2008 NFL Draft – Running Back


On Friday, I examined the quarterbacks who I projected to be drafted in the 2008 NFL Draft. Today. I submit to you the running backs who I think will be drafted; below, you will find the name of player, school, brief narrative on the player, team that will probably draft him:

1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas

A no-brainer. One of only 2 SEC running backs to rush for 1,000+ yards as a freshman, sophomore and junior (Herschel Walker being the other); he is as close to NFL-ready as can be. Has the rare package of speed (4.45 40), vision and balance. Surprisingly good blocker for his size (6’1″, 217). May help if he adds a few pounds as the next level is more punishing. Only downside is pass catching – but with proper coaching that can be overcome. Can be an All-Star for many years.

Team likely to draft him: Oakland (1st round, although with the Raiders’ state of chaos, anything is possible)

2. Jonathan Stewart, Oregon

Excellent size (5’10”, 230) with outstanding speed (4.34 40). Runs very well between the tackles, accelerates very well once in the hole. Blocks well. Has solid hands catching the ball. Downside for Stewart – Can cough up the ball at times; his running style opens him up to potential injuries.

Team likely to draft him: Houston (1st round)

3. Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois

Can do the 3 important things: run, block and catch – and do them all well. Has the size (5’11”, 225). Not a lot of wear and tear which will benefit him in the NFL. Has overachieved considering the O-line he had at Illinois. Downside he has is that he doesn’t always run 100%.

Team likely to draft him: Seattle (1st round)

4. Felix Jones, Arkansas

Jones was Robin to McFadden being Batman. Has Warrick Dunn-type size; was quite productive even though he only started 12 games in a 3-year college career. Has outstanding speed (4.38 40). Has good vision and can change direction without losing much speed. Has great balance. Has very good hands which maked him a receiving threat. Could provide added value as a kick return specialist, as well. He will need to gain some weight if he wants to be that every-down back. He also needs to run lower to the ground – a bit upright in his running style. May be a timeshare (share time with another RB) in the NFL.

Team likely to draft him: Dallas (1st round)

5. Christopher Johnson, East Carolina

Despite coming from Conference USA, was very productive. His versatility is his calling card to the NFL. Has the chance to be a dangerous 3rd-down type of back (think Kevin Faulk), and kick returner, as well. Expect him to be drafted – if he has a great 40 time at the combine, he’s 2nd round, otherwise a 3rd rounder.

Team likely to draft him: Carolina (2nd or 3rd round)

6. Ray Rice, Rutgers

He’s explosive and shifty, can hit the holes quickly. Fairly powerful for a RB of his size (5’9″, 197). Downfalls for Rice – Doesn’t have “elite” speed (4.5 40). Not a pass catching back; not much of a blocker, either. Will be either a timeshare RB or a 3rd-down back in the NFL.

Team likely to draft him: Denver (3rd round)

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One Response to “2008 NFL Draft – Running Back”

  1. Russ Loede says:

    I would put Jamaal CHARLES (Texas) ahead of both Rice & Johnson.

    CHARLES is a Much Better Overall BACK and he should/will get drafted before both of ‘EM.

    He ran for over 230 yards in the 4th quarter alone in the game vs. Nebraska (granted it was vs. ’em)!

    He is so FAST and can CATCH – Very VERSATILE!

    Watch out for Steve Slaton (WVU)to be a good value pick and solid player in the NFL, though he should’ve stayed 1 more year with his pal Pat White. What I saw outta him, despite the late season’s drifting away & fall off, was a back that is capable of carrying the ball 20-25 times a game and being able to catch the ball (natural) with ease anytime he wants. He’s like a poor man’s version of Marshall Faulk. Very tough in-between the tackles and is fast!

    This year’s RB class is DEEP and Very, Very, Very TALENTED!

    Watch out for that BIG 6-foot 255-pound Mich ST Spartan RB Jehuu Caulcrick who ran for 21 TDS!

    And where is Kevin SMITH from Central Florida! Almost broke Barry Sanders’ All-Time Rushing Yards in a Season Record! He should be in that least for sure…

    He is 6-foot 1 211 pounds from Miami and went to UCF a small school… may get unnoticed and overlooked but he PILED Up BIG #s and carries with: 450 rushes for 2,567 yards and 29 TDS!!!!

    He can FLAT-OUT Play and has all the Talent in the World!

    I understand big #s don’t mean all that much esp. if you play in a small conference at a small school, when you look @ a lot of underplayed and underused good RB’s outta strong conferences and big schools who didn’t get the #s and PT but then later had the SUCCESS @ THE NFL Level – a la Terrell Davis with Georgia!

    Also how about Matt Forte ~ This should be stretched out and lengthened to a Top 10 List with all the good RBS out there for the ’08 Draft! Kid racked up over 2,100 rush yards, going for 23 TDS!

    It will be INTERESTING to see where these RB’s End Up team-wise and which Round they will get Drafted!