1. Saquon Barkley – Penn State
A freak athlete with explosiveness that can break for a home run at any time. His strength and power, with his compact frame, could make him one of the best backs in the NFL very early in his career.
NFL Comparison: Todd Gurley
What Gurley did this year under Sean McVay is what the team that drafts Saquon Barkley will hope they can get early in his career. Similar size and ability to be elite; running or catching the ball in space.
2. Sony Michel – Georgia
He is a back that is going to do a good job of finding the hole and will run through it with physicality looking to gain the extra yards.
NFL Comparison: Jordan Howard
Michel is similar to Jordan Howard as he runs well between the hashes and makes defenses pay when they meet him at the end of the hole. He can also find the crease for big gains.
3. Derrius Guice – LSU
A pure downhill runner that will work well in heavy run schemes between the tackles. He is going to go North-South and find an open crease, he also has the ability to go the distance every time he touches the ball.
NFL Comparison: Jay Ajayi
A solid back that excels in between the tackles or off-tackle runs. He really shows off with yards after contact and being a big and physical player.
4. Ronald Jones – USC
A good back in between the tackles, but may be better suited with the ball in space. Could really do well in a zone-blocking scheme and catching the ball out of backfield.
NFL Comparison: Dion Lewis
He is a play-maker out of the backfield that can do well in schemes where they can get the ball to the outside or in space. He is capable enough for inside runs and has a burst to break it through the hole. It’s his passing game skills that will intrigue NFL teams however.
5. Nick Chubb – Georgia
He is a stud when healthy that can punish a defense in the box for all four quarters. The question will be, “Can he can continue to stay healthy and be part of a committee where he is punishing on early downs?” What I also like about Chubb is that he can sneak outside and make plays as a pass-catcher making him a solid early down back with versatility potential.
NFL Comparison: Jonathan Stewart
Like Chubb, when healthy, Stewart is a solid and physical back between the tackles that has shown he can be a great early down back to move the offense down the field.