As we near the end of February we are heading full force into NFL draft season. The Combine will take place the first week of March which leads to College Pro Days and culminates at the NFL Draft that starts on Thursday, April 28th. The Combine will be back at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana while the NFL Draft will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada this year.
Last year, we saw the first running back come off the board when Najee Harris was selected with the 24th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Travis Etienne went next to the Jacksonville Jaguars and that rounded out the running backs selected in the first round. This year, it is shaping up that we likely won’t see a running back taken in the first round of the draft. It isn’t that there aren’t running back needy teams, it is just that it seems that running backs are developed rather than impactful from the jump. If a running back isn’t taken in the first round, it will be the first time that has happened since 2014.
When we look at the 2022 NFL running back prospects, there are some household names at the top with Isaiah Spiller, Kenneth Walker II and Breece Hall. Spiller is a three-year player from Texas A&M who is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Walker began his collegiate career at Wake Forest, but he was a beneficiary of the transfer portal and had his talent unlocked at Michigan State. Last season, he rushed for 1,646 yards with 18 touchdowns. Hall has been dominating the Big 12 for the last two seasons for Iowa State and opposing defenses have to be happy that he will be gone. Over those two years, he totaled 3,044 rushing yards with 41 touchdowns. Yes, you read that correctly. He AVERAGED 20.5 rushing touchdowns per season.
After the top-three, the running back rankings get very murky and we are likely looking at depth pieces for NFL rosters. A sleeper for me is Kennedy Brooks out of Oklahoma. He played in three seasons over four years due to opting out due to Covid-19 in 2020. In each season he had over 1,000 yards rushing and in his first two seasons, he did it behind current NFL player, Trey Sermon.
2022 NFL Draft Prospects: RB rankings at Combine
|Kenneth Walker III
|Brian Robinson Jr.
|Pierre Strong Jr.
|South Dakota State
|Chris Rodriguez Jr.
|Ricky Person Jr.