No running back was selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. It was the first time the position wasn’t selected during the first round in 50 years. History is set to repeat itself.
The 2014 running back class is devoid of a first-round talent.
Here are the top running back prospects for the 2014 NFL draft:
1. Tre Mason, Auburn
As the season wore on, Mason got stronger. In the Iron Bowl and the SEC and National Championship games, Mason carried the ball 109 times for 663 yards. Mason is a stout runner with the rare ability to cut without decelerating. He also presses the hole and sets up blockers well.
2. Jeremy Hill, LSU
Hill is an easy projection because he comes out of a pro-style running attack. Hill is a big and physical back at 233 pounds, who also has the ability to break long runs. The biggest question surrounding Hill is an off-the-field incident which occurred prior to the season.
3. Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Hyde is very similar to Hill in size and production. The biggest difference is Hyde played in a spread scheme, where most of his yards were gained running downhill. Hyde can make quick cuts in small areas to make defenders miss. He’s also an option in the passing game.
4. Charles Sims, West Virginia
Sims has very good speed and quickness as a runner. Yet, he was tentative at times during his one year playing with the Mountaineers. Sims is also one of the most polished receivers among the running backs with 213 career catches.
5. Andre Williams, Boston College
Williams was a true workhorse for the Eagles. He carried the ball 355 times for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns. Williams is a big back (5-11, 230) at his best running between the tackles.
6. Terrance West, Towson
West is another high-volume ball carrier. He ran the ball 391 times for 2,468 yards and 40 touchdowns. West is a decisive one-cut runner and tremendous in short-yard situations.
7. Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
Seastrunk is easily the most explosive runner in this class. He explodes through a hole and runs by defenders. The main concern his toughness and ability, or lack thereof, to run effectively between the tackles.
8. Bishop Sankey, Washington
Sankey is a good all-around back, but there are questions why his performances didn’t look as explosive as his workouts. He doesn’t look overly explosive during games, but he ran a sub-4.5 40-yard dash at the combine.
9. Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona
Over the past two seasons, no running back at the FBS level ran for more yards than Carey. Carey is a strong one-cut zone-scheme runner. But he’s not the best overall athlete or the biggest back.
10. Marion Grice, Arizona State
Grice brings value on third down. He is the most advanced pass catcher of this group. He’s as comfortable lined up wide as he is taking a hand-off.
Mason was at his best during the biggest games of the season.
11. Devonta Freeman, Florida State
12. James White, Wisconsin
13. Tyler Gaffney, Stanford
14. Henry Josey, Missouri
15. Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern
16. Kapri Bibbs, Colorado State
17. Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky
18. LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State
19. Storm Johnson, Central Florida
20. James Wilder Jr., Florida State