Unfortunately, in 2023 the running backs are having trouble in the market, and I believe part of the reason is you can get younger, fresher legs with just as much talent in the next year’s NFL Draft. We don’t know all the players that will ultimately declare for the 2024 NFL, but I wanted to look at some of my favorites that I expect to be in the upcoming draft class, as well as what rounds I would expect them to be drafted.
2024 NFL Draft Running Backs
2024 NFL Draft – Night 1 Running Backs
The question here is, do NFL teams see a 1st round running back this year? I’d lean no (I know other folks here agree). Audric Estime and Nate Noel are currently atop college football running back rushing leaders but neither appears to be a day one pick.
2024 NFL Draft – Night 2 Running Backs
Estime and Noel are both juniors, so they could declare with the thinking that they are some of the best backs (stats-wise) in college, and the running back shelf life is short. I think if Estime keeps up the pace he’s at, we will see him land on day two somewhere between rounds two and three. Noel, on the other hand, I still can’t really decide if he’s a guy who gets drafted late OR becomes a great story of a hard-working UDFA who makes a roster and contributes in multiple ways.
I see the day two running backs as the following: Raheim Sanders – Arkansas, Trey Benson – Florida State, Braelon Allen – Wisconsin, TreVeyon Henderson – Ohio State, and Blake Corum – Michigan. I feel good putting Sanders and Benson in round two and the others in round three. Sanders could slip if the knee injury keeps him out for much longer, though he’s shown enough on tape that even if we don’t see him for another week or two, teams should know what they’re getting from him. Benson brings a great size/speed combo and has shown good vision and even better footwork. Allen, Henderson, and Corum have all shown some strong traits that could get them into day-one rotations once they make it to the league, and if you told me they went in round two, I’d not be the least bit surprised.
2024 NFL Draft – Night 3 Running Backs
Day three could feature a 2nd Ohio State running back in Miyan Williams, as well as Frank Gore Jr., Daijun Edwards, Alton McCaskill, Marshawn Lloyd, Donovan Edwards, Will Shipley, Jabari Small, Devin Neal, Kendall Milton, Jase McClellan, Carson Steele, British Brooks, EJ Smith, Ulysses Bentley IV.
If you look over the last five years, on average we see 20 running backs taken over the course of the NFL Draft. When I started getting this article together, I landed on 20 exactly, though we know with underclassmen some of these names could get bumped out of the draft and become UDFA’s.
Miyan Williams, Donovan Edwards, and Marshawn Lloyd are my favorites from the group, I think they each bring something special that teams will fall in love with during the draft process. Williams is a strong runner who’s done a great job protecting the football, Edwards is a guy who loves the game and is a team-first type of running back, and Lloyd brings a great burst and speed to be a home run threat for any team.
Current Top 10 Rushing Leaders – Through Week 5
|1||Audric Estime – ND||RB||95||672||7.1||80||7|
|2||Nate Noel – APP ST||RB||123||651||5.3||68||4|
|3||Jonathon Brooks – TEX||RB||86||597||6.9||67||5|
|4||Ray Davis – UK||RB||76||594||7.8||75||8|
|5||Kimani Vidal – TROY||RB||103||590||5.7||59||3|
|6||Marcus Carroll – GAST||RB||115||583||5.1||63||9|
|7||Jalen Buckley – WMU||RB||94||557||5.9||75||5|
|8||Emani Bailey – TCU||RB||100||538||5.4||74||2|
|9||Darius Taylor – Minn||RB||87||532||6.1||43||4|
|10||Tahj Brooks -TTU||RB||83||518||6.2||38||3|
As you can see here, I don’t have a single one of them in this article (just yet), as the season moves forward, it would not surprise me if a few of these names make it to the top 7 rounds, as there is TONS of talent in the top 10 currently.
Thanks for Stopping By!
I hope this has helped you prepare for the NFL Draft. As always if you want to talk all things football, hit me up on Twitter. Or over on the Draft Countdown Discord! And check out the rest of my work here.
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