by Darren Church @DC_0_happy
If I told you that 2013 was the first draft since 1963 in which zero running backs were taken in the first round, would you believe me?? Well it’s true and to make running backs even more annoyed, more centres were taken in last year’s first round! The first running back taken last year was Cincinnati’s Giovanni Bernard at Pick 37 with Packer’s star Eddie Lacy taken at Pick 61! So has the running back position been devalued by teams?? I certainly don’t think so considering last year’s Superbowl champs the Seahawks use of Marshawn Lynch in their ground and pound offense. I think its simply a case of teams finding there are plenty of good running backs out there, and it is a lot easier to grab them in the later rounds. Whereas it is a lot harder to find good quarterbacks and offensive/defensive linesman in later rounds. Can this years crop of running backs reverse last years result and have a first round selection?? It’s going to be very close in my opinion.
In this article I will be highlighting the top 3 Running Backs that will be taken off the board in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Carlos Hyde, RB
Draft Position: 30 – 2nd Round
Potential Teams: San Francisco, Atlanta, Tennessee, New York Giants
At 6’0” and 242lbs (109.7kgs) Hyde has the size to punish between the tackles, but also has showed he has that second gear and ability to run away from defenders. Is a good pass catcher and has that rare valuable ability in running backs of being able to pass block. He has a superb combination of power, speed, balance and body lean, which makes him the top running back prospect. His stock did take a little hit when he failed to set a good time in the 40 yard dash at the draft combine due to a minor hamstring injury. He will need to make this back up on his upcoming pro day, as this guy may be the best chance running backs have of breaking last years record and have one guy chosen in the first round.
Bishop Sankey, RB
Draft Position: 2nd round
Potential Teams: Atlanta, Tennessee, New York Giants, Baltimore, New York Jets
Being 5’10” and 209lbs (94.8kgs) enables Sankey to be a great outside jump cutter with excellent quickness, agility and patience. Is a natural pass catcher on top of being a willing and effective pass blocker which is key to being the first running back taken this year. I have put Sankey just behind Hyde due to his slim frame and not being as thickly built as Hyde, which equates to him being more of an elusive runner than a powerful/tackle breaking runner like Hyde. But I would not at all be surprised to see Sankey jump over Hyde and be the first running back selected off the draft board come May 8th.
Tre Mason, RB
Draft Position: 2nd round
Potential Teams: Tennessee, New York Giants, Baltimore, New York Jets
He is 5’8” and 207lbs (93.9kgs) so a lot lighter and more nimble than Hyde, but this helps him to be unbelievably quick and have the ability to start and stop on a dime. He has incredible endurance shown by the number of carries he had for Auburn through each game last year, he was still running as hard on the 30th carry as he was on the 1st. He falls behind Hyde and Sankey and into the late second round because he is a one-speed running back who lacks that high gear to breakaway from defences. His pass catching ability and pass protection are mostly unknown commodities at this point due to Auburn not using him that way, which also causes his stock to fall. Has the ability to double as a kick returner which he did well in college.
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