Nov 27, 2014; College Station, TX, USA; LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) rushes during the second quarter against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Leonard Fournette leads the way for 2017 NFL Draft Running Backs (Troy Taormina / USA TODAY Sports)

After 8 exciting weeks in the college football season we have now reached the midway point. It’s now time to put up rankings for the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft. Sure there is plenty of time left in the college football season but, it is never too soon for NFL Draft talk. For this segment I will dissect the upcoming potential running back draft class.

  1. Leonard Fournette (LSU)

Fournette looks like the next coming of Adrian Peterson. Realistically no one cares what this guy does in 2016, he’s still the first back off the board baring injury. In 2015 Fournette rushed for 6.5 yards per carry for 1,953 yards with 22 touchdowns. This year Fournette has had his carries somewhat limited in preparation for the NFL. No one is a more powerful runner than Fournette who seemingly every week bulldozes someone.

2. Dalvin Cook (Florida State)

Cook has had a productive 2016 season rushing for 900 yards already. He is the complete running back as he can block and catch effectively as well. The thing with Dalvin is he has excellent vision and patience in the running lanes. Once he finds the whole Cook has the 2nd gear that he just takes off and explodes. I would expect him to be taken in the top 15.

3. Nick Chubb (Georgia)

In 2015 Chubb suffered a knee injury that was thought to be potentially career ending. This year Chubb has bounced back averaging 5 yards a carry. At 228, Chubb is your typical between the tackles runner who has some speed for his size. This is probably one of those cases too where he will look much faster in year two coming off the knee injury. Dating back to his freshman season it is hard not to like this guy. Let’s not forget this is the same guy that stole some carries from Todd Gurley in college.

4. Royce Freeman (Oregon)

Freeman has been Oregon’s workhorse for the past three seasons. The difference is this isn’t your normally speedster from Oregon. Freeman weighs around 230 and will be a goal line vulture. He sort of reminds me of DeMarco Murray who is a tough and physical back. Freeman has been banged up by injuries this season but is averaging 6.4 yards per carry.

5. Christian McCaffrey (Stanford)

McCaffrey is the perfect third down back. He is going to be a nightmare covering in passing situations. The Stanford tailback is multi-faceted who can rush and play the role as return man. McCaffrey is extremely quick and often times gets those home run touchdowns. He isn’t going to be a power back in the league but boy would he look great in a pass heavy offense.

*Others To Watch

This may be the deepest running back class in my lifetime. The class is so deep that players with 2nd round talent will likely be available in the 5th and 6th rounds because of how many great backs there are. It is much deeper from the 2016 NFL Draft. Just to rattle off some names here are the other backs I like Joe Mixon and Semaje Perine from Oklahoma, Alvin Kamara and Jalen Hurd from Tennessee, Curtis Samuel from Ohio State, Sony Michel from Georgia, Elijah Hood from UNC, and James Connor from Pitt. I’m sure there is about 5-6 guys I’m forgetting, that’s how deep this class is.