1. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins (28)
I think Reggie Bush offers the most versatility of any back on the open market. He is a phenomenal receiver and showed in Miami that he is more than capable of being a #1 tailback in the NFL with some help behind him. I think Bush is entering the 3-4 best years of his career.
Prediction: Signs with Bengals
Actual: Signs with Detroit Lions
2. Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams (30)
Jackson has more mileage than any back in this year’s crop of players. He is a beast most of the time, but his TD numbers have been low in recent years. I think Jackson bolts St. Louis for a better shot at a title somewhere else.
Prediction: Signs with Packers
Actual: Signed with Atlanta Falcons
3. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (27)
Bradshaw was kind of a surprise cut but not really. He’s actually a very talented player who just has to get over his injury problems. That will likely drive down his market in free agency, but he’s still a capable starting running back who can help a team.
Prediction: Signs with Lions
4. Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers (26)
Mendenhall should be ranked much lower than this based on last season, but he’s still a former 1st round pick who is just 26 years old, so I give him the benefit of the doubt for one more season. Mendenhall should be able to latch on to a team with a decent chance at a starting job.
Prediction: Signs with Titans
Actual: Signs with Arizona Cardinals
5. Shonn Greene, New York Jets (28)
Greene had a thousand yard season in 2012, which is impressive considering the lack of offense the rest of the team displayed in New York. I’ve always been optimistic for Greene.
Prediction: Signs with Chargers
Actual: Signs with Tennessee Titans
6. Chris Ivory (RFA), New Orleans Saints (25)
Ivory is a really solid backup running back. I don’t think another team will try to pry him away from the Saints, though.
Prediction: Signs with Saints
Actual: Tendered by Saints
7. Darius Reynaud, Tennessee Titans (28)
Reynaud was a really valuable special teams player for the Titans last season. They’d be wise to look to bring him back.
Prediction: Re-signs with Titans
Actual: Re-signed with Titans
8. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons (31)
Turner was released by the Falcons after a season where he looked like he’d worn down a bit. The Falcons’ running game was not a major area of strength like it had been.
9. Chris Wells, Arizona Cardinals (25)
Wells was released by the Cardinals on the dawn of free agency. He’s been a capable back at times when healthy, but he can’t stay on the field.
10. Jonathan Dwyer (RFA), Pittsburgh Steelers (24)
Another solid backup running back who was pressed into action this past season.
Prediction: Re-signs with Steelers
Actual: Tendered by Steelers (original round)
11. Danny Woodhead, New England Patriots (28)
Woodhead would probably never be as good a player in the NFL anywhere but New England. He’d be wise to stick with the team that knows how to use him.
Prediction: Re-signs with Patriots
12. Joique Bell (RFA), Detroit Lions (27)
Bell was surprisingly really solid last season in spot duty for the Lions. I think they’ll keep him around for another look.
Prediction: Re-signs with Lions
13. Cedric Benson, Green Bay Packers (30)
14. Peyton Hillis, Kansas City Chiefs (27)
15. LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona Cardinals (26)
16. Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions (26)
17. Jalen Parmele, Jacksonville Jaguars (26)
18. Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers (28) — Tendered by Steelers
19. Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys (26)
20. LeGarrette Blount (RFA), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (26) — Re-signed with Buccaneers
21. Mike Goodson, Oakland Raiders (26)
22. Cedric Peerman (RFA), Cincinnati Bengals (26) — Tendered by Bengals
23. Justin Fosett, Houston Texans (27)
24. Rashad Jennings, Jacksonville Jaguars (28)
25. Ronnie Brown, San Diego Chargers (31)
26. Ryan Grant, Green Bay Packers (30)
27. Javon Ringer, Tennessee Titans (26)