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Kaboom! Magazine.com 2018 NFL Draft Preview: Running Backs

Kaboom! Magazine.com 2018 NFL Draft Preview: Running Backs

Kaboom! Magazine.com 2018 NFL Draft Preview: Running Backs
Every NFL football team’s Super Bowl dreams and ambitions start at the exact same place….THE DRAFT. Every year, thousands of the top college athletes make themselves available for 32 NFL teams to draft and become professional football players. This year’s draft class features some of the most talented and most controversial athletes in the leagues history. Kaboom! Magazine.com prepares you for the 2018 NFL Draft with our annual draft preview. We will showcase the best players at each position entering this year draft, as well as a lot of late round gems that can help your favorite team hoist the Lombardi trophy for many years to come. Today, we will be focusing on this year’s top running backs and predict which new back we feel will have the best career in this draft class.


Running Backs:
Saquon Barkley is being considered by many as the Jim Brown for the social media era, but there are also other monster backs in this class that will be gaining a strong following all of their own.


1. Saquon Barkley (Penn State):
Is he already the greatest? At the NFL Scouting Combine, Barkley was out of this world with a 40 time that was amazing at his size. His combine performance locks him into the top-four picks of the 2018 NFL Draft and bolsters his chances of going No. 1 overall. Barkley has devastating quickness to hit the hole and accelerate downfield. Along with great speed, he has tremendous balance, vision, cutting ability, elusiveness and power. There is no doubt that Barkley is an elite prospect and currently is the top offensive skill-position prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft. He is in the running to be the top prospect at any position.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Notre Dame vs Louisiana State

2. Derrius Guice (LSU):
A BAYOU BULLDOZER! Guice averaged 5.3 yards per carry in 2017, totaling 1,251 yards with 11 touchdowns. He had 18 catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns as well. Guice is a tough runner with speed, strength, good instincts, and running ability. He could be a good three-down starter in the NFL. Guice has a shot at being a late first-round pick and shouldn’t last long if he slips to the second round.


3. Sony Michel (Georgia):
Michel averaged 7.9 yards per carry in 2017 for 1,227 yards with 16 touchdowns. He would have been a three-down starter at most schools, but Georgia had a huge stable of backs whom the coaches spread carries to. To close out his collegiate career, Michel was excellent at breaking off long runs and running all over good defenses to propel Georgia past Auburn and Oklahoma. He did well in the combine field drills, but didn’t electrify with his 40-yard dash. Michel is viewed as the second-best running back prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft by many teams, and in speaking with team sources, they say that Michel has a 50-50 shot at being a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.


4. Nick Chubb (Georgia):
Chubb averaged 6.0 yards per carry in 2017 for 1,345 yards with 15 touchdowns. The senior had two receptions for 20 yards as well. His production was suppressed by Georgia splitting the carries among a huge stable of backs. Scouting sources liked what they saw from Chubb in 2017, and he looked back to his old form. Chubb is faster, more physical, tougher to tackle, and more decisive than he was in 2016. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Chubb had a good workout, running well in the 40 and looking good in the field work. Chubb is akin to a human bowling ball, rolling over tacklers and and being a physical force in the SEC. He is a powerful runner who also has the quickness to rip off yards in chunks. He also is an explosive track competitor.


5. Ronald Jones II (USC):
Jones ran really well for USC in 2017, showing more decisiveness and displaying more power after gaining weight in the offseason. On the season, Jones averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,550 yards with 19 touchdowns. He also had 14 receptions for 187 yards and a score. Jones is a quick and shifty runner with starting potential. He needs to gain more weight for the NFL in order to be a three-down back capable of handling a big workload. Jones pulled his hamstring at the combine on his 40-yard dash run, and in reality, he is more of a 4.4- or 4.5-second runner for the 40.


Sleeper Pick: Rashaad Penny (SDSU):
Penny ran well as a senior, using his size to roll over a lot of weak opponents. He averaged 7.8 yards per carry for 2,248 yards with 23 touchdowns, plus made 19 receptions for 135 yards and two scores. Penny is a thickly built downhill runner. He has a surprising burst to hit the hole and accelerate to the second level. Penny is fast for a big back and can run away from the defense after getting to the open field. His second gear is very impressive and makes him dangerous to rip off long runs on any carry. Penny combines quick, feet, good balance, and decisive running to be a dangerous runner for a zone-blocking system. That kind of system would be his best fit in the NFL.

2018 Draft Class Career Predictions:
Best Career: Saquon Barkley
Most Pro Bowl Selections: Saquon Barkley
Most Super Bowls: Rashaad Penny
Hall of Famers: Saquon Barkley