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2013 NFL Scouting Combine Preview: Running Backs

This year's rookie class of running backs is like a well-chiseled player at that position: lean at the top, but thick and powerful through the middle.

Gregory Shamus

I'm not going to sugar-coat it: it's not a good year to want an Adrian Peterson or Trent Richardson-like running back who can do everything from day one and be just as dangerous between the tackles as in the open field. Those backs just don't exist here. However, there are a lot of good running backs who will find extremely productive roles on their new teams, and I expect that this class will produce a large number of solid, successful runners for the NFL.

Top Prospects

Around the top of the rankings are several names fighting to be the first back taken: Eddie Lacy (Alabama), Montee Ball (Wisconsin), Stepfan Taylor (Stanford), Giovani Bernard (North Carolina), and Johnathan Franklin (UCLA) all will likely be drafted in the first three rounds.

Mid-Round Sleepers

Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina) is coming off two gruesome knee injuries but has all the ability in the world - he won't be doing much running or agility work, but will likely participate for the sake of interviews. Christine Michael (Texas A&M) has a blend of speed and power that could be intriguing. Le'Veon Bell (Michigan State) is the only running back taller than 6 feet who will likely be drafted. Kenjon Barner faces concerns about his size at 5'9 and 188 pounds, but his speed will make him very appealing to some team looking to snatch him up in the middle rounds.

Best Names

Stefphon Jefferson (Nevada) earns a nomination here for egregious use of extra consonants. Ontario McCalebb (Auburn) might only fit as a kick returner in the NFL, but his name fits in well. Rex Burkhead (Nebraska) should be an action movie star (I think he was mentioned somewhere in an epic Mystery Science Theater 3000 show), not a running back.

Most Interesting Small School

Once again, there's really only one choice here: Stony Brook, the State University of New York. Miguel Maysonet is their sole representative, and hopes to be the first alumnus of Stony Brook to be a productive NFL player. Maysonet is viewed as a late-round or undrafted free agent prospect, but he led the FCS in rushing yards per game this season while helping the Seawolves to a 10-3 record and a berth in the second round of the FCS playoffs.

Players shown in italics are underclassmen. Players shown with an asterisk are likely to be fullbacks in the NFL.

Player School
Anderson, C.J. California
Ball, Montee Wisconsin
Barner, Kenjon Oregon
Bell, Le'Veon Michigan State
Bernard, Giovani North Carolina
Bohanon, Tommy* Wake Forest
Boren, Zach* Ohio State
Burkhead, Rex Nebraska
Davis, Knile Arkansas
Ellington, Andre Clemson
Ford, Michael LSU
Franklin, Johnathan UCLA
Gillislee, Mike Florida
Graham, Ray Pittsburgh
Harper, D.J. Boise State
Harris, Montel Temple
James, Mike Miami (FL)
Jamison, Jawan Rutgers
Jefferson, Stefphon Nevada
Lacy, Eddie Alabama
Lattimore, Marcus South Carolina
Line, Zach* SMU
Maysonet, Miguel Stony Brook
McCalebb, Onterio Auburn
Michael, Christine Texas A&M
Pryor, Lonnie* Florida State
Randle, Joseph LSU
Riddick, Theo Notre Dame
Rouse, Robbie Fresno State
Stacy, Zac Vanderbilt
Taylor, Stepfan Stanford
Thompson, Christopher Florida State
Tucker, Matthew TCU
Ware, Spencer LSU
Williams, Kerwynn Utah State
Wilson, Braden* Kansas State
Winn, George Cincinnati
Wood, Cierre Notre Dame

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