NFL Draft 2018: Top Five Running Backs
Joe Skinner, Jason Marcus and Camden Tofil break down the top running back prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft:
With the NFL Draft being nearly a month away, the running back position is one of the deepest and strongest positions in this class. Here are my top five for 2018.
1. Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Arguably the best prospect in this Draft is Saquon Barkley out of Penn State. Barkley has a combination of speed and power that is rare among backs in the NFL. Considered by many to be the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, Barkley has a chance to be the first running back to go No. 1 overall since former Nittany Lion Ki-Jana Carter in 1995.
Barkley is the prototype every-down running back in today’s NFL as he can run, catch, and block. He has received high praise from his teammates, coaches, and scouts to the point of being compared to guys like Barry Sanders and Le’Veon Bell. Being a star not only on the field but off the field as well has Barkley looking like a surefire star in the NFL right away.
2. Derrius Guice, LSU
After Barkley, there seems to be a little bit of drop-off, but don’t overlook Derrius Guice out of LSU. Guice was tasked with replacing Leonard Fournette, a top-five pick in 2017, but he did an outstanding job. Rushing for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2017 against the tough SEC has put Guice into first-round discussion.
Guice’s violent style is brutal for his opposition to go against, but it also hampered him with injuries last season. If he can stay healthy in the NFL his comparisons to Marshawn Lynch may turn out to be true.
3. Sony Michel, Georgia
Splitting carries with fellow draft prospect Nick Chubb caused him to have fewer carries, but don’t let that hinder your opinion on Sony Michel. Even though he only started two games in 2017, Michel still totaled 1,227 yards and 16 touchdowns in route to leading Georgia to the National Championship.
Michel is similar to Barkley in the fact that can run, catch, and block effectively. Michel, along with Barkley, is one of the biggest home-run hitters in this draft class. He averaged 7.9 yards per attempt last season and could be a steal for a team looking for a running back on Day Two.
4. Ronald Jones II, USC
Ronald Jones II out of USC is an electric running back that could make a huge impact right away as a rookie. Jones was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection last season as he totaled 1,550 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Jones is one of the strongest runners in the Draft as he only fumbled twice in his USC career. Jones will look to work on his passing catching once he gets into the league as he is already a great runner and blocker. Look for Jones to be a late 1st/early 2nd round pick in April.
5. Kerryon Johnson, Auburn
The Junior out of Auburn took over the lead-role this past season and flourished. Johnson was spectacular for the Tigers as he went for 1,391 yards and 20 total touchdowns. With one of quickest initial bursts in the draft, Johnson has potential to be a feature back in the NFL.
Kerryon Johnson’s durability problems at Auburn has caused NFL teams to be cautious when looking at the Tiger back. Johnson could start off in a similar situation as Tevin Coleman for the Falcons. But, Johnson didn’t make it past the second round of the NFL Draft.
Camden Tofil is a freshman majoring in advertising. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.