1-Najee Harris, Alabama
While I don’t personally feel that Najee Harris is better than Etienne, I do feel that he had better performances on the big stage, and that helped his draft stock drastically. Harris is everything that an NFL offense could want for a run-heavy HB scheme. I don’t see Najee making it past the first round, and I think that if he goes to a team with a solid offensive line, he could be in next year’s OROY running. While most strong runners aren’t good pass catchers, Najee seemed very comfortable going out on routes for Alabama. Najee is also a very solid blocker.
2-Travis Etienne, Clemson
Etienne was the top halfback in this class up until the final couple weeks of play when Harris went absolutely insane. Etienne is truly a do-it-running back. He has an insane mix of explosiveness, the ability to make contact, and is a nightmare matched up with linebackers in the passing game. I don’t see him lasting until day 2 either.
3-Javonte Williams, North Carolina
Javonte’s draft stock improved an insane amount this season. While he was good all season, his game against Miami was huge. Having the entire nation run all over what was supposed to be considered a good defense, was huge for him. While he was in a two HB system, he was without question the main guy. He is a powerful runner that bounces off tackles and has enough elusiveness to make them miss at the next level. I see him being an early day two pick.
4-Trey Sermon, Ohio State
While other rankings have Sermon lower, all I have is one response. Ohio State vs Northwestern. He ran all over a strong Big 10 defense in an important game. While he doesn’t have the run-away speed to have huge plays at the next level, he has very quick feet and raw power to make up for it. While he might not be a starter his first season in the NFL, I could see him being some team’s goal-line back.
5-Jaret Patterson, Buffalo
This might be a bit high for him, as he faced very little competition this season. That being said, the numbers he put up against the teams he did play were historic. I could see Patterson falling in the draft, but whatever team gets him, will get a compact fast runner that could be the 2nd guy on an HB committee.
6-Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis
Kenneth was a great halfback for Memphis this year, and many people have him at the 4th best HB in this class, and I can honestly see why. He has amazing vision, is a solid pass catcher, and has nice footwork. His ability to catch and the ball as a 3rd down back is what will get him snaps in the NFL. The only thing that dropped him in my prospect ranking is a personal preference. I see Kenneth being a great receiving back in the NFL.
7-Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State
Jermar’s biggest strength in my opinion is what he is able to do with the little carries he receives. I know this may be a worry for some, that he doesn’t have the “workhorse” durability that others have, but I see this as a pro. He isn’t going to be a starter for any team but will take advantage of the reps he does get with whatever team takes him.
8-Chubba Hubbard, Oklahoma State
Chubba had a historic college career at Oklahoma State. The scheme I think Chubba could succeed within the NFL would be an Air Raid Zone scheme, to take advantage of the fact that they wouldn’t be keyed in on him. Chubba’s stock dropped a little bit when he opted out on this season, as he did halfway through. Many took this as a sign that he quit on his team. I could see Chubba being the second string back on a passing team.
9-Michael Carter, North Carolina
While Michael Carter may not have been the primary back on his team, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t good. Carter had a solid season, rushing for over 1000 yards, averaging over 8 yards a carry. Carter is someone that I see slipping in the draft, and some team will land a gem when they take him. If he goes to a team where he can get a decent amount of carries as the secondary back, I really like his future.
10-Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma
Stevenson didn’t get over 1000 yards rushing this season, but that is okay IMO. Stevenson really didn’t get that many carries in a pass-heavy offense and got solid yardage with the carries he did get. I could see him becoming a rookie stud from the RedZone and on short-yardage situations.