Top 10 RB prospects
Arkansas' McFadden tops board for 2008 NFL draft
Posted: Thursday February 14, 2008 12:19PM; Updated: Thursday February 14, 2008 12:19PM
Here is a list of the top running back prospects. This list was compiled through a series of conversations with scouts, and through game tape evaluations.
1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas: The two-time Heisman runner-up amassed 4,590 rushing yards during his three-year career.
Blessed with a dynamic combination of speed, quickness and athleticism, McFadden is a threat to take it the distance whenever he touches the ball.
But McFadden also displays the power and toughness to grind out tough yards between the tackles.
Some scouts consider McFadden an ultra-talented, but unfinished product as a runner, even though he torched the SEC for three seasons. He has limited exposure to the passing game, and may not be a great fit in all offensive systems. Regardless, he is a top-tier talent who should be among the top players taken in the draft.
2. Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois: The Big Ten Player of the Year is the most complete back in the draft. As a tough, inside runner with excellent vision and outstanding quickness, Mendenhall is built to be a workhorse in a power-running offense. But Mendenhall also possesses the hands, speed and route-running ability to be a factor in the passing game.
Offensive coordinators will love the fact that he is a three-down back who is capable of staying on the field in all situations. That versatility will lead some teams to view him as the best running back prospect in this year's draft. If Mendenhall can shake the one-year-wonder label, he may surpass McFadden as the top running back prospect.
3. Jonathan Stewart, Oregon: The former Duck finished 2007 as the Pac-10's leading rusher (1,722) and has all the skills needed to be a feature back in a pro-style offense. His shifty but powerful running style allows him to grind out tough yards between the tackles or excel on the perimeter. And his dazzling open-field running skills will make him an outstanding kick returner and playmaker in the passing game. Stewart is a first-round talent who should be a solid starter early in his career.
4. Felix Jones, Arkansas: Despite playing second fiddle to McFadden in the Razorbacks' offense, Jones tallied consecutive 1,000 yards seasons while averaging a robust eight yards per carry. His combination of speed and quickness is scary, and his open-field running skills make him a threat to score from anywhere on the field. Although he hasn't shown the ability to be a feature back (only one game with 20 or more carries in his college career), Jones is the top complementary runner candidate in the draft.