1. Adrian Peterson*, Oklahoma
6’2” 217; 4.40
Stats: 1,012yds; 10TDs; 5.4ypc
Positives: He runs so fast and so hard, nobody wants to get in his way. He has great measurables, very productive. He’s mainly a North-South runner, but shows good quickness and moves when he has to.
Negatives: Durability is his only major question. The only full, healthy season he played was his freshman one. He runs too upright, which leaves him open to big hits. Not a proven receiver, but that was mainly because of OU’s offense.
Best Case: Eric Dickerson
Worst Case: Fred Taylor
2. Marshawn Lynch*, California
5’11” 215; 4.46
Stats: 1,356yds; 11TDs; 6.1ypc
Positives: He has a more complete skill set than A.D, is a better receiver, but just doesn’t quite have that kind of potential. Runs with power, low to the ground, and has an excellent set of moves. Great vision, sees holes before they open.
Negatives: He doesn’t exactly shine in any one area, and might not end up a star in the NFL. He lacks patience and sometimes tries to do too much. Has some character concerns, but nothing major. In most years, he'd be a top 10 pick, easily, but this class is very talented at the top.
Best Case: Clinton Portis
Worst Case: Chris Perry
3. Michael Bush*, Louisville
6’1” 243; 4.60*
Stats: 128yds; 3TDs; 7.5ypc
Positives: He has all the tools to be a star in the NFL. High risk, high reward player that looked like a probable 1st rounder before breaking his leg. Has excellent size and power, surprising speed and quickness for his size. He’s a very consistent short yardage guy. A doctor recently said he was "99 percent healed".
Negatives: Injuries are a major concern. Not being able to work out for scouts is also a huge deal, since nobody really knows his 40 time. There haven’t been many starting RBs his size in the NFL. Lacks elite quickness and top end speed.
Best Case: Stephen Davis in his prime
Worst Case: Eric Shelton
4. Antonio Pittman*, Ohio St
5’11” 207; 4.40
Stats: 1,233yds; 14TDs; 5.1ypc
Positives: Everyone knows he’s very quick, but he really surprised people with his timed speed at the combine. Productive, runs hard and has reliable hands.
Negatives: He lacks ideal size and bulk, doesn’t play as fast as he times. He could definitely get stronger and work on his blocking.
Best Case: Julius Jones
Worst Case: Jamel White
5. Brandon Jackson*, Nebraska
5’10” 210; 4.54
Stats: 989yds; 8TDs; 5.3ypc
Positives: He has excellent burst and quickness, Short and squatty, runs low and with surprising power. Didn’t get a whole lot of carries in college, which is sometimes good in the eyes of scouts, since he’s had less wear and tear.
Negatives: He lacks prototypical size and strength. Plays faster than he times, is more quick than fast, but doesn’t have elite top end speed. Needs work as a blocker, his inexperience shows at times.
Best Case: Thomas Jones
Worst Case: Onterrio Smith (Pre-Suspension)
6. Brian Leonard, Rutgers
6’2” 226; 4.52
Stats: 423yds; 5TDs; 4.5ypc
Positives: He’s extremely versatile, can play FB and H-B, but wants to play RB. He really helped himself at the Senior Bowl and then the Combine. Was a running back before Ray Rice came, and has ideal size/power/receiving skills.
Negatives: He lacks the ideal quickness and burst of a feature back, doesn’t really play as fast as he times. He’s not a great blocker as a FB, and is a bit of a ‘tweener.
Best Case: Duce Staley in his prime
Worst Case: Jonathan Wells
7. Kenny Irons, Auburn
5’11” 203; 4.45
Stats: 893yds; 4TDs; 4.5ypc
Positives: He’s very agile and runs through arm tackles well for a guy his size. Has the speed to turn the corner, and the frame to add more bulk and strength, very instinctive and tough.
Negatives: He wasn’t utilized as a receiver much, and might not be durable enough to carry the full load. Needs to add overall bulk and strength, doesn’t push the pile much. Had a bit of a disappointing and injury-plagued senior season.
Best Case: Cadillac Williams
Worst Case: Derrick Blaylock
8. Tony Hunt, Penn St
6’2” 233; 4.68
Stats: 1,386yds; 11TDs; 5.0ypc
Positives: Very productive in college, excellent size, strength, and power. Durable, runs low to the ground and could be an excellent short yardage back at the next level.
Negatives: He doesn’t have the speed to turn the corner or the quickness to make people miss. Decided not to run at the combine, then posted some poor times at his pro day.
Best Case: LaMont Jordan
Worst Case: Ki-Jana Carter
9. Chris Henry*, Arizona
5’11” 230; 4.40
Stats: 581yds; 7TDs; 3.5ypc
Positives: Upside, upside, and upside. He has the size, speed, and strength to be a starter. Really impressed at the combine. He had some pretty good games late in his junior season. His limited carries in college is a plus, since he has more mileage left on his legs.
Negatives; He’s never really produced at a high level at Arizona. Doesn’t have a great set of moves, not a very instinctive or elusive runner. Anyone who takes him will be taking a gamble, since he’s raw and unproven.
Best Case: Deuce McCallister
Worst Case: LaBrandon Toefield
10. Lorenzo Booker, Florida St
5’10” 191; 4.46
Stats: 616yds; 4TDs; 4.3ypc
Positives: He has the speed and elusiveness to be a valuable change of pace back and returner. Runs with a second gear in the open field, good receiving skills.
Negatives: He doesn’t have the size or strength to be a #1 back in the NFL. Needs to add some bulk. Doesn’t have the lower body strength to break many tackles.
Best Case: Michael Bennett w/o Injuries
Worst Case: Aveion Cason
11. Kolby Smith, Louisville
5’11” 220; 4.50
Stats: 862yds; 7TDs; 5.6ypc
Positives: He has the overall athleticism to be an excellent backup and special teams player. Breaks tackles with the best of em, punishes smaller DB’s. Has good speed for a guy his size and shows solid initial burst.
Negatives: He’s not a creative runner at all. Would rather run over defenders than around them, lacks any real moves or elusiveness in the open field. A little inconsistent, never had to carry a full load in college.
Best Case: Joseph Addai
Worst Case: Cedric Cobbs
12. Justise Hairston, Central Conn St
6’1” 210; 4.58
Stats: 1,847yds; 20TDs; 6.7ypc
Positives: This is one of my favorite running backs in the entire draft, and I think he has all the tools to be an effective backup, and maybe develop into a starter. He really impressed me in the Hula Bowl. Transferred from Rutgers after losing his starting job as a soph. Rushed for over 200 yards in 4 games, and over 300 in one.
Negatives: He doesn’t really shine in any one area, lacks elite speed and quickness. Level of competition is always a concern for small school guys. Runs a little too upright, which leaves him open to big hits.
Best Case: Poor Man’s Willis McGahee
Worst Case: Lamar Gordon
13. Darius Walker*, Notre Dame
5’10” 206; 4.55
Stats: 1,267yds; 7TDs; 5.0ypc
Positives: He has the overall skill set to be an excellent 3rd down back. Good receiver out of the backfield, gets the most out of his natural talent. Runs with patience and vision, elusive and quick in the open field. Very productive in college, has a lot of experience.
Negatives: He doesn’t have the tools to be a starter, lacks ideal size, speed, and strength. Can be taken down easily.
Best Case: Dominic Rhodes
Worst Case: Quincy Wilson
14. Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois
5’8” 186; 4.39
Stats: 1,928yds; 18TDs; 6.2ypc
Positives: The most productive of any RBs in this class, and did it against some top competition as well. He’s an extremely quick and instinctive runner with the speed to turn the corner. Has upside as a kick returner, excellent burst and acceleration.
Negatives: He’s very small, there really aren’t any RB’s his size in the NFL right now (Maurice Drew is thicker, Warrick Dunn is taller). Lacks experience in the return game, can be tackled easily and lacks strength.
Best Case: Warrick Dunn
Worst Case: Bruce Perry
15. Dwayne Wright*, Fresno St
6’0” 228; 4.66
Stats: 1,462yds; 11TDs; 5.6ypc
Positives: He’s a big, bruising back that can get the tough yards and runs with great pad level. Could be a productive short yardage back at the next level. He has solid vision and instincts, is a reliable blocker and receiver.
Negatives: He just doesn’t have the speed or overall athleticism to be a feature back in the NFL. Struggled to get to the outside against WAC D’s, so he probably won’t be able to in the NFL. Had a major knee injury in ’04 that sidelined him for 2 seasons.
Best Case: Anthony Thomas
Worst Case: Musa Smith
16. Jon Cornish, Kansas
6’0” 206; 4.62
Stats: 1,457yds; 8TDs; 5.8ypc
Positives: He’s a hard worker and a hard runner that can pick up yards after contact and has a very strong lower body, was very productive in college. A solid receiver, could contribute on special teams.
Negatives: He just doesn’t have a whole lot of natural ability. Lacks ideal speed and quickness and struggles to turn the corner. Doesn’t have much potential.
Best Case: Olandis Gary in his prime
Worst Case: Tony Fisher
17. Jackie Battle, Houston
6’2” 235; 4.42
Stats: 943yds; 15TDs; 5.1ypc
Positives: Had an extremely impressive pro day workout, posted some eye-popping numbers after being snubbed by the combine. Runs with a solid combination of power and finesse, solid short yardage back, excellent athlete.
Negatives: He doesn’t run with as much power as you’d think he would. Doesn’t play as fast as his measurables would suggest, lacks the ideal quickness and burst of a feature back.
Best Case: Michael Turner
Worst Case: Shawn Bryson
18. Ahmad Bradshaw*, Marshall
5’10” 198; 4.55
Stats: 1,523yds; 19TDs; 6.1ypc
Positives: He was extremely productive, gets the most out of his ability. He has excellent vision, patience, and quickness. Runs hard and with surprising power for his size. Only lost 52 yards on 249 carries this season, which is an excellent ratio.
Negatives: He lacks the size and speed to be a #1 back in the NFL. Needs to add bulk and overall strength. Doesn’t have much of a second gear in the open field. Not a very good blocker.
Best Case: Kevin Faulk
Worst Case: James Mungro
19. D.D. Terry, Sam Houston St
6’1” 196; 4.40
Stats: 1,328yds; 15TDs; 6.2ypc
Positives: He’s a very interesting prospect with a ton of potential but is very raw at RB. He has elite speed, ran track for the Bearkats, and it shows on the field. He’s an excellent all around athlete with great natural ability and instincts.
Negatives: He’s thin for an RB and lacks ideal strength. Played against lower competition in college, so he got by mainly on pure athleticism, but needs to focus on the little things to make it on the next level. He’s very inexperienced and it shows.
Best Case: Tatum Bell
Worst Case: Damien Anderson
20. DeShawn Wynn, Florida
5’10” 232; 4.47
Stats: 699yds; 6TDs; 4.9ypc
Positives: He has the measurables to play in the NFL, very good quickness and burst for a guy his size. He’s a productive between the tackles runner with good vision and power when he runs hard.
Negatives: An underachiever that lacks any noticeable work ethic or discipline. Has had some nagging injuries throughout his career, doesn’t run with authority and has a bad habit of tiptoeing up to the line. I really don’t know if he can make it in the NFL, but somebody will take him because of his potential and his measurables.
Best Case: Poor Man’s DeShaun Foster
Worst Case: Adam Echemandu
21. Ramonce Taylor*, Texas College
5’10” 195; 4.50
Stats (’05): 513yds; 12TDs; 6.8ypc
Positives: He’s a first day talent with excellent speed, athleticism, vision, and instincts. Could be a top kick returner, was a big time playmaker last season at UT. Good receiver out of the backfield.
Negatives: He has some big time character concerns, and legal ones. Transferred to Texas College last year, but was ineligible academically. He’s a little thin to be a full time RB, fumbles a little too much, and lacks experience. Doesn’t break a ton of tackles.
Best Case: More Talented Maurice Morris
Worst Case: Jamal Robertson
22. Thomas Clayton, Kansas St
5’10” 218; 4.63
Stats: 322yds; 3TDs; 4.8ypc
Positives: He has the prototypical build of an RB, compact build with great overall athleticism. Was productive when he was on the field, solid quickness and instincts.
Negatives: He has some significant character concerns and got benched for inconsistent play as a senior. He didn’t put up great times at the combine, fumbles a little too much and runs timid at times.
Best Case: Michael Pittman
Worst Case: Tony Hollings
23. Alonzo Coleman, Hampton
24. Ronnie McGill, North Carolina
25. Eldra Buckley, Chattanooga
26. Danny Ware*, Georgia
27. Reggie Merriweather, Clemson
28. Selvin Young, Texas
29. Kenneth Darby, Alabama
30. Curtis Brown, BYU
31. Stefan Logan, South Dakota
32. Tyrone Moss, Miami
33. Justin Vincent, LSU
34. Steve Baylark, Massachusetts
35. Nate Ilaoa, Hawaii
36. Clifton Dawson, Harvard
37. Marcus O’Keith, California
38. Lonta Hobbs, TCU
39. Germaine Race, Pittsburg St
40. Courtney Lewis, Texas A&M
41. Ab Kuuan, Grambling St
42. Terry Caulley, UCONN
43. Gary Russell*, Minnesota
44. Dan Burks, UAB
45. Kyle Steffes, North Dakota St
46. Stevie Hicks, Iowa St
47. Pierre Rembert, Illinois St
48. Arkee Whitlock, Southern Illinois
49. Tre Smith, Auburn
50. Pierre Thomas, Illinois
51. Robert Hubbard, Nevada
52. Alvin Banks, James Madison
53. Quinton Smith, Rice
54. Josh Allen, Maryland
55. Kenny James, Washington
56. E.B. Halsey, Illinois
57. Eugene Gross, M. Tenn St
58. Jason Peters, UCF