Since we have already covered my top three quarterbacks on the year, let’s go ahead and cover the running backs. The NFL Draft continues to get closer and closer. Likewise, the NCAA season is slowly but surely wrapping up. In this article, I will discuss my top three favorite running backs going into this year’s draft. This is not the order where I feel they will be drafted; it is simply an article for you to keep these guys on your radar going into draft season. These are the running backs whose performances stood out to me the most so far.
Scottie Phillips, Ole Miss
This guy is a fun running back to watch. This senior out of Ole Miss has not had the best year this season. 2018 was a good year for him that put him on a lot of watch lists. He was just shy of having a 1,000 yard rushing season and he ran for 12 touchdowns. This season has been more of a struggle production-wise and part of it could be credited to not having a good line in front of him. This season he has over 500 yards rushing and five rushing touchdowns.
Granted, his stats aren’t the most impressive. Phillips does do things on film that are impressive and tell me that he can be a steal in the draft. He reminds me of a Le’Veon Bell in his prime. He has the ability to jump step his way into holes and then explode through them for huge gains. There is an injury concern that has popped up as he suffered a knee injury against Auburn. Overall, he is a good ball carrier who is going to likely be a steal for a team on the second day of the draft.
D’Andre Swift, Georgia
D’Andre Swift out of Georgia is a junior but is most likely going to declare for the draft. This is smart because if you are a running back you want to get in the league as soon as possible to make the most of your short shelf life. Swift has had a really good year so far. He is on track to hit over 1,000 yards rushing this year and so far on the season he has seven touchdowns. Last season he was explosive by having a 1,000-yard season and ten touchdowns and he is on track to either match that or surpass that this year. Swift is a short, and solid running back who makes quick cuts and can burn defenses in a heartbeat. I see him easily going day one of the Draft but likely somewhere after the top fifteen.
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Holy cow what a running back! This guy has everything that you could want in a running back. Like Swift, Taylor is also a junior this year, but it is very likely that he will declare to the draft. This season Taylor has had some monstrous stats. He is almost at 1,300 yards rushing on the season and 15 rushing touchdowns on the season. Not to mention he also has four receiving touchdowns as well on the year. Taylor has less yardage than last season where he ran for over 2,000 yards and had 16 touchdowns.
Taylor is an explosive running back who is a nightmare for defenders to cover. My only fear for him is that his shelf life was shortened at Wisconsin. Several schools are known to give their backs an insane amount of carries a season. By doing that it shortens the career of an athlete and increases the chance of injury. In 2018 Taylor had over 300 touches in a season, and this season he is over 200. You are not supposed to build your team around a running back, but I feel Taylor will go in the first round but I am not sure if a team will draft him before or after the halfway point of the draft.
Honorable Mention Running Backs
This year’s NFL Draft is filled with awesome running backs that are going to contribute to NFL teams for a while. It is a deep draft that is perfect for teams who need a back but do not want to reach early to get one. Some honorable mentions that I feel are impressive are:
- J. K. Dobbins, Ohio State
- Travis Etienne, Clemson
- Cam Akers, Florida State
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