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2013 NFL Draft - The Running Backs No. 6-25

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 11, 2013


From a college football perspective, the analysis of the top running back prospects.

2013 NFL Draft Position Rankings

RBs - No. 6 to 25


By Pete Fiutak
Follow Us ... @ColFootballNews 

- 2013 NFL Running Back Rankings - Top Five

6. Johnathan Franklin, UCLA 5-10, 205
More tough than flashy, he never got on the national map despite coming up with a terrific career. He fought through some tough times as the main part of a bad offense before finally being able to break out as a scorer in Jim Mora’s first season. A fighter, he’ll push for the extra yard and will keep bouncing back to take on more of punishment. Coachable and a leader, he’s the guy you want in the locker room to carry the offense, and while he might not have the raw tools – even though he times fast – he’s going to have a productive career as long as he can stay in one piece.
CFN Projection: Third Round

7. Andre Ellington, Clemson 5-9, 199
There’s big-time upside as a home-run hitter who needs just a sliver of daylight to take off and make something big happen. A blazer with great vision and burst, he could grow into a devastating third down back and a bit of a specialist in a rotation – get him in space and the defender is in big trouble. At the very least he could turn into a good returner with the talent to break a few here and there, but he’s going to be considered a lead running back who can carry the workload. He’s not going to pound on anyone and he’s never going to block anybody, but he could become a gamechanger.
CFN Projection: Second Round

8. Christine Michael, Texas A&M 5-10, 220
If he can stay in one piece – he suffered a broken leg and a torn ACL at A&M - he could be one of the biggest steals in the mid-rounds. However, that’s a huge if. With prototype size and devastating speed, he’s out of central casting with everything you’d want in a back, but he has a hard time hanging onto the ball and there’s a bit of a quirky factor. He’s not a bad guy, but he needs to be a part of a veteran team and needs a coaching staff to make sure he’s always maintaining is focus. All the tools are there to be fantastic and he’ll look like a superstar at times in practices, but he’s way too inconsistent and he’ll be maddening at times.
CFN Projection: Third Round

9. Stepfan Taylor, Stanford 5-9, 214
There no flash, little upside and no deep-run potential, but he’s a workmanlike back who always produces and always comes up with positive yards. One of the strongest interior runners in the draft, he doesn’t fumble, is willing to hit and does all the little things right. Coaches love him because of his toughness and desire to always keep working, but he might have a short ceiling. There’s no speed and the athleticism is lacking to bounce to the outside. There’s little reason to think he can be a regular for the passing game, but he’ll find a role.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

10. Cierre Wood, Notre Dame (Jr.) 5-11, 213
The basics are in place with good bulk, a great frame and excellent straight line speed. A fantastic athlete, he moves like a much smaller back and can find a hole and blast through it. However, he doesn’t bring the power for a player of his size and doesn’t use his physical skills on a consistent enough basis. There’s good upside and potential, and it’s possible he could be just scratching the surface with the talent to potentially be an Arian Foster-like surprise in the right system, but he has to want it. He has to make the most of his chances, and a coaching staff looking for a back with terrific cutback ability could make him a key part of an attack right away.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

11. Kerwyn Williams, Utah State 5-8, 195
A specialist, he can be used as a game-breaking running back with a few touches per game, but he’ll make his money as a third down receiver and a return man. He’ll never block anyone and he’s not going to show any pop, but when he gets the ball in his hands in space, he can become a gamechanger. Any offensive coordinator worth his salt dreams of having weapons like Williams to work with, and with all the tread still on the tires – he wasn’t overused until his senior year – he should have a long and productive career as a fantastic complimentary back.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

12. Jawan Jamison, Rutgers (Soph.) 5-7, 203
The lazy will try to make comparisons to Ray Rice because he’s small, squatty and went to Rutgers – he’s not nearly the same player. There’s no power whatsoever, but he’s tough, hard to find through the line and cuts quickly and decisively as he flies through the hole. While he’s a good football player, he’s not an athlete and doesn’t have the elite quickness to be a specialty back, but he can handle the workload and won’t have any problems getting plenty of work for long stretches. He could turn into a solid No. 2 back who can be used for long stretches and not worried about – he’ll always find a way to go forward and isn’t going to fumble.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

13. Kenjon Barner, Oregon 5-9, 196
Very quick and very versatile, he’s able to make defenders look ridiculous in space by breaking them down and catching them leaning. Creative in space, he’s great at making people miss and coming up with the big play when he’s in the clear. Even though he’s extremely strong for his size, he’s not a power back in any way and he’ll go down with a slight breeze. He’s not a No. 1 back, but he could be a devastating toy to play with for about 5-to-10 touches a game.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

14. Mike Gillislee, Florida 5-11, 208
He’s not fast and he’s not going to take any to the house, but he’s going to give an honest day’s effort on every carry and with every chance. He’s a terrific interior runner who’s tougher than his build or his size, and he’s always going to want the ball in tough situations – he never backs down from a challenge. While he doesn’t have the right body and there’s nothing to get anyone drooling, he’s going to run hard every time out and can be a perfect second or third option for a few carries here and there.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

15. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina (Jr.) 5-11, 221
A cautionary tale for all top pro prospects, before suffering a devastating knee injury in the middle of last season he was considered a sure-thing first rounder, the top back in the draft and likely a top ten pick. On character he’s still the type of player you want on your team, and he still has tremendous size, strength and fight, but can he ever be the same back? It’s not just one knee injury he’s coming back from; it’s two bad ones suffering a torn ACL in each knee. While other backs have returned from major knee problems, he wasn’t as sudden and didn’t have the burst last season before getting hurt again, and this injury was worse than the first one. Everyone is rooting for him – he’s the type of guy you want to see succeed – but at this point there are too many negatives and concerns to take before the middle rounds. Someone will be fired up to take him as a chance on greatness after the top 100 picks.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

16. Knile Davis, Arkansas (Jr.) 5-11, 227
It would’ve been nice if he had come back roaring, but he struggled last season coming off an ankle injury that kept him under wraps on 2011. Over a half a season in 2010, he might have been the best back, and possibly the best player, in college football, but he wasn’t able to recapture the groove last season with major fumbling problems and little production. He looks the part with excellent size, blazing speed, lineman strength and a central casting body, but he’s not quick and he hasn’t proven he can hold up. There’s too much upside and too many positives to not give a long look, but he could be in a doghouse in a hurry if he continues to have fumbling problems.
CFN Projection: Third Round

17. Spencer Ware, LSU (Jr.) 5-10, 228
It just didn’t work out. He has the size and the talent, but he had a few off-the-field issues, was never really in top shape and didn’t play up to his skills and potential. When he’s on, though, he’s a tough runner with excellent feet for a player of his size. Throw in his blocking ability, and there’s enough there to give some coaching staff reason to believe a star is waiting to be unleashed. He needs to work his butt off – literally – with an NFL strength and conditioning coach, and he needs to show that he cares about being great, but if he puts it all together, watch out. At the very least he could grow into a devastating goal line runner.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

18. Robbie Rouse, Fresno State 5-6, 190
He’s smaller than your sister, and he’s slower than your grandma, but he’s an ultra-productive football player who simply makes things happen. Tremendously tough for his size and with a good burst in short spaces, he can work as a darting short-range back who’ll always fight for a yard and will never give up on a play. A coach’s pet, he doesn’t fumble and is a great practice player who wants to get the ball. However, his lack of size and bulk will scare away most teams. If he’s given a chance, though, he’ll produce.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

19. Rex Burkhead, Nebraska 5-10, 214
A producer. He doesn’t have the speed and he doesn’t have the size, but he’s great at turning the corner and getting positive yards when he needs to, and he’s able to carry the mail for long stretches and not wear down. He has no problems pounding away inside, and he’s able to bounce off defenders and get an extra yard or two on the outside. Tremendous in offseason workouts, he has the raw athletic tools other than straight line speed, and he’ll be a nice piece of an offensive puzzle, Coaches will love him.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

20. Montel Harris, Boston College 5-8, 208
While he doesn’t look the part and doesn’t have the right build or right body, he’s ultra-productive with great moves through the interior of the line and the toughness to do whatever is asked of him. He might not be all that strong, but he doesn’t go down with one shot and he’s tough when he has to be. Banged up a bit too often, he’ll never hold up as a No. 1 back, but he’s a fighter who’ll do whatever is needed to stay on a roster.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

LATE ROUND FLIERS

21. Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt 5-8, 215 Proj. 6
22. Ray Graham, Pitt  Proj. FREE AGENT
23. Cameron Marshall, Arizona State 5-11, 215 Proj. FREE AGENT
24. Theo Reddick, Notre Dame 5-11, 200 Proj. 5
25. Stefphon Jefferson, Nevada 5-11, 210 (Jr.) Proj. FREE AGENT

- 2013 NFL Runnin Back Rankings - Top Five