Re-Ranking: Offensive Skill Positions

RB Johnathan Franklin is leaving a lasting impression in his last season at UCLA (Photo: US Presswire)

Running Back:
2013 Class-
Maybe it’s the lack of focus given to the running game when it comes to the NFL, but I just have a hard time getting excited about any of these RB’s at the moment. Don’t get me wrong there is talent from top to bottom in this class and there is a nice combination of power backs and speed backs but there is not any one player I watch and think he is a game breaking back like a Trent Richardson.

To view the 2013 Top 20 RB’s Click Here!

Most Intriguing Prospect: RB Christine Michael, Texas A&M, #8 RB 2013
Maybe its intrigue mostly about what he has done to piss off Kevin Sumlin so much but it’s clear that Michael is in the Sumlin dog house and nobody appears to know why. Michael has been downgraded from former starter to short yardage back for the most part who was seeing barely any carries through the early part of the season. His load has increased some in recent weeks but Sumlin seems to want to go with smaller and quicker backs than Michael who is more of a grinder who runs through tackles rather than around them.

Game to Watch: November 10th v. Alabama
We saw last weekend (v. LSU) that Sumlin won’t be able to just rely on Johnny Manziel when it comes to playing the big nasty defenses of the SEC West. He’s going to need to fight strength with strength and this could be a game where Michael gets a nice carry load. His power should at least be more effective v. Alabama’s front than the speed of fellow RB’s Tray Matthews and Benny Molina.

Other 2013 RB Notes:
-I really like Johnathan Franklin (UCLA, #3 2013 RB) he has the skill set I tend to prefer that combines speed and power, but what really sets him apart is his footwork and balance. Franklin dances through traffic with ease and is able to take on hits and maintain his balance and continue to pick up yardage.
-Kenjon Barner (Oregon, #5 2013 RB) isn’t getting the same love nationally that former Duck LaMicheal James got but I think he may be a better prospect. Barner has the speed and James but I see more power in him and while he may never be a full time starter he has more Darren Sproles to him than I think most people are giving him credit for.
-Arkansas has a deep pool of RB talent with but it’s Dennis Johnson (#9 2013 RB) that intrigues me the most. He has more speed and burst than most see, and he has the power to move the pile. Not to mention he’s an exceptional pass catcher.
-No draft eligible RB in the country is putting up numbers like Miguel Maysonet (Stony Brook, #12 2013 RB). Maysonet is undersized for the position but his field vision is tremendous and he does a good job finding ways to avoid taking big hits. That trait is what led to Warrick Dunn having such a long and successful career.
-Wayshaun Ealey (Jacksonville State, #18 2013 RB) has continued on a downward path ever since leaving UGA. His performance this season has been subpar and he’s no longer the feature back on his own team. Ealey needs to focus on what’s important to him and get in the best shape he can for his pre-draft workouts.

2014 Class-
While the senior RB class lacked star power the junior RB class is absolutely loaded. There up to seven big time RB’s in this class all of whom could become feature backs for NFL teams. With the market value of the RB position diminishing there is almost sure to be big time available late on Day 2 for some of these RB’s which means some teams are going to get hidden gems.

To view the Top 10 2014 RB’s Click Here!

Most Intriguing Prospect: RB Charles Sims, Houston, #4 2014 RB
Most people don’t know much about Sims yet, but they soon will. He’s one of the most versatile and dangerous backs in the entire country. He came in as a freshman and lit CUSA on fire with his speed and power. He quickly became one of Case Keenum’s favorite targets in the passing game and he earned freshman of the year honors for the conference. After sitting out the following year for academic reasons Sims returned last year to run for 821 yards and 9 TD’s and is on pace this season for nearly 1,200 yards this season. Sims is a RS Junior but could be an early entrant because of the year he missed. He has done just about everything he could of done at Houston and with a weak RB class the timing would appear to be right.

Other 2014 RB Notes:
-Both Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina, #3 2014 RB) and Knile Davis (Arkansas, #2 2014 RB) are trying to come back from season ending leg injuries suffered last year. Davis has had more recovery time and it shows as he looks to have more of his burst back while Lattimore continues to struggle to get back to his old self. As of now I don’t think Lattimore should leave but could see Davis heading for the NFL early.
-Le’Veon Bell (Michigan State, #5 2014 RB) is a big boy, but I don’t think those looking to label him as yet another heavy Big Ten runner are being fair. Bell is a phenomenal athlete who has plenty of burst to go along with power. If you’re looking to call Bell the next Ron Dayne or Curtis Ennis you’re in for a big surprise.
-The University of Buffalo rarely produces high quality NFL talent but they certainly have one on their hands in Brandon Oliver (#9 2014 RB). Oliver proved himself in Week 1v. UGA and has continued to churn through yardage no matter the opponent. The Bills have the unique opportunity to watch Oliver very closely given his proximity to the team and with an aging Fred Jackson Oliver could become an ideal replacement.

Continue to the Next Page to see the FB Rankings!

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Tags: 2013 NFL Draft, 2014 NFL Draft

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