With the 2017 NFL Draft only a few months away, it’s time to take a position-by-position look at the upcoming draft class. Today, we’ll start with arguably the Green Bay Packers biggest need on offense – running back.
Rankings are subject to change based on player workout numbers and injury updates this spring, but for these early rankings, I go solely off of the film grade.
When evaluating players, I use a 12-trait system with certain traits weighted more than others depending on the position. The scoring adds up to 100 possible points. I also watch a minimum of four games per-player before assigning a player grade.
This is clearly one of the deepest positions in the draft, and it’s a group I’ve really enjoyed evaluating on film.
Even with talented backs like Nick Chubb and Royce Freeman returning to school, there’s still plenty of impact players at the position.
Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook are the clear-cut top backs and they’re a level above everyone else. Neither back will make it out of the first round.
The next tier is made up of Christian McCaffrey, D’Onta Foreman, and Jamaal Williams. However, each player comes with their fair share of question marks. Foreman is a bruising downhill runner with good burst, but his game is still not complete.
McCaffrey is a dynamic athlete whose versatility will hold a lot of weight in certain draft rooms. However, does he have the size to take a beating 20 carries a game for the duration of an entire NFL season?
Williams continues to get very little media buzz, but his film is nothing short of impressive. He’s an explosive, punishing runner with big-play potential. However, he has dealt with several significant injuries in college.
As far as the rest of the class, Wayne Gallman, Kareem Hunt, and Jeremy McNichols are solid options in rounds 3-4 for teams in the draft. Just from an evaluation standpoint, they’re film is fun to watch.
Joe Mixon received the third-highest film evaluation grade from me, just behind Fournette and Cook. However, the former Oklahoma tailback could go undrafted this spring because of domestic abuse incident in 2014 where he struck a woman unconscious. The video of the incident is well circulated and this alone will force several teams to take Mixon off their draft board.
A lot of buzz is building for Tennessee back Alvin Kamara. I need to watch more of his film before I feel confident in putting him in my top 10. Based on the handful of games I’ve seen, it’s clear he’s a dynamic runner, but his inconsistent production and impact in games gives me pause.
Most Underrated RB: Wayne Gallman
Most Difficult RB to Project: Joe Mixon
RB that needs Further Evaluation: Alvin Kamara
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the specific breakdowns on each of the top 10 running backs who will be available in this year’s NFL Draft …