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2024 NFL Draft: Ranking RB prospects, No. 1 to 29

The 2024 running back class reminds me of the group that joined the NFL in 2013. That RB crop didn't boast any top-10 picks in the mold of Bijan Robinson or Saquon Barkley, but it offered a number of quality players with promising upside.

Back in 2013, Giovani Bernard was the first running back off the board, taken with the 37th overall pick in Round 2. (Cordarrelle Patterson, the 29th overall pick, transitioned from WR to RB after several seasons in the league.) Bernard, though not a regular starter in the NFL, carved out a nice career that spanned a decade. Other backs in this class who either made a significant impact or enjoyed a lengthy career: Le'Veon Bell (Round 2, No. 48 overall), Eddie Lacy (Round 2, No. 61), Latavius Murray (Round 6, No. 181), Rex Burkhead (Round 6, No. 190), Theo Riddick (Round 6, No. 199) and C.J. Anderson (undrafted).

So, with the 2024 NFL Draft on the horizon (April 25-27), here are my top 29 prospects at the position, factoring in what I've seen on film, at the NFL Scouting Combine and during pro days.

System players

Trey Benson
Florida State

A two-time second-team All-ACC selection, Benson has the potential to be a reliable three-down back in the league. He runs the gap scheme very well, has good patience and vision, and possesses great speed, as he posted the third-fastest 40-yard dash (4.39 seconds) among running backs at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine. As a receiver, he does well when having to adjust to the ball and is adequate in pass protection. He's a nice player with an ideal body type who can carve out a solid career in the right system.

Will Shipley

Shipley is a versatile player with the ability to contribute at the next level as a runner, pass catcher and returner. He has great vision, makes sharp cuts and gets to his top speed quickly. He's also a shifty route runner who creates separation out of his breaks. Right now, the Clemson product has the goods to be a solid RB2, but he could develop into a three-down back down the road.

Blake Corum

The two-time Big Ten Conference Running Back of the Year is compact but packs a punch. Checking in at 5-foot-7 3/4 and 205 pounds, Corum is a strong runner with above-average contact balance who thrives as a short-yardage back. He led the FBS with 27 rushing touchdowns (also a school record) in 2023, and of his last 45 rush TDs at Michigan, only 12 went for more than 5 yards. He wasn't used much as a pass catcher, but could certainly be an asset out of the backfield in the NFL.

Frank Gore Jr.
Southern Mississippi

The son of future Hall of Fame running back Frank Gore is a tough, every-down runner who routinely makes the first guy miss. He displayed his good vision and quickness during his Offensive MVP performance at the East-West Shrine Bowl (six carries, 87 yards, one TD), and he has the ability to contribute in the pass game as a solid route runner with good hands.

Jaylen Wright

Wright, who models his game after fellow Tennessee alum Alvin Kamara, is an explosive runner with breakaway speed at the second level. He logged a run of at least 10 yards on more than 25 percent of his carries in 2023, showcasing prolific big-play ability. With pass-catching talent to pair with his linear running style, Wright has a real chance to one day be an NFL starter. 

Ray Davis

Davis rushed for 1,000-plus yards in each of his last two college seasons, playing for Vanderbilt in 2022 and Kentucky in 2023. He is a smooth, powerful runner with good vision and he jump-cuts well -- all of which is displayed in this fantastic touchdown run against South Carolina. At 5-8 and 211 pounds, the compact player is tough and routinely falls forward on contact. Additionally, Davis' pass-catching ability could also help him earn a larger role on Sundays.

Bucky Irving

The 5-9, 192-pound Irving is compact, fast and shifty, possessing the ability to make sharp cuts at full speed in the open field. Irving is a reliable ball-carrier with just one fumble in 475 college carries. He is a capable pass catcher, but will need to improve in pass protection to merit regular third-down duties.

Tyrone Tracy Jr.

Tracy has experience as a starter at both running back and receiver, offering versatility that should intrigue NFL teams. Not to mention, he has fine ability as a return specialist, having earned third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2023. As a runner, Tracy routinely picks up yards after contact due to his shiftiness and power. He could earn snaps early at the next level as a gadget guy.

Jonathon Brooks

Brooks is one of the better running backs in this class (SEE: Bucky Brooks' top five prospects by position); however, he's recovering from an ACL tear suffered in November. If he's able to return to full health (it could take a year), the Texas standout will provide an NFL team with an explosive dual-threat player who has good contact balance as a ball-carrier and is tough to tackle in the open field. Stuck behind Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson at Texas prior to the 2023 season, Brooks broke out this past fall, rushing for 1,139 yards and 10 TDs in 11 games as the starter before his injury. With just 238 college carries, Brooks has plenty of tread on the tires.

Braelon Allen

At 6-1 1/4 and 235 pounds, the Wisconsin product is one of the bigger running backs in this class -- measuring similarly to Le'Veon Bell, a second-round pick back in 2013. The downhill runner has great footwork and vision. Plus, he's tough to tackle in the open field. In his three seasons with the Badgers, Allen posted the second-most rushing yards and TDs in the Power Five conferences. 

MarShawn Lloyd

Lloyd enters the NFL with plenty of tread on the tires, having never surpassed more than 120 carries in a season. (Though that's partially because of missed time due to injuries.) With good speed (4.46-second 40-yard dash in Indianapolis), the USC product has big-play potential in both the run and pass games.

Jase McClellan

McClellan is a physical runner with good vision who often bounces off defenders and extends runs through contact. The Alabama product is a solid route runner with soft hands and is fairly explosive after the catch.

Rasheen Ali

The 5-11 1/4, 206-pound back is explosive at the point of contact and tough to tackle. Look no further than his 14-yard touchdown run against East Carolina last fall. Ali displays good patience, is quick through the hole and has the hands to be an asset in the pass game. Unfortunately, he sustained a ruptured biceps tendon at the 2024 Senior Bowl, so he was unable to perform at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Keilan Robinson

Robinson has a lot to offer as a kick returner, but he played a limited backfield role at Texas this past season behind Jonathon Brooks. Robinson, who ran a 4.42 40 at the combine, has good vision, is shifty and is great at making defenders miss in space. As a pass catcher, the 5-8 3/8, 191-pound back possesses the ability to create opportunities out of the backfield.

Cody Schrader

The 2023 AP first-team All-American didn't have a great showing at the combine, but his on-field play has caught the eye of many NFL scouts. Schrader amassed over 1,600 ground yards and scored 14 rushing TDs in his final season at Mizzou. He has great vision, burst and toughness. He possesses the qualities of a three-down back. 

Need time to develop

Jawhar Jordan

Jordan is a smaller back who lacks big-time explosiveness and suddenness. However, he's efficient thanks to his patience behind blocks. Jordan also has return abilities.

Isaac Guerendo

After five seasons with Wisconsin, Guerendo enjoyed his best year in his lone campaign with Louisville, logging 810 rush yards and 11 rush TDs in 14 games. Guerendo is a physical, patient runner who has good vision running behind pulling linemen. He is a solid RB, but his 4.33 speed in Indy didn't always show up in terms of on-field explosiveness out of the backfield.

Miyan Williams
Ohio State

Williams runs with urgency and routinely wins in short-yardage situations. The one-cut back boasts great ball security, but his lack of experience as a pass catcher could hurt his draft stock.

Dillon Johnson

Johnson had a breakout season with the national runner-up Washington Huskies, posting nearly 1,200 rush yards and 16 rushing TDs (tied for sixth-most in the FBS) on 233 carries, averaging 5.1 yards a pop. The 5-11 5/8, 217-pound back is a physical playmaker with long strides who can wear down defenses. He lacks elite speed (4.68-second 40-yard dash) but should fare well in short-yardage situations.

George Holani
Boise State

Holani, who missed some time to injuries throughout his five years at Boise State, is a tough, one-cut runner who gets north and south quickly. He possesses catching ability but must improve as a blocker.

Daijun Edwards

Edwards played as as a reserve in Georgia's two national championship seasons before amassing nearly 900 rush yards and 13 rush TDs as the starter in 2023. The 5-9 5/8, 207-pound back reads blocks well and gets skinny through the hole while maintaining good contact balance.

Kendall Milton

After battling injuries in his first three seasons with the Bulldogs, Milton went out on a high note, scoring 14 rushing TDs in 2023, including nine over his final five games. The north-south runner is a strong, workhorse back who could aid an NFL team in short-yardage situations. 

Audric Estimé
Notre Dame

Estime is a big, strong runner -- NFL defenders will not enjoy tackling this guy straight up, especially in colder weather. The 5-11 3/8, 221-pound Notre Dame product wears defenses down with his power and excels at the goal line, as evidenced by his 29 rushing TDs over his final two seasons in South Bend. 

Isaiah Davis
South Dakota State

The 6-0 1/4, 218-pounder is a strong, upright ball-carrier who accelerates into contact, often causing defenders to bounce off him. The FCS rushing yards leader in 2023 (1,578), Davis is a great one-cut runner with the potential to contribute on all three downs, even though he lacks top-end speed (4.57 40 time). One major question is how he'll fare against much stiffer competition at the next level.

Dylan Laube
New Hampshire

Laube's best asset is his versatility as a runner, pass catcher and returner (four TDs on kicks/punts at UNH). The 5-9 7/8, 206-pound running back has good vision and acceleration as a runner and can run a variety of routes out of the backfield or from the slot in the pass game. 

Michael Wiley

The 5-10 1/2, 210-pound running back boasts good size and is a one-cut runner with solid burst. Wiley is a long strider who bounces off first contract and routinely finishes runs. 

Kimani Vidal

Vidal amassed over 1,100 rush yards in each of the last two seasons, scoring 25 total touchdowns over that span. He is a true workhorse with good body control -- and he is an above-average pass catcher, though he needs to improve in pass protection.

Jaden Shirden

Shirden is a small-school prospect who rushed for 3,200 yards and 23 TDs over the last two seasons. He has above-average speed (4.45 40 time at the combine) and the burst, vision and processing ability to excel outside and inside the tackles. With natural hands, Shirden could be an asset in the aerial attack, though it's an area of his game that he needs to develop further. 

Emani Bailey

In his first year as TCU's RB1, Bailey ran for 1,209 yards and eight TDs on his way to honorable mention All-Big 12 honors. According to PFF, he had 70 forced missed tackles on runs (fifth in FBS) and 820 rush yards after contact (ninth in Power Five). The 5-7 3/8, 202-pounder showcases fine acceleration and speed, but I'd like to see him be more patient.

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