Top Running Backs 2021 NFL Draft

RUNNING BACK PROSPECT RANKING 2021 NFL DRAFT

Back in the days where a 4000 yd passing season was a rarity running backs went No. 1 overall in four of five seasons from 77 to 1981 (Ricky Bell, Earl Campbell, Billy Sims, and George Rogers). A running back hasn't gone first overall since 1995 (Ki-Jana Carter), who probably put off more than a few NFL teams as he became one of the all-time NFL draft busts.

The first tailback taken last season was Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who went with the last pick in the first round to the Superbowl-winning Chiefs. This year there could be no running backs taken in round #1, further illustrating the extent they have fallen out of favor in the pro game.

The 2021 running back class doesn't have too many top-tier RB prospects in it, but two stand out: Najee qualifies as one of those. He is a power back that is explosive off the blocks; he has decent hands and is comfortable catching the ball. Seen by many as the top RB prospect in the 2021 draft, Etienne has decent size for a back and is explosive and tough. He is an effective receiver out of the slot, especially after the catch - in short, he is a playmaker. There is quite a drop off after the top two, but still, the group contains a few who could make an impact in the pro game.

Player Rankings - Running Backs

# Player Pos Coll Weight Height 40YD AVG POS RANK AVG OVR RANK Rating Summary
1

Najee
Harris

RB
Alabama   Mascot
Alabama Mascot
230lbs 6-2 4.52 2 32.9 90 The 2021 draft does not look to have too many top tier RB prospects in it - but Najee qualifies as one of those. He is a power bac...
2

Travis
Etienne

RB
Clemson   Mascot
Clemson Mascot
205lbs 5-10 4.40 1 26.4 89 Seen by many as the top RB prospect in the 2021 draft, Etienne has decent size for a back and is explosive and tough. He has good ...
3

Michael
Carter

RB
North Carolina   Mascot
North Carolina Mascot
199lbs 5-8 4.50 3 83.3 80 Strengths Doesn't possess elite breakaway speed, but is fast enough to gain yardage in chunks when he finds a seam. Quick feet...
4

Javonte
Williams

RB
North Carolina   Mascot
North Carolina Mascot
220lbs 5-10 4.55 5 87.9 76 Strengths Underrated blocker. Cognizant pass defender who is willing to meet a linebacker in the gap.Bowling-ball runner between t...
5

Rhamondre
Stevenson

RB
Oklahoma   Mascot
Oklahoma Mascot
246lbs 6-0 4.63 12 165.2 75 Strengths Not truly explosive, but possesses enough speed to beat linebacker to the edge. Fights for extra yardage and is reli...
6

Chuba
Hubbard

RB
Oklahoma State   Mascot
Oklahoma State Mascot
208lbs 6-0 4.48 6 98.4 73 Strengths Doesn't possess elite breakaway speed, but is fast enough to gain yardage in chunks when he finds a seam. Possesses ...
7

Javian
Hawkins

RB
Louisville   Mascot
Louisville Mascot
196lbs 5-9 4.46 13 180.6 72 Strengths Possesses quick feet and straight-line speed but doesn't have the elite burst to be a constant big-play threat. Impro...
8

Kenneth
Gainwell

RB
Memphis   Mascot
Memphis Mascot
195lbs 5-11 4.42 4 83.8 71 Strengths Flashes initial burst and good lateral quickness to sidestep defenders or bounce runs outside with very good foot quickn...
9

Jermar
Jefferson

RB
Oregon State   Mascot
Oregon State Mascot
217lbs 5-10 4.44 10 151 70 Strengths Bowling-ball runner between the tackles. Flashes a burst in and out of the hole. Lowers his pads and delivers a blow ...
10

Jaret
Patterson

RB
Buffalo   Mascot
Buffalo Mascot
195lbs 5-9 4.52 11 152.7 68 Strengths Has the feet and feel running between the tackles and in the open field. He has very good vision and patience to pick...
11

Jah-Maine
Martin

RB
North Carolina A&T   Mascot
North Carolina A&T Mascot
214lbs 5-10 4.48 27 374.5 66 Strengths Quick feet with good vision to pick through defenses. He has solid hands and body control and is a reliable receiver.A q...
12

Brenden
Knox

RB
Marshall   Mascot
Marshall Mascot
223lbs 6-0 4.64 21 270 65 Strengths Well-built with a thick frame and powerful lower body which keeps his legs pumping through contact. Patient behind the l...