The running back position is making a comeback in the NFL
The NFL is starting to show that the running back position is still important to the success of a franchise. Saquon Barkley, Leonard Fournette, and Ezekiel Elliott were all picked in the top five of the NFL Draft. Next year, fans may not see a running back go in the top ten. But there are still five great running backs in this draft class.
5) Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State
Kylin Hill opted out of the 2020 college football season after he played three games for Mississippi State. Still, the Bulldogs running back has carried the football extremely well during his collegiate career. He has often been the centerpiece of the Bulldogs offense.
In Hill's career, he has carried the football a total of 452 times for the Bulldogs. In those 452 carries, he has gained 2,535 rushing yards. He has also scored 16 touchdowns. The Mississippi State running back could be a solid pick for any NFL franchise.
4) Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
Chuba Hubbard has put together an excellent career for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys running back has been a key ingredient in the team's offensive production. The Big 12 doesn't typically feature explosive running backs. But Hubbard has changed that pattern, at least for the Cowboys.
In his career at Oklahoma State, Hubbard has carried the football 585 times. In those 585 carries, he has racked up 3,459 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns for the Cowboys. Hubbard may be one of the most NFL-ready running backs in the 2021 NFL Draft.
3) Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Najee Harris is an elusive back out of the University of Alabama. Plus, Harris has the important ability to catch the football out of the backfield. He can also lower his shoulders through the tackles. With this complex skillset, Harris would be a great fit for several NFL franchises.
Harris has runn the football 535 times while playing for Alabama. He has gained 3,270 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns for the Crimson Tide. Harris is on pace to record back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He has also recorded back-to-back seasons with double-digit rushing touchdowns.
Prediction: Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, or Kansas City Chiefs
2) Jaret Patterson, RB, Buffalo
Jaret Patterson has put together outrageous numbers while playing running back at the University at Buffalo. Patterson could be criticized by the level of talent he plays on a weekly basis. The Buffalo Bulls play in the MAC, which isn't an elite conference. But the numbers don't lie.
Patterson has rushed the football 602 times in three years at Buffalo. In those 602 carries, he has racked up 3,732 rushing yards and 49 touchdowns. He has been the work horse for the Buffalo offense. Patterson is on his way to his third straight 1,000-yard season. He has also recorded double-digit touchdowns in all three seasons.
After his outstanding career with the Bulls, Patterson should be the second running back off the board during the 2021 NFL Draft.
1) Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Travis Etienne is the best running back in the 2021 NFL Draft. He is a jack of all trades. Versatility is always valuable in the NFL, so teams looking for a running back might prioritize Etienne. He can do it all on the football field. He can run, catch, and block extremely well.
Throughout his career with Clemson, Etienne has compiled 4,730 rushing yards and 68 touchdowns. He has also added 1,078 receiving yards and 8 receiving touchdowns to his career totals. The Clemson running back could hear his name called late in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. If not, he could be a steal in the second round.
Prediction: New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, and Los Angeles Rams