As we approach the end of the season, I’ll be releasing my early top-five players at each position, along with some brief notes on each player. Keep in mind, these are early rankings and subject to change as we gather more information and take a closer look at each prospect during the pre-draft process.
In this installment of our series we take a look at the dynamic and ridiculously loaded running back class.
1. Saquon Barkley, Junior, Penn State
Saquon Barkley is more of an all-purpose back but still has the size to be a pure runner. He will need to cut down the dancing behind the line and just take what the defense gives him. The one area of weakness for Barkley coming into the season was pass protection, however, he has improved vastly in that area. Barkley is one of the best running back prospects in a long time and has a legitimate chance at going 1st overall, something that hasn’t happened since 1975.
2. Derrius Guice, Junior, LSU
Guice is a physical back with the ability to take it the distance on any play. He is deceptively quick and capable of making defenders miss in the open field. He is an above-average pass-blocker and receiver, and is a more all-around back than his former teammate Leornard Fournette. When healthy Guice is a joy to watch and a monster on the field. He will be one of the first names called at the draft from this loaded running back class.
3. Damien Harris, Junior, Alabama
Damien Harris entered the season as the lesser-known back from Alabama, but has emerged as the Tide’s best running back prospect. Harris is a natural and efficient runner, who is both quick and powerful. As a receiver he is not used regularly, but has displayed soft hands and the athleticism to create separation within his routes. Harris is one of the better blockers out of this group and could be an every down back at the next level.
4. Bryce Love, Junior, Stanford
Bryce Love is a name that has soared up draft boards this season and is a legitimate Heisman candidate. If Love can add some extra weight he would be the perfect three-down back in the NFL. Elite playmaking ability and a threat to take it the distance on every play, Love has NFL scouts drooling over his potential.
5. Ronald Jones II, Junior, Southern California
Ronald Jones is a natural runner and an all-around back. He has excellent hands and can be a threat out of the backfield, but can also pass protect effectively. A little on the smaller side, Jones is still physical and always fights for extra yards. Jones, finally getting a lead role this season, is starting to fly up draft boards.