The Post’s Ryan Dunleavy gives his top 10 running backs in this year’s NFL draft, based on evaluations and conversations with people around the league:
- Travis Etienne, Clemson, 5-10, 215 pounds: Stunning for a back to run up his odometer to four seasons, especially when Etienne could’ve been a second-rounder in 2020. After nearly 700 career carries, he still has one-cut home-run speed.
- Najee Harris, Alabama, 6-1, 232 pounds: Another product of the Running Back Factory. Can be a 300-touch back and pass-protector because he has the size to deliver and withstand punishment. Fumbled twice (lost one) in his college career.
- Javonte Williams, North Carolina, 5-10, 212 pounds: Looks thick and runs behind his pads between the tackles, drawing Nick Chubb comparisons. Highlights stand out because of how often he runs through tacklers.
- Michael Carter, North Carolina, 5-8, 201 pounds: Strange to see college teammates ranked back-to-back. Carter led the ACC in rushing last season, averaged 6.6 yards per carry in his career and returned kicks.
- Trey Sermon, Ohio State, 6-0, 215 pounds: Inconsistent at Oklahoma and Ohio State, but with massive games (331 rushing yards in Big Ten Championship) mixed in. Big yards-after-catch possibilities. Season ended with a January shoulder injury.
- Kenny Gainwell, Memphis, 5-8, 201 pounds: Four family members died of COVID-19, prompting Gainwell to sit out the season. Only FBS player to top 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in 2019. Left three years of eligibility on the table.
- Demetric Felton, UCLA, 5-9, 189 pounds: Is he a back or receiver? Antonio Gibson, a 2020 third-rounder, faced the same question and had 1,042 yards from scrimmage as a rookie for Washington. Creates space with his quickness and is dangerous in the slot.
- Kylin Hill, Mississippi State, 5-11, 214 pounds: Grinds out short yardage and catches the ball. An option as a shifty third-down specialized back. Only 15 carries before opting out of the 2020 season.
- Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma, 6-0, 231 pounds: Is he a fullback or a heavy downhill lead back? Could have some “Derrick Henry Effect” wearing out defenses. One concern is he was suspended five games by the NCAA, reportedly for failed drug tests.
- Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State, 6-0, 210 pounds: Sounds like a Ben & Jerry’s flavor but actually led the nation in rushing in 2019. Praised for his speed, vision and balance in maximizing tiny holes.
Williams: NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah thinks he could emerge as the best back in the class. Just 336 career carries suggests he has plenty left in the tank.
Hubbard: Pass protection is a liability down to the technical fundamentals, which means he can’t be on the field on third downs.
Jaret Patterson, Buffalo, 5-7, 195 pounds: Nearly 3,900 yards and 52 touchdowns on the ground in 32 games. Short and stout, with a chip on his shoulder. A lot to prove as a pass-catcher.