(Includes underclassman who have declared)
Tre Mason-The running back position has been greatly devalued over the years. No back was chosen in the 1st round last year and most likely there won’t be one chosen this year but Tre Mason will challenge to be the first one off the board. He was the best player on the team that went to the BCS Championship and even in a loss could have won MVP in that game. He’s not very big but he runs with power and toughness. He’s tough between the tackles but shifty and can make a man miss. He has good speed and is a decent receiver out the backfield. He probably won’t be an every down back but will be a part of a rotation from day one.
Carlos Hyde-Hyde is probably the most NFL ready back in the draft. A true power back that will run it between the tackles and constantly fall forward for extra yards. He hardly goes down on first contact but don’t let his size fool you because he has some speed. He’s also a good blocker so he can stay in the game on 3rd downs. He should go in the 2nd round and unless the team that drafts him already has a proven starter, he can start from day one and be very successful.
Bishop Sankey- Sankey was a highly productive back that shows really good patience and vision. He’s good between the tackles and has very good hands. He can be a factor in the passing game. He’s smart and had some of his best games against top competition. He is on the smaller side but he is low to the ground which helps him out. He will probably be picked in the 3rd round but with the right team he can play right away and possibly start.
Ka’Deem Carey-The workhorse from Arizona has been one the most productive backs over the past 2 seasons. He had over 300 carries the past 2 seasons and averaged over 100 yards a game. He is a patient runner with good feet and sees the cutback well. His vision makes him a good back but he’s also a good receiver as well which will keep him on the field on 3rd downs. He has a lot of mileage on him but in the right system he can produce. He reminds me of Deangelo Williams when he came out of Memphis. He should be a late 2nd early 3rd round pick to a team that can have him share the load with another back.
De’Anthony Thomas- As the old saying goes, “you can’t teach speed.” Thomas has speed to burn. He’s probably one of the fastest players in the draft. The “Black Mamba” is the extremely dangerous when he has the ball in his hands because if he gets an opening you can strike up the band. A terrific athlete, Thomas is a threat with each touch. He’s not very big and there are injury concerns with him because of his slight size. You can’t expect him to have 20 touches a game and be healthy throughout a season. He should get 10-15 touches between carries, catches and returns. He might be a day 3 pick that jumps into the 3rd round because he will probably tear it up at the combine and some team will fall in love with that speed.
Honorable Mention: Andre Williams, Lache Seastrunk, James White, Dri Archer