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.