By Danny Cox
In the NFL, the position of running back is one that is difficult to figure out because even the best backs don’t last very long. The average career-span for running backs is about six to eight years due to the wear-and-tear on their bodies and especially on their knees. When a good one comes around, it’s best for a team to grab him and hold onto him for dear life.
The 2016 NFL Draft will be a good one for running backs and teams that need one as the class is very deep, but they may not last too long on the board.
Ezekiel Elliott – Ohio State
Two straight seasons of over 1,800 yards and from 18 touchdowns in 2014 to 23 in 2015, Elliott is a rare form of running back talent and will be a star in the NFL. With many of the top teams picking in the draft needing other positions filled, someone may forget about that and go with the best talent remaining on the board. If not in the top five, look for the Baltimore Ravens to take him at six, but he won’t get past the Philadelphia Eagles at eight.
Derrick Henry – Alabama
Sadly, there aren’t a lot of running back needy teams right now, but it’s still hard to think that this bruiser will make it out of the first round. The best option for the pounding running back is with the Carolina Panthers at number 30, but he could fall all the way to the Miami Dolphins at number 42 in the second round.
Kenneth Dixon – Louisiana Tech
Dixon is very consistent in his numbers and is a scoring machine. In four years at Louisiana Tech, he racked up 72 rushing touchdowns and over 4,400 yards. That’s not even counting the 15 receiving touchdowns on top of those numbers. The New England Patriots are desperately in need of a solid running game, and with two late second round picks, they’ll likely take Dixon.
Devontae Booker – Utah
Often times, he’s been compared to Ezekiel Elliott and that’s a tough comparison to live up to. He’s a great second-down or even third-down running back that can help a number of NFL teams as a back-up, and could even work his way up to a full-time starter. Booker probably won’t go until the later rounds, possibly the fourth or fifth.
Jordan Howard – Indiana
If a team was going to draft based solely on being able to spot open holes and knowing where to be on the field and when, then Howard would be the top back taken in the draft. His numbers haven’t been great, but they’re nothing to scoff at either. He’ll likely fall into the late third or fourth round and go to a team such as the Ravens or Green Bay Packers who need running back help.
Alex Collins – Arkansas
Getting out of the backfield was often times a problem for Collins, but he’s got a lot of speed and can really excel with the proper offensive line blocking for him. Any team looking for a solid third-down back in the fourth round will likely find Collins waiting and teams such as the Cleveland Browns or Chicago Bears could easily find a spot for him.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.