With the college football season winding down and bowl season a month away, it’s time to start thinking about where the top college running backs will go in the 2018 NFL Draft. This is a particularly deep group of backs, with a good mix of slashers, power runners and guys with a bit of both.
Without further ado, here are my top 5 2018 NFL Draft running backs:
1. Saquon Barkley, Penn State
The Penn State RB has been one of the best players in college football this year and looks like he could be drafted number one overall. Barkley shows outstanding balance and quickness to go along with a 5’11”/230 lb frame that can survive the rigors of NFL life between the tackles.
RELATED: Saquon Barkley
Barkley was ranked #1 on Sports Illustrated’s ‘College Football Freaks List’. Along with his elite athleticism, Barkley is also a threat as a receiver with smooth route running that will make him dangerous as a receiver when you add in his speed. He reminds me a lot of Lesean McCoy, except you know, he’s 230 pounds.
2. Derrius Guice, LSU
Guice has succeeded teammate Leonard Fournette at LSU excellently and looks to follow in his footsteps as a first round pick. Guice is a classic slasher who flashes power running and exceptional ability to breaks tackles. He has good wiggle and acceleration to burst through the hole when it opens, along with good receiving ability. It doesn’t hurt that he plays in the SEC either.
3. Damien Harris, Alabama
Another SEC running back, Damien Harris has opened the eyes of many scouts in recent weeks with his showings in a fairly limited sample size compared to other top RB prospects. Harris plays in a committee backfield that features himself, Bo Scarborough, and freshman phenom Najee Harris. This actually bodes well for Harris, as he won’t have as much mileage as many other backs will entering the NFL.
Now let’s talk about what kind of player he is. Damien Harris is classic low-to-the-ground back who has great balance and mixes quickness with power well. Harris also shows an impressive second gear and can outrun secondary players to the end zone. His running style is reminiscent of backs like Ahmad Bradshaw and Doug Martin.
4. Nick Chubb, Georgia
If it wasn’t for Chubb tearing his MCL, PCL and LCL in his knee, he would probably be number two on this list, but that injury has sapped him of some of the explosiveness he formerly had. However, Chubb has made a nice comeback this year and is starting to show some of his old self, even if not all of it is back yet.
The Georgia running back shows a good blend of quickness, strength and speed that will make him a three-down starter at the next level. He has an ideal NFL frame at 5’10″/220 and will run you over and make you miss alike. He is a rare talent, but his mileage and injury concern will weigh him down in the draft.
5. Bryce Love, Stanford
Another running back filling big shoes, Love backed up Christian McCaffery on his way to being drafted in the first round. While Love is probably a borderline first round pick, I think his home is definitely on Day 2 of the draft.
Bryce Love is one of the quickest and fastest running backs in this class, and is simply a dynamic as a runner. While not the biggest back at 5’9″/195 lbs, he still flashes power through contact and like a lot of backs in this class, great balance. He does play in a weak PAC-12 conference that has allowed him to average a ridiculous 9 YPC, but that shouldn’t deter teams from drafting him. If he is placed in the right scheme in the NFL that utilizes his quickness, speed and receiving ability, he can be a force.