NFL 2021 Draft Prospects: Part II: Running Backs

-John Turner

Next up are all the future fantasy football stars, and in this article we look at some of the running backs. Tons of talent this year available and many of whom didn’t get a chance to showcase an entire season worth of games. With rumblings of uncertainty involving the NFL combine, I’d hate to be a scout this year. There’s also a bit of a monkey wrench with a bunch of opting out this season I wonder how much it impacts their draft stock or the stock of others. I could probably spend a full day talking about some of the all time greats and comparing them is one of the more fun football arguments to have. Each season we get blessed to see one or two from each draft class end up in that conversation. Who will be the cream to rise to the top this year? Only time will tell.

The average back has a shelf life of approximately 725 carries in an NFL career. This little factoid is probably one of the main reason teams have gone away from having a feature three down back and have moved to utilizing a tandem or by committee approach. Either way there’s only been one running back selected in the 1st round the last two years. Most teams looking for one, take them in rounds two or three if they’re looking for a potential starter or one to be a regular in the rotation. It’s just the way the league has evolved the past decade. Also it helps that the rookie pay scale for a player taken outside of round one drastically drops off with much less guarenteed money at that.

Travis Etienne has been an absolute monster in his four years at Ohio State. With almost 5,000 yards, a 7.2 yards per carry average, and 70 touchdowns, he certainly seems 1st round worthy. I’m thinking if Miami addresses their O line in free agency and is moving forward with Tua Tagovailoa and or makes the trade for Deshaun Watson, they may very well take Travis with the third pick.

Another potential first rounder is Najee Harris. Not quite the the stat line that Etienne has but some may argue the competition is a bit stiffer in the SEC than that of the BIGTEN. Not that 6.0 yards per carry and 46 touch downs, is something to brown upon either. He’s a bigger back, but they way he runs kind of reminds me of Trent Richardson. I think he may goner the end of the first round or high in the second and the Seahawks come to mind for some reason.

Then there’s Chuba Hubbard. He’s a facinating player to me since I think he’ll either win the rushing title in the NFL a few time or be a complete bust. Before the season began he threatened to no play due to head coach Mike Gundy being found in a photo wearing an OAN shirt. Then during the season he played as if he was just waiting for it to be over. He may have better served himself by opting out since his stats sophmore year were out of this world, for now I think he’s a third rounder.

One more name to look out for whom I believe could end up as a good player at the next level is Jake Funk from Maryland. He suffered back to back ACL injuries but came back strong last season with 8.6 per carry on only 60 touches over four games. He’s got New England Patriots written all over him.

Travis EtienneRB5’10⅛”212Clemson
Najee HarrisRB6’1¾”232Alabama
Michael CarterRB5’9½”199North Carolina
Javonte WilliamsRB5’10”220North Carolina
Chuba HubbardRB6’0½”205Oklahoma State
Kenny GainwellRB5’11”191Memphis
Chris EvansRB5’10”215Michigan
Trey SermonRB6’0″224Ohio State
Elijah MitchellRB5’10⅛”218Louisiana
Demetric FeltonRB5’9½”194UCLA
Rakeem BoydRB6’0½”209Arkansas
Deon JacksonRB6’0″219Duke
Trey RagasRB5’10”222Louisiana
Larry Rountree IIIRB5’10½”210Missouri
Brian Robinson JrRB6’2″224Alabama
CJ VerdellRB5’9″205Oregon
B.J. EmmonsRB5’11¼”226Florida Atlantic
Ty ChandlerRB5’11”209Tennessee
Josh JohnsonRB5’8⅝”220UL Monroe
Kylin HillRB5’10⅜”215Mississippi State

Broken tackles, and spin moves, and stiff arms too… It’s A Football World, we’re all just passing though.

Next up: Wide Receivers and Tight ends

Photo credit: CBS Sports