The 87th annual NFL Draft is fast approaching, so now is the perfect time to look ahead and get to know some of the top prospects in the class. I’ll break down each position and take a look at some teams who may be in the market for that type of player. At the end, I’ll give you a look at my final mock draft. This time, we’re looking at the running backs.
Much like the quarterback class, this group lacks a definitive number one and may not see a running back taken until the late first round. While there may not be a top-level, instant impact guy, there could be around 6 or 7 taken in the first three rounds. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top five running backs in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Breece Hall RB, Iowa State 5’11 217lb
Hall is a true three down running back. Racking up over 3,000 yards and 41 touchdowns on the ground the last two years, Hall also possesses the pass catching ability to keep him on the field, 482 yards and 5 touchdowns over the same span. While he has the size to handle a heavy workload, the fact he was relied on to do so much at Iowa State causes some worry about his health and longevity going forward
Kenneth Walker III RB, Michigan State 5’9 211lb
Walker was by far the top back in college football last year bringing home both the Doak Walker (best RB) and Walter Camp (best player) awards. He carried the ball 263 times for 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns, showing he can handle a heavy workload. In the modern NFL though, running backs need to contribute in the passing game and that’s an area Walker will look to improve.
Isaiah Spiller RB, Texas A&M 6’0 217lb
Spiller’s career for the Aggies was one of consistency, with his best coming in 2020 with 1,036 yards and 9 touchdowns. Spiller makes good reads and can change pace as he runs but he will need to improve his hands and pass blocking in order to play a crucial role at the next level.
Dameon Pierce RB, Florida 5’10 218lb
Pierce was arguably the most underused running back in all of college football. Pierce ran for 574 yards and 13 touchdowns despite only carrying the ball 100 times. This low usage may be attractive for some teams, as he doesn’t have the wear and tear of some other backs. Pierce is a violent runner so it will be interesting to see how that style of play works with an increased workload.
James Cook RB, Georgia 5’11 199lb
Unlike his brother Dalvin, James lacks the big build and ability to absorb contact. He’s projected as a change of pace back with the ability to create mismatches in the passing game. But don’t expect him to ever carry a heavy workload.
Teams Targeting RBs
Buffalo Bills– While the Bills recently signed Duke Johnson, they still don’t feature a true number 1 and could use more depth at the position.
Kansas City Chiefs- Clyde Edwards-Helaire has struggled to stay healthy and make a consistent impact so the Chiefs may look to bring more competition into the room.
New York Giants- Saqoun Barkley has only played a full season once in his four-year career. The Giants are giving Daniel Jones another shot so expect them to try and surround him with more talent on offense.
What are your thoughts? Any prospects you think I missed? Follow me on Twitter @devinlowe123 and let’s engage!
NEO Sports Insiders Newsletter
Sign up to receive our NEOSI newsletter, and keep up to date with all the latest Cleveland sports news.