1. Saquon Barkley, Penn State
What more can you say about Saquon Barkley? The Penn State product is a generational talent at the running back position. He’s the best running back prospect to enter the draft since Adrian Peterson. Barkley is a complete back, with speed, power, vision, and hands. In my mind, Barkley isn’t just the best running back in the draft, he’s the best overall player in the draft. Barkley will be an immediate superstar in the NFL. Yes, even if he goes to Cleveland.
2. Derrius Guice, LSU
Guice got to play sparingly at LSU while Leonard Fournette was there, really only seeing the field when Fournette was hurt. Though Guice actually out-rushed Fournette in the 2016 season. Since Fournette moved on to the NFL, Guice has gotten his turn to shine. Like Fournette, Guice is a powerful runner, but Guice may boast speed. Guice will be an rookie starter in the NFL.
3. Ronald Jones II, USC
Jones may be the quickest running back in this top five. I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to to Jamaal Charles for Jones, and I think those really hit the nail on the head. Jones was often overshadowed by the fact that Sam Darnold was the quarterback, but Jones is an extremely talented runner. Though often under-utilized at USC, Jones flashes high potential, and boasts a high ceiling.
4. Sony Michel, Georiga
Michel was the breakout star of the College Football Playoff. Because of his performances in the Rose Bowl and National Championship game, Michel has rocketed up draft boards. Michel is a quick runner who has more power than his small frame would suggest. There have been comparisons for Michel to Saints star Alvin Kamara. While I believe Kamara and Michel are very different style runners, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Michel make an unexpected big impact similar to what Kamara did for the Saints.
5. Kerryon Johnson, Auburn
Johnson reminds me of Le’Veon Bell because of his patience. No other running back in this year’s draft class possesses patience to the same extent. Johnson brings power than Bell doesn’t. Johnson was the SEC rushing leader, a conference loaded with dominant run defenses. While Johnson likely won’t be as good as Bell as been for the Steelers, he could become a three down running back in the NFL, and be a steal for whomever selects him.