Many view the 2014 NFL Draft class as a weak one. While there aren’t many big names that stand out on the prospect lists, the hidden talent is tremendous. You won’t hear many people list this group of running backs as “first-round talent”, but there are a few that could very easily be lighting up the NFL very shortly.
Last year we had Eddie Lacy and Giovanni Bernard; let’s see what this year has in store.
Bishop Sankey, Running Back, Washington
Think of Ray Rice, and you have Bishop Sankey. Like Rice and Rutgers, Sankey isn’t seen on the national stage every week. While people will overlook him in the big picture, there’s no need to believe that he can’t be a solid Day Two selection. He had a couple of plays that looked really good against UCLA, and he has proved that he can play against elite defenses.
Sankey will need to show solid straight-line speed in his individual workouts. He is good on his feet; so if we see above-average speed, Sankey will have the potential to start for a team in need instantly. He’s only a Junior, so we’ll see if he declares. Should he forgo his final season–this kid will have plenty of teams lined up.
Carlos Hyde, Running Back, Ohio State
Meet one of my favorite 2014 prospects! The Senior from Ohio State is one of the best backs in the draft–leaving some to call him “first-round potential”. While I see Hyde being a second day pick, there’s no reason to believe a team wouldn’t reach if he’s available.
Akin to many power backs, Hyde can push the pile better than anyone in this class. Teams struggle to take Hyde to the ground, something that NFL coaches will love when looking over this year’s crop of backs. Hyde doesn’t have super speed, but there’s no reason to shy away from him. After teams see Hyde’s full game tape, they’ll realize that he is worthy of a second round pick.
James White, Running Back, Wisconsin
Many will see Melvin Gordon as the best running back at Wisconsin, and he is–but White is not far behind. As a part of the Badger’s two-back set, White is a shifty Senior back that has a knack for making big plays. He is used the best in space/in motion as he has the ability to break big plays.
Once White hits the edge, he is unstoppable. He needs to develop a bit more of a burst when hitting the hole, but there’s no doubt that he is consistent. As of now, he is an early Day Three pick. Look for a lot of buzz surrounding White once we get closer to May.
There are many Juniors that have yet to declare. Tre Mason and Lache Seastrunk are a few names that are undecided. If some of these big names declare, we could be looking at one of the better running back classes of the last ten years.