This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NFLRankings or the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more 2014 Fantasy Football Rankings visit Fantasy Football Overdose, a fantasy football blog.
We are now almost a full month removed from the 2014 NFL Draft, yet we still can’t get enough of the NFL and a lot of us are already looking ahead to 2015. Yes, the new 2014 season hasn’t even started yet, and all we can think about is who will get Marcus Mariota.
It’s understandable, especially if you’re a Jaguars or Texans fan right about now. Still, even the most casual fan still wants to know which NCAA players they should be monitoring as the months carry over and lead into another long draft season.
With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at five of the top running backs set to enter the 2015 NFL Draft. Running back looks to be deeper and more talented next year than it has been recently, so we might actually see a running back go in the first round.
It’s impossible to predict that right now, but what we can predict is which five guys are the biggest talents to pay attention to for the 2015 NFL Draft: Let’s break them down:
1. Todd Gurley (Georgia)
Arguably the most complete back in this entire draft class, Gurley heads an absolutely stacked running back crop. Gurley has an enticing size/speed combo and can punish defenders physically or blow right by them. He has the size and athleticism to be an elite feature back at the next level.
Unfortunately, he’s had some health issues. If he can stay healthy and continue to produce at a high level against tough competition, he’ll tighten his grasp as the top back for 2015.
2. T.J. Yeldon (Alabama)
Yeldon isn’t quite the bruiser most of his former first round ‘Bama backs have been. He’s actually quite fluid and athletic, and also packages solid vision and decisiveness as a runner. He does have some ball security issues and needs to prove he can carry a full load, but the talent is there to shine through in 2013. He has a lot of stiff competition, though, so he’ll need a big season to fend of some of the guys below him.
3. Mike Davis (South Carolina)
Davis is a complete back who can flat-out punish defenders with a tough, physical running style. He is a little on the small side, but still carries good weight and power, while possessing excellent strength and drive in his legs. He can move the pile with the best of them and can also bounce outside as a receiver. His style is both an asset and a detriment to his NFL future, but overall he has the makings of a very good feature back at the next level.
4. Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin)
What Wisconsin back isn’t insanely productive? Gordon certainly hasn’t deviated from the long line of successful Badger backs, but Gordon actually might be the best pure talent at the position they’ve seen in some time. Gordon benefits from Wisconsin’s system, to be sure, but he’s also an elite talent with great burst and fluidity.
Gordon is a question mark when it comes to versatility and catching the ball out of the backfield, but if he can turn that into an asset in 2013, his stock could soar.
5. Duke Johnson (Miami)
You could put Florida State’s Karlos Williams or Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah in this fifth and final spot, too, but Johnson is just the more explosive runner between the three and carries a little more upside. Johnson has size limitations and might be viewed by some as more of the “scat back” type, but he is a freak athlete who was insanely productive in half of a season in 2013.
Johnson will need to come out and prove he can do it again while staying healthy in 2014 (broken ankle last year), while he also needs to work on consistency and toughness.