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2017 Scouting Combine Preview: Leonard Fournette leads running back group

Will the Packers add a running back in this year’s draft? This year’s position group has a fascinating blend of big, power backs and tiny, shifty ones.

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Arkansas Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Scouting Combine continues to inch closer and closer, and today we take a look at the running back position to find some interesting stories and players who should have workouts that are worth watching and monitoring. The running backs will meet with the media with the first group of players on Thursday, March 2nd, then they take the field on Friday for their workouts.

Here are a few names to watch at the position early on next week.

Leonard Fournette, LSU

Largely considered the best running back in the draft (with Florida State’s Dalvin Cook in the conversation), Fournette has drawn some comparisons to Adrian Peterson this offseason. A 6’1”, 230 pound man should not move the way he does, and at that size he very well may run his 40 in the 4.4s.

Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State

One of the running backs who is expected to be among the fastest at his position in Indy is also one of the smallest. Pumphrey, who set the FBS career record for rushing yardage (if you follow the NCAA’s bizarre record book which does not include Ron Dayne’s bowl statistics, at least), is slightly built at around 5’8” and 170 pounds. He had better work out well, and he may need to add some bulk from that Senior Bowl measurement as he will face durability concerns at the next level.

James Conner, Pittsburgh

Conner’s story in interviews next week will likely revolve around his fight with cancer, but on the field he will need to prove that he’s more than just a lumbering power back. He was listed at 6’2” and 235 pounds, and he is not expected to display the speed or agility of a player like Fournette. Conner will need a great workout if he hopes to have his name called on Day 2 of the draft.

Tarik Cohen, North Carolina A&T

Like Pumphrey, Cohen is a small man who should run fast. He was listed at 5’6” and 179 pounds by the Aggies, and put up ridiculous collegiate numbers — nearly 1700 rushing yards with a 7.5 yards-per-carry average and 19 total touchdowns.

Joe Williams, Utah

Williams is a fascinating story — he retired from football early on last season, but returned to the game a month later. In just nine games, Williams ran for over 1400 yards. Now he comes to Indianapolis with his fire for football back in his belly. A good workout could vault him from a late-round pick or undrafted free agent into a solid day three selection.

Other players to watch:

Corey Clement, Wisconsin
Dalvin Cook, Florida State
D’Onta Foreman, Texas
Kareem Hunt, Toledo
Alvin Kamara, Tennessee
Christian McCaffrey, Stanford