The top 10 running backs


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Late Riser

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.

Falling Fast

Hubbard: Pass protection is a liability down to the technical fundamentals, which means he can’t be on the field on third downs.

Small-School Wonder

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.

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