2025 NFL Draft: The elite running back class you need to know

From Ollie Gordon's dominance to overlooked Big Ten talents, the 2025 NFL running back class is one to watch.
Ollie Gordon II
Ollie Gordon II / Brian Bahr/GettyImages

The 2025 running back class is among the strongest in this year's NFL Draft, far surpassing the 2024 class that had only one back taken in the first two rounds. Led by Oklahoma State's Ollie Gordon, the nation's top rusher last year, this class also boasts a versatile star and two overlooked talents from the Big Ten.

Top running backs to watch ahead of the 2025 NFL Draft

Top Player: Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State

The number one running back on my board going into the season is Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon. Gordon has several positives working in his favor which give him a second-round grade on my board. One of these is his outstanding production having led the nation in rushing last year with 1,732 yards and he also finished second with 21 rushing touchdowns. Another positive working in his favor is his outstanding contact balance which combined with his powerful lower body makes him extremely hard to take down in open space.

Guy I would stand on the table for: Ashton Jeanty, Boise State

In today’s NFL coaches want players who can contribute in multiple ways one player who can do that is Boise State’s Ashton Jeanty. Last season, Jeanty was named the Mountian West Offensive Player of the Year after he led all running backs with 160 yards from scrimmage per game. Jeanty did this by rushing for 1,347 yards and leading all running backs in the FBS with 569 receiving yards. In terms of traits that will transfer to the NFL he has some of the best hands in this year’s running back class and can either be an outlet receiver or run routes down the field. He also runs with good power and is a strong inside runner.

Overrated: Quinshon Judkins, Ohio State

While I do see Ohio State’s Quinshon Judkins as one of the top five running backs in the draft, I think people who have him rated as the top running back in the 2025 NFL Draft are overrating him. The biggest reason for this is he is not the most physical runner and also needs to improve his vision as a ball carrier. Despite these concerns, I do have a second-round grade on him and his impressive speed and overall playing style reminds me of four-time Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook.

Sleeper: Jonah Coleman, Washington

One of the more underrated players in the 2025 NFL Draft is Washington’s Jonah Coleman who I have a high day three grade on, despite most draftnicks not even giving him a draftable grade. The reason I am so high on him is his punishing running style. His intimidating style of play allowed him to average 6.8 yards per carry which was the second-highest average in the Pac-12 last season. Another positive with him is his impressive ball security which has seen him have zero fumbles so far during his career.

Biggest risk: TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State

One of the running backs with the best tools in this class is Ohio State’s TreVeyon Henderson. Unfortunately, though he has had trouble staying healthy having missed three games in 2023 and five games in 2022. However, when healthy he is a dynamic runner who shows surprising speed for a 212-pound back.

Breakout player: Jordan James, Oregon

In last week’s NFL Draft Notebook, I went in-depth on why Jordan James should be one of the better backs in the Big Ten this year. One of those reasons is his vision which consistently allows him to find an open running lane. Another reason why and a reason why he led the Pac-12 with a 7.09 yards per carry last season is his tough running style that allows him to punish defenders who try and bring him down.

Overall Rankings (the round grade I give them)

1. Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State (second round)

2. Omarion Hampton, North Carolina (second round)

3. TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State (second round)

4. Quinshon Judkins, Ohio State (second round)

5. Damien Martinez, Miami (third round)

6. Ashton Jeanty, Boise State (third round)

7. Trevor Etienne, Georgia (third round)

8. Jaydn Ott, California (fourth round)

9. Jonah Coleman, Washington (fourth round)

10. Nicholas Singleton, Penn State (fourth round)

11. Lawrance Toafili, Florida State (fifth round)

12. Devin Neal, Kansas (fifth round)

13. Donovan Edwards, Michigan (fifth round)

14. Kyle Monangai, Rutgers (sixth round)

15. Jordan James, Oregon (sixth round)

16. Dylan Sampson, Tennessee (sixth round)

17. Jarquez Hunter, Auburn (sixth round)

18. Peny Boone, Louisville (sixth round)

19. Chez Mellusi, Wisconsin (sixth round)

20. Tahj Brooks, Texas Tech (sixth round)

21. Harrison Waylee, Wyoming (seventh round)

22. Ismail Mahdi, Texas State (seventh round)

23. Antario Brown, Northern Illinois (seventh round)

24. Kaytron Allen, Penn State (seventh round)

25. DJ Giddens, Kansas State (seventh round)

26. E.J. Smith, Texas A&M (seventh round)