NFL combine winners and losers: Running Backs

NFL combine winners and losers: Running Backs

Rookie Analysis

NFL combine winners and losers: Running Backs

(Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)

The college ranks are providing better quality rookie running backs in recent years and 2018 should maintain that trend. Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette are recent successes. The position had drifted back into the second round for their first drafted players but is back to being the valuable major cog in offenses.


Saquon Barkley (Penn State) – The freak of the first round did nothing to change that perception. His 40-time of 4.40 was second only to Nyheim Hines who is 33 pounds lighter than Barkley. His 41″ vertical leap was tops in the position. He tied with Nick Chubb for the most bench presses (29).  He is the biggest, fastest, highest-jumping, and most talented back in the draft. Barkley even displayed his tremendous catching skills. He is in play for the No.1 overall pick and only placed even more distance between himself and whichever back ends up as the No.2 taken in April. He’s a lock for the first rookie back taken in all fantasy drafts.

Nick Chubb (Georgia) – The bruiser ex-Bulldog answered the questions about his speed and explosiveness that stemmed from his 2015 knee injury. The burly 5-11, 227 pound Chubb ran a 4.52/40 and his 10’8″ broad jump was the second best among the position. He tied with Barkley as the strongest in bench presses. He jumped 38.5″ in the vertical. He’ll be one of the first backs taken in April and likely second only to Barkley.

Bo Scarbrough (Alabama) – The talented back ended with a 5.7 yard per carry average in college but never had more than 124 runs in any year playing in the Crimson Tide’s diverse offense.  He did his draft stock major favors when he ran a 4.52/40 and led all backs with a 10’9″ broad jump. His 40″ vertical was among the best and the 6-0, 228 pounder made the case that he could become a reliable every down back.


Ronald Jones (USC) – Going into the combine, Jones was already a consensus Top 5 running back and likely a Round 2 pick. He gained 6.1 yards per carry for the Trojans and rushed for 19 touchdowns and 1,550 yards last year. He was expected to run around a 4.5/40 but pulled up lame with a hamstring strain in his first attempt. It won’t cause him to fall in the draft but he missed a chance to improve his stock.

Darrell Williams (LSU) – Coming from an offense that featured Derrius Guice, Williams needed to show the measurables that would suggest he could be more than just a complementary player. He ran a sluggish 4.72/40 and had the worst broad jump (9’1″) and only managed a 32″ vertical jump. His stock dropped even further.

Kamryn Pettway (Auburn) – In the same vein as Williams, Pettway needed to improve his stock after playing behind Kerryon Johnson. The 6-0, 235 pound back only managed a 4.74/40 and had among the lowest marks for broad jump and vertical jump. He’ll be lucky to become Day 3 roster fodder.


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