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2020 NFL Draft

(Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports)

2020 NFL Draft Way Too Early Running Back Rankings

2020 NFL Draft
D’Andre Swift tops the way too early 2020 NFL Draft running back rankings. Who else cracks the top 10? #2020 NFL Draft (Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports)

After discussing the quarterbacks, it’s time to dive into the way too early 2020 NFL Draft running back rankings. This upcoming running back draft class looks special. That might even be an understatement. You’re going to see stud backs go in the 4th and 5th rounds of the draft because that’s how deep it is. That’s probably where Josh Jacobs would get picked in this draft class if we’re being honest. Let’s get right down to business and check out the early season running back rankings.

Way Too Early 2020 NFL Draft Running Back Rankings

1: D’Andre Swift (Georgia)

It’s not easy to get carries at Georgia. D’Andre Swift was so god damn good that he got playing time as a true Freshman despite having Nick Chubb and Sony Michel on the roster. The craziest part is that Swift might just be better than both of them and that’s saying something. Swift is the entire package. He can run and catch passes out of the backfield.

The Philadelphia born tail back averaged 7.6 yards per carry as a true Freshman. In 2018, Swift ran for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns on just 163 carries. He also contributed in the passing game reeling in 32 receptions. Swift has unbelievable elusiveness that really separates him from the other backs. I’ll be shocked if he isn’t the first back off the board.

2020 NFL Draft
JK Dobbins might not be Ezekiel Elliott but he is a star that’s ready for the NFL. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)

2: JK Dobbins (Ohio State)

Mike Weber was supposed to be the next star running back at Ohio State after Ezekiel Elliott. Dobbins took Weber and stuck him in his back pocket. I’m not saying Dobbins is Elliott but he is an excellent prospect. Dobbins rushed for over 1,400 yards as a true Freshman. He took a bit of a step back in 2018 but distractions at Ohio State were a real thing. Dwayne Haskins also put the offense on his back and turned it pass heavy. At 5-foot-10, 215, Dobbins has a quick first step and is dangerous when he gets a full head of steam.

2020 NFL Draft
Does any running back have more upside than Cam Akers? I’m excited to see if he starts to live up to his lofty hype. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

3: Cam Akers (Florida State)

The talent is off the charts here. Cam Akers was the number one high school recruit in the country at one point in time. He’s lost a bit of his luster since Willie Taggert decided he was going to run the program into the ground. That isn’t Akers’ fault. He offensive line is dog shit and still averaged 4.4 yards per carry. Don’t penalize Akers because of what’s going on at this program. Akers may just be the best athlete of the bunch. He was a quarterback in High School and put up video game numbers. I expect the Seminoles back to have a breakout season.

4: Travis Etienne (Clemson)

I would have ranked Travis Etienne higher but he has a CJ Spiller feel to him. Etienne isn’t a big back who probably checks in under 200 on a good day. I would expect Etienne to run a great 40 time and has a lot of success in the passing game. It’s not a big sample size but he did take 2 of his 12 receptions to the house. The explosion is not hard to miss here. Etienne has elite speed. I’m just not sure he’s an every down type of back.

2020 NFL Draft
Derrick Henry or Trent Richardson? Where does Najee Harris fall on the spectrum? (Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports)

5: Najee Harris (Alabama)

The Eddie Lacy’s and Trent Richardson’s of the world make me hesitant of Alabama running backs. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Najee Harris is the most talented one yet. The guy is a MONSTER. We haven’t gotten a chance to see him in a full time workload sharing carries with Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris. I don’t think there’s any question Harris is better than both. He’s the most powerful back in the class. 6-foot-2, 230 and will run you over in a half a second. Derrick Henry is probably a good comp except Harris actually has a higher ceiling.

6: Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin)

I’m not nearly as high on Jonathan Taylor as others. I like him but don’t love him. Taylor has big production but he also has 606 carries in his first two years at Wisconsin. You can basically book 300 more carries this upcoming year. Taylor has been run into the ground which hurts his value. He also hasn’t shown much in the passing game either. Not entirely his fault at Wisconsin. Nevertheless, this program also has great offensive line talent. I think Taylor has potential but this is a generational type of class. I’m not sure how high his ceiling is.

7: Ke’Shawn Vaughn (Vanderbilt)

Ke’Shawn Vaughn had a breakout season out of nowhere. He started his career at Illinois but transferred to Vanderbilt. After three years in the abyss, Vaughn burst onto the scene in a big way. In 157 carries, the Vandy back picked up 1,244 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also averaged 13.1 yards per catch out of the backfield. It’s not a huge sample size but it’s not hard to see his talent.

8: Eno Benjamin (Arizona State)

Eno Benjamin hasn’t totally won me over but I think he is a bit undervalued by the rest of the scouting community. The Arizona State product isn’t a big back but he handled a massive workload in 2018. 300 carries and 1,642 yards went in the books a year ago. That’s big time stuff. He also added 35 catches as well and handles the ball well as a receiver. Benjamin is small in terms of height but has enough size to pack a punch. He’s short and shifty and can bust loose in small windows.

9: Kylin Hill (Mississippi State)

The fact that Kylin Hill is 9th on this list shows you how deep the position is during the 2020 NFL Draft. Hill is an all around solid back that has strength, speed, and quickness. It’s another super talented back flying under the radar. The Mississippi State back rushed for 734 yards at a 6.3 yard per carry clip in 2018. Hill has been a steady improver and feels ready for a breakout season. It’s also a great sign that he scored 8 touchdowns in 2018. 4 on the ground and 4 in the air.

AJ Dillon (Boston College)

AJ Dillon is going to be like LeGarrette Blount. Dillon is a massive human checking in at 245 pounds at the running back position. His 2017 season was eye popping rushing for 1,589 yards with 14 touchdowns. That season he also recorded zero catches. I like Dillon but I think there’s a chance that he shifts to fullback. Maybe some sort of hybrid fullback. That’s the floor. The ceiling is maybe a slightly lesser Derrick Henry. Dillion has big time power and trucking ability.

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