Running back rankings for the 2013 NFL Draft

2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Running Backs

3/11/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Blog Photo - Running back rankings for the 2013 NFL Draft7. Andre Ellington (Clemson): I'm not as high on Ellington as some people because I don't like his lack of strength and finishing ability, and also am concerned with how his speed advantage will translate at the next level (he only ran a 4.61 forty at the combine). That being said, I still think he has a shot at being an effective back, in large part due to his ability to be patient and read blocks. He finds holes well and accelerates through them quickly. While he won't put his shoulder into a tackler and drive him backwards for an extra couple yards, he does have good balance that requires defenders to wrap up to bring him down.

8. Johnathan Franklin (UCLA): UCLA's all-time leading rusher finished off his career very strong with 1734 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 6.1 yards per carry. He's a speedy runner with some strength to fight off tacklers, especially when they go after his upper body. He has displayed nice explosiveness, getting up to speed and firing through holes quickly. My biggest concern is that, like Montee Ball, many of Franklin's most impressive plays came when he had huge holes to run through. He doesn't create much when there is not a sizable hole in front of him. He'll also need to improve his ability as a receiver. His best fit would be in a power scheme in which he could be a one-cut speedster who hits holes hard and drives piles - sort of a poor man's Darren McFadden.

9. Joseph Randle (Oklahoma State): Randle has been extremely productive over his past two seasons, but he's really been more of a product of Oklahoma State's high powered offense than a bona fide elite runner. He has some explosiveness to get through holes, but lacks finishing ability and doesn't break tackles the way a lot of these other prospects do. He runs too straight up and will need to correct that at the next level. He is very effective in the passing game, and will likely find most of his NFL success as a receiver out of the backfield.

10. Stepfan Taylor (Stanford): Taylor found success in college with a balanced running style, bringing decent speed and decent strength combined with good vision to gain yards. A lot of his success, however, came as a result of running behind an exceptional offensive line. He didn't create many plays without having big holes to run through, and was sometimes even too slow to make plays when he had space ahead of him. In case you missed it, he had a terrible combine, running a 4.76 forty, putting up only 17 bench reps, finishing bottom-three in both vertical and broad jump, and not finishing near the leaders in any other drill. He is a good pass catcher and a reliable blocker, which should give him some value on third downs in the NFL. His tough running style could help him produce on the ground as a pro, but his mediocre strength combined with a lack of explosiveness, speed, and quickness makes me wary of his potential production.

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