1. Leonard Fournette, LSU
The 6-foot, 240-pound machine that is Fournette has appeared to be NFL ready since his freshman year at LSU. Fournette is clearly the most talented prospect at his position, his speed and power are that of a once-in-a- lifetime player. In his college career, he recorded over 2700 rushing yards and 40 touchdowns and has recovered nicely from his injuries that sidelined him for a handful of games during the 2016 season. There is no mystery with drafting Fournette, teams know what they are getting: an absolute beast.
Who should take him: The Jacksonville Jaguars at the No. 4 pick seem to be the obvious fit for Fournette. The Jags could use a balanced running back to take pressure off of quarterback Blake Bortles. Also, if he happens to fall all the way to the Carolina Panthers at No. 8, the Cam Newton/Fournette duo would surely be a nightmare for defenses.
2. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
McCaffrey’s draft stock has exploded after he had the NFL Combine of a lifetime last month. He posted a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash and had the second highest broad jump. McCaffrey overall ranked in the top 5 in five of the seven drills. In his final two seasons at Stanford, he tallied over 3600 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns rushing and had over 1300 yards returning as well. At just under 6-feet and 200 pounds, he lacks the size that teams want to see, but he makes up for it in quickness and athleticism.
Who should take him: McCaffrey is the best fit for Carolina. He would give Newton the chance to stretch the field horizontally and vertically with his receiving skills. If McCaffrey drops out of the top-10, the Philadelphia Eagles would be a solid landing spot for him at No. 14.
3. Dalvin Cook, Florida State
Cook is one of the few running backs on this list that improved his game year-to-year in college. During his freshman year, he had a modest 1,008 yards rushing and then jumped to 1,691 and 1,765 in his final two season at Florida State to go along with 45 touchdowns. Cook has one of the biggest upsides for running backs in this class with his exceptional speed burst and lateral quickness. Character issues are the only thing getting in the way with Cook, but barring any off-field problems, he has a chance to have a breakout rookie season.
Who should take him: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should do everything in their power to draft Cook at No. 19. The Bucs have already brought in weapons for Jameis Winston receiver-wise, but Cook takes pressure off Winston in the running game. If the Eagles are feeling antsy about getting a back early and Fournette and McCaffrey are gone, Cook would be the next best thing.
4. Alvin Kamara, Tennessee
The draft stock for Kamara has been on a steady incline since his final game at Tennessee. He went from being a mid-round pick to possibly breaking into the first round. Kamara spent the majority of his career on the bench behind Jalen Hurd and combined for just under 1200 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns in his career. However, it was shortly realized just how under-utilized he was as a Vol and scouts quickly touted him as being one of the most talented backs in the draft.
Who should take him: The Green Bay Packers would be a match made in heaven for Kamara. His skills as a pass catcher out of the backfield would fit perfectly in the Packers’ pass heavy offense. The Minnesota Vikings would also be a solid spot for Kamara as well and he would surely see more carries in their offense.
5. D’Onta Foreman- Texas
Foreman is the most underrated running back in the 2017 draft class. He was the most productive back in the nation in 2016 for the Longhorns. In his final season, he rushed for over 2,000 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns. He’s similar to Fournette in that he has great athleticism for a player with such size. Although Foreman does have problems in pass protection and is certainly a work in progress, he’d make a great sleeper pick.
Who should take him: The New England Patriots will surely take a running back in this draft and Foreman meets the specifications of past backs they have had. Foreman is the type of strong runner in between the tackles that the Pats are looking for. The Washington Redskins may also be willing to spend a low to mid-round pick on Foreman.
Edited by David Bradford
Featured image by Sumner Gilliam