catcher

RACHAAD WHITE

By John Mesenbrink

ARIZONA STATE (SR), RB

Rachaad White’s 2021 campaign saw this Sun Devil rush for 1,006 yards on 182 carries with an impressive 15 trips to the end zone on the ground. A dual-threat back, he also had 43 receptions for 456 yards and an additional score. White also impressed at the Senior Bowl as he was lead all Running Backs with 52 yards. A projected 4th round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, White looks to find his place as a solid backup and special teams player.

Pluses:
• Versatile dual threat
• Nose for the end zone
• Physical, yet smooth runner

Concerns:
• Explosiveness from line of scrimmage
• Needs more experience
• Blocking basics

JAMES COOK

By John Mesenbrink

GEORGIA (SR), RB

Younger brother of Vikings’ Dalvin Cook, James Cook rushed for 728 yards on 113 carries with seven TDs for the Bulldogs last year and what was even more impressive was his 6.4 YPC. A dual-threat back, Cook went for 27/274 and four TDs in the reception department. His cutting and athletic ability mimic his brother’s but is that where the similarities end? He lacks the size and tough-running ability his big bro has demonstrated at the next level. Cook looks to make an immediate impact as a third-down back or in passing situations, but not an every down back, just yet. Look for Cook to go off the board in the 3rd or 4th round.

Pluses:
• Agile and elusive
• Good vision
• Dual threat (smooth runner and catches the ball well)
• Change of direction
• Running in space

Concerns:
• Maturity issues
• Needs to be more physical/Could struggle in pass protection
• Never exceeded 15 carries in a college game (Only five games with double digit carries)

JEROME FORD

By Brandon Lane

CINCINNATI (rJR), RB

Ford entered his collegiate career at Alabama but found himself cast behind Josh Jacobs and Najee Harris (thus appearing in just eight games over two years). As a redshirt sophomore he transfered to Cincinnati for the next two seasons. In his final season he finally got his shot at being a workhorse where he rushed 215 times for 1319 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also proved he was a capable pass catcher with 21/220/1 through the air. While many consider him a tier below the top rookie backs he’s one of my favorite sleepers coming into the NFL draft.

Pluses:
• Good size and explosiviness
• Great speed (4.46 40-yard dash)
• LOTS of tread left on his tires
• Soft hands

Concerns:
• Ball security issues
• Lacks vision at times

KYREN WILLIAMS

By Brandon Lane

NOTRE DAME (rSO), RB

Williams became a starter for the Fighting Irish as a redshirt freshman who compiled back-to-back 1000 yard rushing seasons. Not the biggest nor the fastest back (4.65 40-yard dash) in the class but a very efficient runner who carried the rock 204 times for 1002 yards and 14 TDs in 2021. But it is his pass-catching skillset that bolsters his NFL stock. In his final season at Notre Dame he was dynamic as a pass catcher hauling in 42 catches for 359 yards and 3 TDs. Thought to be one of the most complete prospects coming into the draft his stock fell after a disappointing NFL Combine. I project he finds success as a complimentary back in the NFL in the mold of a James White style player.

Pluses:
• Excellent pass catcher/could man the slot
• While lacking top speed he does show good short burst
• Willing blocker
• Good juke and shiftiness

Concerns:
• Doesn’t have long speed
• Lack of size
• Needs to master blocking technique

Running Back Watch List:

Pierre Strong Jr., Zamir White, Brian Robinson, Kevin Harris, Damon Pierce

--

--

--

Fantasy Football, Original Content, News, Ranks, Advice & Flame-broiled Taeks Fantasy Sports, NFL, NBA

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Good Product, Bad Product – Video Assistant Referee (VAR)

Darlington Nagbe, A History

Frisco Bowl Betting Preview

KKR have signed Tim Southee for IPL 2021

KKR have signed Tim Southee for IPL 2021

England team’s surgery begins after Ashes series loss

England team's surgery begins after Ashes series loss

Rohit told after defeating Sri Lanka by an innings and 222 runs in the debut test as captain, what…

Rohit told after defeating Sri Lanka by an innings and 222 runs in the debut test as captain, what is the biggest challenge for him

How The NBA Uses Data & Analytics

Reasons to Keep Rooting for Those No Good Reds.

Red’s third baseman Eugenio Suarez shows frustration after an at bat. Credit: Cincinnati Enquirer.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
CHUBZBURGER FANTASYSPORTS

CHUBZBURGER FANTASYSPORTS

Fantasy Football, Original Content, News, Ranks, Advice & Flame-broiled Taeks Fantasy Sports, NFL, NBA

More from Medium

Colbeck Capital Provides Support to Cents Ability

The beginning — Why was farming started and what is its history

Smile - A Graphic Novel Review.

Football: Who should Newcastle United Sign?