Saquon Barkley*, RB, Penn State
Height: 5-11. Weight: 223. Projected 40 Time: 4.49. Projected Round (2018): Top-10 Pick. 1/13/18: Barkley has devastating quickness to hit the hole and accelerate downfield. Along with great speed, he has tremendous balance, vision, cutting ability, elusiveness and power. Barkley looks like a better prospect than Ezekiel Elliott, and is proving that he is a prospect of similar caliber to players like Leonard Fournette and Todd Gurley. There is no doubt that Barkley is an elite prospect and currently is the top offensive skill-position prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft. He is in the running to be the top prospect at any position.
On the year, Barkley averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,271 yards with 18 touchdowns. He had 54 receptions for 632 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver.
Barkley had a dominant game against Iowa to carry his team to a tough road win and illustrate why he is a tremendous talent and a game changer. Versus the Hawkeyes, Barkley ran for 211 yards on 28 carries with one touchdown. He caught 12 passes for 94 yards to lead Penn State in receiving, too. The junior had 53 return yards on special teams as well. Between all of that, Barkley set a Penn State record for all-purpose yards. The Iowa tape illustrates why Barkley is worthy of being a top-five pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Earlier, Barkley had a superb game against Pittsburgh with 14 carries for 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground with four receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown as a receiver.
7/17/17: Barkley was excellent in 2016, and NFL sources have already said they think he's a stud back for the next level. The sophomore averaged 5.5 yards per carry on the year for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also made 28 catches for 402 yards and four touchdowns as a receiver.
Barkley was very impressive as a freshman in 2015 when he averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,076 yards with seven touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 161 yards and a score. Barkley was very impressive running for 194 yards on 26 carries against an Ohio State defense loaded with NFL talent. Barkley is a tough runner with a burst.
Bryce Love*, RB, Stanford
Height: 5-10. Weight: 196. Projected 40 Time: 4.50. Projected Round (2018): 1-2. 1/13/18: Love dominated defenses in 2017 as the replacement for Christian McCaffrey. Love averaged a staggering 8.1 yards per carry for 2,118 yards with 19 touchdowns. As a receiver, he made six catches for 33 yards. He ran for 263 yards on UCLA and 301 yards on Arizona State. Love isn't the biggest of backs, but he is extremely fast with rare speed. Scouting sources say that Love has great vision, balance, underrated strength to get through tackles, is shifty in the open field, and is a home-run hitter. They see him as having late first-round potential in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Kerryon Johnson*, RB, Auburn
Height: 6-0. Weight: 212. Projected 40 Time: 4.54. Projected Round (2018): 2-3. 1/13/18: Johnson carried Auburn to wins over Alabama and Georgia to put his draft stock on the map late in the 2017 season. Versus both defenses loaded with NFL talent, Johnson showed real quickness with good cutting ability, vision, and decisive downhill running. He also played banged up, illustrating his toughness to withstand a heavy work load and some hard hits. In 2017, Johnson averaged 4.9 yards per carry for 1,391 yards with 18 touchdowns. He also had 24 receptions for 194 yards and two scores.
Johnson was the workhorse for Auburn in 2017 and the team engine for their second-half surge. He has second-day potential for the 2018 NFL Draft. Johnson ran for 895 yards and 11 scores in 2016.
Derrius Guice*, RB, LSU
Height: 5-11. Weight: 212. Projected 40 Time: 4.52. Projected Round (2018): 2-3. 1/13/18: Guice averaged 5.3 yards per carry in 2017, totaling 1,251 yards with 11 touchdowns. He had 18 catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns as well. Guice was banged up and missed the Week 5 game against Troy with a knee injury. Late in the regular season, Guice was looking better and seemed to regain some of his speed as he got healthier. Guice is a tough runner with speed, strength, good instincts, and running ability. He could be a good three-down starter in the NFL.
7/17/17: With Leonard Fournette in and out of the lineup with an ankle injury in 2016, Guice took advantage of a larger-than-expected workload to have a breakout sophomore season. He averaged 7.6 yards per carry for 1,387 yards with 15 touchdowns, plus took nine receptions for 106 yards. Guice had some massive games with 252 yards versus Arkansas and 285 yards rushing against Texas A&M. He is a tougher runner with quickness.
Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
Height: 5-11. Weight: 212. Projected 40 Time: 4.49. Projected Round (2018): 2-3. 1/13/18: Michel averaged 7.9 yards per carry in 2017 for 1,227 yards with 16 touchdowns. He would be a three-down starter at most schools, but Georgia has a huge stable of backs whom the coaches spread carries to. Team sources have told WalterFootball.com that Michel has a lot of fans in the scouting community and is receiving second-day grades. Some even prefer him over Nick Chubb because Michel did more in the passing game as a receiver and blocker during his collegiate career.
7/17/17: Michel played well in 2016 while serving as the backup to Nick Chubb. On the season, Michel took 152 carries for 840 yards - 5.3-yard average - and four touchdowns. He also had 22 receptions for 149 yards.
At most schools, Michel would be a starter, but he has been Chubb's backup for the vast majority of his collegiate career. Still, Michel is a rushing threat with deceptive speed. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry in 2015 for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns. He also had 26 receptions for 270 yards and three scores. Michel looks like he could be a mid-round steal for a NFL team.
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
Height: 5-10. Weight: 220. Projected 40 Time: 4.51. Projected Round (2018): 2-3. 1/13/18: Chubb averaged 6.0 yards per carry in 2017 for 1,345 yards with 15 touchdowns. The senior had two receptions for 20 yards as well. His production was suppressed by Georgia splitting the carries among a huge stable of backs. Scouting sources liked what they saw from Chubb in 2017, and he looked back to his old form. Chubb is faster, more physical, tougher to tackle, and more decisive than he was in 2016.
7/17/17: In 2016, Chubb averaged 5.0 yards per carry for 1,130 yards with eight touchdowns. He had five receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown as well. Chubb didn't quite have the speed and explosion that he had before his 2015 knee injury. Considering it was only about a year since he was hurt, that is understandable.
Prior to his season-ending knee injury in 2015, Chubb had picked up where he left off as a freshman. The sophomore averaged 8.1 yards per carry for 747 yards and seven touchdowns in his shortened 2015 season. In 2014 while splitting time with Todd Gurley, Chubb averaged 7.1 yards per carry for 1,547 yards with 14 touchdowns. He also caught 18 receptions for 213 yards and two scores.
Chubb is akin to a human bowling ball, rolling over tacklers and and being a physical force in the SEC. He is a powerful runner who also has the quickness to rip off yards in chunks. He also is an explosive track competitor.
Akrum Wadley, RB, Iowa
Height: 5-11. Weight: 191. Projected 40 Time: 4.50. Projected Round (2018): 2-3. 1/13/18: Wadley averaged 4.4 yards per carry in 2017 for 1,109 yards with 10 touchdowns. He also had 28 receptions for 353 yards and three touchdowns. Wadley had a huge performance to almost lead Iowa to an upset of Penn State. This season, he was excellent as a receiver and also has flashed as a kick returner.
7/17/17: Late in the 2016 season, team sources told WalterFootball.com that Wadley was really impressing them. The junior averaged 6.4 yards per carry in 2016 for 1,081 yards with 10 touchdowns. He also contributed as a receiver with 36 catches for 315 yards and three touchdowns. Wadley totaled 83 carries for 496 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore.
L.J. Scott*, RB, Michigan State
Height: 6-1. Weight: 230. Projected 40 Time: 4.56. Projected Round (2018): 2-3. 1/13/18: Scott averaged 4.5 yards per carry in 2017 for 898 yards and eight touchdowns. He totaled 20 receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown as well. Scott is a talented runner who needs to improve his ball security.
Michigan State hadn't gotten a lot of attention in the national or draft media after a down season in 2016, but scouting sources who had been through the program were impressed with Scott. They think that the 6-foot-1, 229-pounder Scott is more than just a power back. They like his surprising speed and athletic ability to be more than a North-South runner. He's patient and has feet that can make tacklers miss. Scouts think that Scott could be even more athletic and quicker if he drops some weight. They talk about how Le'Veon Bell was too heavy at Michigan State and became a different player after losing weight at the direction of the Steelers. Scott may not have gotten all the notice he merits, but teams are eyeing him as a value pick.
7/17/17: Scott ran for 994 yards on 184 carries (5.4 average) with six touchdowns as a sophomore. Even though Michigan State had a down season, Scott ran hard, and that was evident late in 2016 when he rushed for 160 yards and caught two passes for 76 yards against an Ohio State defense loaded with NFL talent. He had 699 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns as a freshman in 2015. Scott is a big, physical runner who could be a pounding runner in the NFL.
Ronald Jones II*, RB, USC
Height: 6-0. Weight: 200. Projected 40 Time: 4.55. Projected Round (2018): 2-3. 1/13/18: Jones ran really well for USC in 2017, showing more decisiveness and displaying more power after gaining weight in the offseason. On the season, Jones averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,550 yards with 19 touchdowns. He also had 14 receptions for 187 yards and a score. Jones is a quick and shifty runner with starting potential.
7/17/17: Jones has been a tough runner for the Trojans since his first season, when he averaged 6.5 yards per carry for 987 yards with eight touchdowns. Jones improved slightly in 2016 with an average of 6.1 yards per carry for 1,082 yards and 12 touchdowns. Over two seasons, he has a total of 18 receptions. With Sam Darnold carving up defenses, Jones should have plenty of good running looks in 2017.
Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
Height: 5-11. Weight: 230. Projected 40 Time: 4.56. Projected Round (2018): 2-4. 1/13/18: In 2017, Freeman averaged 6.0 yards per carry for 1,475 yards with 14 touchdowns. The senior took 14 receptions for 164 yards as well. The big power back will participate in the Senior Bowl.
7/17/17: Freeman was banged up in 2016 and didn't look like the same player as the year before. He barely played against Nebraska and missed the game against Colorado with a leg injury. Freeman returned to the field afterward, but he wasn't the same as evidenced by his games against Washington (11-50), California (15-10) and Arizona State (17-38). Freeman averaged 5.6 yards per carry in 2016 for 945 yards with nine touchdowns. He had 23 catches for 144 yards as well.
Freeman was the bell-cow back for the Ducks the previous two seasons. He impressed as a freshman by averaging 5.4 yards per carry for 1,365 yards with 18 touchdowns while also picking up 16 receptions for 158 yards and a score. Freeman was even better as a sophomore, averaging 6.5 yards per carry for 1,836 yards with 17 touchdowns. He added 26 receptions for 348 yards and two scores as well.
Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
Height: 5-11. Weight: 220. Projected 40 Time: 4.61. Projected Round (2018): 2-4. 1/13/18: Penny ran well as a senior, using his size to roll over a lot of weak opponents. He averaged 7.8 yards per carry for 2,248 yards with 23 touchdowns, plus made 19 receptions for 135 yards and two scores. As a junior, Penny averaged 7.4 yards per carry for 1,005 yards with 11 touchdowns. He caught 15 passes for 224 yards and three scores that season as well.
For the NFL, Penny is a one-cut downhill runner. He has a nice build, but runs upright and could stand to improve his knee bend to run behind his pads. Penny may not have special speed or power in order to be a starter in the NFL. He could still be a rotational backup, but he will need to improve his pass protection.
Josh Adams*, RB, Notre Dame
Height: 6-2. Weight: 225. Projected 40 Time: 4.57. Projected Round (2018): 3-5. 1/13/18: Adams ran really well in 2017, with the Fighting Irish fielding one of the best ground attacks in the nation. Behind a tremendous offensive line, Adams was a tough runner, using his size to be a downhill power back while still possessing enough quickness to break off long runs. Adams averaged 6.9 yards per carry for 1,430 yards with nine touchdowns on the year. He had 13 receptions for 101 yards as well. Adams ran for 933 yards as a sophomore after putting up 835 yards as a freshman.
Martez Carter, RB, Grambling State
Height: 5-9. Weight: 205. Projected 40 Time: 4.51. Projected Round (2018): 3-5. 1/13/18: In late September, team sources told me that Carter was a player who had really impressed scouts this fall. One area scout said that Carter is a bigger Tarik Cohen and is arguably as good as Cohen was last year in college. They also say that Carter impressed them in 2016, when he averaged 7.7 yards per carry for 906 yards with 11 touchdowns. Carter added 28 receptions for 351 yards and three scores last season, too.
The senior averaged 5.1 yards per carry in 2017 for 854 yards and 10 touchdowns, plus took 33 receptions for 449 yards and two touchdowns. If Carter impresses at an all-star game, he could really help rise up draft boards as Cohen's success will also help him.
Nyheim Hines*, RB, N.C. State
Height: 5-9. Weight: 197. Projected 40 Time: 4.48. Projected Round (2018): 3-5. 1/13/18: Hines is a speedster back who produced a lot of big plays for N.C. State in 2017. He a broke out on the season, averaging 5.6 yards per carry for 1,112 yards with 12 touchdowns. He had 26 receptions for 152 yards as well. Hines didn't contribute much as a runner before 2017, but he did have 43 receptions for 525 yards as a sophomore. On special teams, Hines averaged 25 yards per kick return over three years with two touchdowns. He averaged 11.3 yards per punt return with a touchdown in 2017.
Hines would fit best in the NFL as a change-of-pace receiving back who also contributes as a returner. He could be a nice speed weapon for an offense.
Kyle Hicks, RB, TCU
Height: 5-10. Weight: 210. Projected 40 Time: 4.53. Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 1/13/18: Hicks has some fans in the scouting community as a rotational back. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry in 2017 for 637 yards with four touchdowns while being part of a rotation at the position. The redshirt senior had 30 receptions for 291 yards and a touchdown as well. Hicks showed serious receiving ability with 47 catches for 417 yards and two touchdowns in 2016. That season, he also averaged 5.1 yards per carry for 1,042 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Myles Gaskin*, RB, Washington
Height: 5-10. Weight: 193. Projected 40 Time: 4.52. Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 1/13/18: In 2017, Gaskin averaged 6.2 yards per carry for 1,380 yards and 21 touchdowns. He made some great catches and flashed as a receiver out of the backfield. Gaskin had 19 catches for 232 yards and three scores through the air.
7/17/17: Gaskin was a steady runner and contributor for the Huskies in 2016. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry for 1,373 yards with 10 touchdowns. He caught 19 passes for 137 yards. Gaskin ran for 1,302 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015. If he were bigger, Gaskin could be ranked higher.
John Kelly*, RB, Tennessee
Height: 5-9. Weight: 205. Projected 40 Time: 4.54. Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 1/13/18: Kelly is a tough runner, but he has a limited skill set for the NFL. The junior averaged 4.1 yards per carry in 2017 for 778 yards with nine touchdowns. He also had 37 receptions for 299 yards. Kelly had a strong start to the 2017 season before Tennessee struggled in the final two months of the year. In the NFL, Kelly could be a quality backup and rotational back, but lacks the skill set to be a three-down starter.
Bo Scarborough*, RB, Alabama
Height: 6-2. Weight: 228. Projected 40 Time: 4.54. Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 1/13/18: Scarbrough averaged 4.8 yards per carry in 2017 for 596 yards with eight touchdowns. He had 17 receptions for 109 yards as well. Scarborough has the upside to produce more, but Damien Harris served as Alabama's feature back while others were splitting carries with Scarbrough.
7/17/17: Scarbrough emerged as a potentially devastating workhorse running back at the end of the 2016 season. He averaged 6.5 yards per carry on the year for 812 yards with 11 touchdowns. He is similar to Derrick Henry with the size to run over defenders and a surprising burst to break off long runs for a big back. Scarborough could be a workhorse back for the NFL.
Roc Thomas, RB, Jacksonville State
Height: 5-11. Weight: 193. Projected 40 Time: 4.55. Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 1/13/18: Team sources told me that Thomas impressed him in the fall. The senior averaged six yards per carry for 1,065 yards with 13 touchdowns in 2017. He also made 21 receptions for 244 yards. As a junior, Thomas averaged 6.2 yards per carry for 782 yards and seven touchdowns, plus had 16 receptions for 173 yards and a touchdown. Thomas started out his collegiate career at Auburn before transferring to Jacksonville State.
Justin Jackson, RB, Northwestern
Height: 5-11. Weight: 193. Projected 40 Time: 4.55. Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 1/13/18: Jackson averaged 4.6 yards per carry in 2017 for 1,311 yards with 11 touchdowns. He had 44 catches for 276 yards as well. The senior didn't play as well in the early portion of the year and looked banged up. Additionally, Northwestern's offensive line was terrible and struggled to open holes. The Wildcats also lacked receivers who could keep teams from stacking the box.
7/17/17: Jackson is an impressive runner who has been extremely productive the past three seasons. As a junior, he averaged 5.1 yards per carry for 1,524 yards with 15 touchdowns. He also caught 35 passes for 219 yards. Jackson ran for 1,418 yards as a sophomore and 1,187 yards as a freshman with 43 combined receptions. Jackson lacks size for the NFL, but he could be a change-of-pace and receiving back.
Ralph Webb, RB, Vanderbilt
Height: 5-10. Weight: 202. Projected 40 Time: 4.48. Projected Round (2018): 5-7. 1/13/18: In 2017, Webb averaged 4.3 yards per carry for 831 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also notched 13 receptions for 188 yards and a touchdown as a receiver. Webb played better than the numbers illustrate, as he went against much more talented defenses that sold out to stop him.
7/17/17: Webb goes under the radar at Vanderbilt, but he has been one of the more steady backs in the SEC the past few seasons. Webb averaged 5.1 yards per carry in 2016 for 1,283 yards with 13 touchdowns. He caught 21 passes for 166 yards. The previous year, he averaged 4.2 yards per carry for 1,152 yards and five scores. Webb chipped in 24 receptions for 188 yards and two scores, too. As a freshman, he ran for 907 yards. Webb is a smaller back who might not be a starter in the NFL, but he could be a solid rotational back who also contributes in the passing game.
Lavon Coleman, RB, Washington
Height: 5-11. Weight: 228. Projected 40 Time: 4.59. Projected Round (2018): 6-FA. 1/13/18: In 2017, Coleman averaged 4.6 yards per carry for 407 yards with four touchdowns. He had 13 receptions for 155 yards as well. He was the power-back backup to Myles Gaskin, but Coleman is a solid player.
7/17/17: Coleman is a thick back who combined with Myles Gaskin to form a tough rushing duo for Washington. In 2016, Coleman averaged 7.5 yards per carry for 852 yards and seven touchdowns. That was big increase over rushing totals of 176 and 565 in the previous two seasons. Coleman isn't much of a receiver, totaling just 18 receptions over three years.
Kamryn Pettway*, RB, Auburn
Height: 6-0. Weight: 235. Projected 40 Time: 4.58. Projected Round (2018): 6-FA. 1/13/18: Pettway was suspended for the 2017 season opener. After that, he averaged 4.0 yards per carry for 305 yards with six touchdowns. He also made three catches for 32 yards. Pettway lost the starting job to Kerryon Johnson, plus missed the final four games of the regular season with a shoulder injury. Pettway decided to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.
7/17/17: The power back Pettway was a rotational fullback in 2015 before becoming Auburn's feature runner in 2016. During a breakout season, Pettway was one of the top backs in the SEC as he averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,224 yards with seven touchdowns. Unsurprisingly with Auburn's offense, he didn't get thrown the ball as he had only two receptions on the season.
Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 230. Projected 40 Time: 4.53. Projected Round (2018): 6-FA. 1/13/18: Ballage is a backup power-back candidate for the NFL as a late-rounder or, more than likely, an undrafted free agent. He might be better off moving to fullback. In 2017, the senior averaged 4.3 yards per carry for 657 yards and six touchdowns. As a junior, Ballage had 536 yards with 14 touchdowns on the ground. He made 44 catches for 469 yards and a touchdown as well that season.
Jordan Scarlett*, RB, Florida
Height: 5-10. Weight: 213. Projected 40 Time: 4.55. Projected Round (2018): 6-FA. 1/13/18: Scarlett didn't play in 2017 as he was suspended indefinitely. Scarlett was charged with credit-card fraud before entering a pre-trial diversion program in early November.
7/17/17: Scarlett enjoyed a breakout sophomore season as he averaged 5.0 yards per carry for 889 yards with six touchdowns. He is a physical, downhill back who has nice quickness. Scarlett could have had more production, but Florida's offense was held back by quarterback play that led to a weak passing offense and many drives ending in punts. If the Gators can pass enough to keep defenses honest, Scarlett could have a big season because he is a talented runner.
Nick Wilson, RB, Arizona
Height: 5-10. Weight: 199. Projected 40 Time: 4.53. Projected Round (2018): 7-FA. 1/13/18: Wilson averaged 4.8 yards per carry in 2017 for 614 yards and six touchdowns. He missed some time with an ankle injury.
7/17/17: Wilson averaged 5.8 yards per carry in 2016 for 320 yards with three touchdowns. He also made two receptions for 11 yards. Wilson missed seven games because of injury in 2016.
Wilson had an impressive debut in 2014 with an average of 5.8 yards per carry for 1,375 yards and 16 touchdowns. As a sophomore, he missed four games and saw his total dip to 725 yards with an average of 5.5 per carry and eight touchdowns. He has to stay healthy in 2017 to help his draft stock.