They might not all show up and workout, but these are the five best running back prospects going into the 2018 NFL Combine.
Daily Five: Running Back Rankings Before The NFL Combine
Running back matters again. Granted, New England and Philadelphia ran by committee, the the Vikings survived after losing Dalvin Cook, but Leonard Fournette, Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott showed just how much a top-shelf back can change a team.
From the college perspective, how good are these guys? Just simplify it – who can play football well enough to make an impact at the next level? At least at the moment, here are your five best running backs.
5. Royce Freeman, Oregon
Career Statistics: 947 carries for 5,621 yards (5.9 ypc) and 60 touchdowns, 79 catches for 814 yards and four scores
Why Royce Freeman Is Here On The List: Oregon’s offense is known for its flash and dash, but Freeman is more of a ham-and-egger workhorse type – and that’s not a bad thing.
The 6-0, 234-pounder doesn’t have the power of a LeGarrette Blount, and he’s not the back Jonathan Stewart was coming out, but he should be the next ultra-productive former Oregon back if he can stay in one piece.
Brilliant over his first two seasons with close to 2,200 rushing yards and 35 scores, he seemed like a lock to leave early after his junior year, but a knee injury knocked him down a bit.
He roared back with a huge senior season, but is there too much tread off the tires? He touched the ball 1,025 times in his Duck career – that’s not a plus.
He can catch, he can be used at times as a workhorse, and he’ll always produce. As long as you’re not expecting a whole lot of pizzazz, he’ll work out just fine.
What The NFL Types Want To See: Is everything okay with the knee problem of a few years ago? How beaten up is he? The medical evaluation will be vital. Better blocking and better pass protection would be nice.
Bottom Line: He’ll slide because he might just be another good NFL running back – but there are plenty of those. Make him a part of a rotation, and he’ll be ultra-productive for the 10-to-15 touches a game he’ll get, and he’ll rock around the goal line.