2011 NFL Draft: Running Back Rankings

Published on January 21, 2011 by     Seahawk Fanatic

  1. Mark Ingram*, RB, Alabama
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 215.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.44.
    Projected Round (2011): Top 15 Pick.

    10/1/10: Ingram recovered from a knee injury missing his first two games, but he has dominated and returned to Heisman form. He is averaging 9.3 yards per carry on 308 yards total in his last two games against Duke and Arkansas. Ingram isn’t the fastest back in the 2011 NFL Draft, but he has amazing balance, power, vision and terrific instincts. He will be the first back off the board.

    3/29/10: The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram rushed for 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns on a 6.1 YPC. He also caught 32 passes for 334 more yards. He’s a legit top-10 prospect.

  2. Ryan Williams**, RB, Virginia Tech
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 206.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.43.
    Projected Round (2011): Top 25 Pick.

    10/1/10: Williams got no help from his offensive line against Boise State, but he showed great power, burst, athleticism and competitiveness. He runs with authority and really attacks the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately, Williams suffered a hamstring injury against East Carolina and is questionable this weekend against N.C. State.

    3/29/10: Darren Evans’ injury opened the door for Ryan Williams, who rushed for 1,655 yards and 21 scores on a 5.7 YPC last year. He also grabbed 16 balls for 180 more yards. Williams was a redshirt sophomore, so he’ll be eligible for the 2011 NFL Draft.

  3. Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 228.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.51.
    Projected Round (2011): 1-2.

    10/1/10: (Note: name pronounced muh-KEL luh-SHORE) Ladies and gentlement, this is the breakout running back for the 2011 NFL Draft class. Leshoure is 6-1, 230 with amazing power and speed. He obliterated Missouri for 20 carries and 112 yards. He is averaging 6.9 yards per carry and has 398 rushing yards, three touchdowns total as well as ranking No. 6 in the nation in rushing yards per game. Leshoure has been praised this offseason for his improved work ethic, diet and maturity. The sky is the limit for this talented back from Champaign, Ill.
  4. Shane Vereen*, RB, California
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 198.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.45.
    Projected Round (2011): 2.

    10/1/10: Vereen was our No. 3 back entering the 2010 season and has lived up to the hype. Through four games he has 426 yards and six touchdowns including a 198-yard performance against Nevada. Vereen has athleticism and vision, and is elusive in the open field. He’s simply too talented to fall past the second round at this point.

    7/22/10: Shane Vereen did a great job replacing an injured Jahvid Best; he rushed for 952 yards and 12 touchdowns on a 5.2 YPC. He also caught 25 passes for 244 receiving yards.

  5. Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 227.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
    Projected Round (2011): 2-3.

    10/1/10: Thomas has really improved since last season and reportedly has shown better running instincts, power, and confidence. He has 628 rushing yards and six touchdowns thus far including a 234-yard performance against UCLA. Our concern here with Thomas is his highly upright running style, which will expose his legs to tacklers. 3/29/10: Daniel Thomas rushed for 1,265 yards and 11 touchdowns on a 5.1 YPC. He also caught 25 balls for 257 more yards. If he can run a fast 40, he may break into the first round.
  6. Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia
    Height: 5-8. Weight: 175.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.31.
    Projected Round (2011): 3-4.

    10/1/10: Devine suffered a bruised toe against LSU and was limited later in that game. In his first three games, Devine accumulated 73 carries for 354 rushing yards and 80 receiving yards. He is an electric player in the open field and it is inevitable he will draw comparisons to Dexter McCluster.

    11/7/09: Someone will draft Noel Devine in Rounds 2-3 if he runs a fast 40. He’s averaging 6.2 YPC and 8.2 yards per reception this year. He’ll be seen as a Darren Sproles-type player.

  7. Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State
    Height: 5-8. Weight: 190.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.42.
    Projected Round (2011): 3-5.

    10/1/10: Hunter has been dominant statistically and looks like he is running with a lower centery of gravity and doing a better job of breaking tackles. He has averaged 7.9 yards per carry and has 473 rushing yards through three games.

    3/29/10: Kendall Hunter finished an unspectacular year with only 382 rushing yards (4.3 YPC) and 11 catches.

  8. DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 214.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.44.
    Projected Round (2011): 3-5.

    10/1/10: Murray looks like a solid third-down back in the league, but he doesn’t profile as a No. 1 back because he lacks the interior running instincts and generally shies from contact. Murray has very good speed and can catch the football with ease. He is averaging 4.2 yards per carry and has 16 receptions for 111 yards through four games.

    3/29/10: Finished his junior campaign with 680 rushing yards, 41 receptions and 522 receiving yards.

    10/10/09: DeMarco Murray has played well coming off his injury, gaining 5.4 YPC in four games. He also has eight receptions.

    1/3/09: DeMarco Murray needs surgery on his hamstring, and will miss the final winter practice game of the year. That should pretty much mean that he’s coming back for his junior campaign.

  9. Derrick Locke, RB, Kentucky
    Height: 5-9. Weight: 190.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.37.
    Projected Round (2011): 4-6.

    10/1/10: Locke lacks size, but he runs with authority and has tremendous speed. He has strung togther four straight 100-yard rushing games. Locke is No. 8 in the nation in total rushing yards. A big Senior Bowl could propel this back into the third round for a team looking for a speedy backup.

    3/29/10: Despite being hampered by sore knees toward the end of the season, Derrick Locke rushed for 908 yards (4.6 YPC) and caught 31 balls in 2009. He’ll be a third-down back/kick returner (he averaged 27 yards on kickoff returns.)

  10. Quizz Rodgers*, RB, Oregon State
    Height: 5-7. Weight: 191.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.45.
    Projected Round (2011): 4-6.

    10/1/10: Rodgers has speed, but he can’t carry the load at the next level.

    3/29/10: Can Quizz Rodgers handle the load at just 191 pounds? Look at these numbers, and you tell me: 273 carries, 1,440 yards. 78 catches, 522 rec. yards, 22 touchdowns. Insanity sauce.

  11. Armando Allen Jr., RB, Notre Dame
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 200.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.42.
    Projected Round (2011): 4-6.

    10/1/10: Allen is averaging 5.0 yards per carry this year and seems to have improved his burst through the hole and power.

    3/29/10: Bothered by an ankle injury all year, Armando Allen rushed for 697 yards on a 4.9 YPC. He also caught 28 passes. He didn’t do any work on special teams.

  12. Evan Royster, RB, Penn State
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 213.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
    Projected Round (2011): 5-7.

    10/1/10: Going into the season, Royster was definitely one of the more overrated backs. He isn’t particularly fast, he runs with a high pad level, and his legs seem to go dead on contact. Royster bounced back with a 187-rushing yard performance against Temple, but he needs to be more consistent and competitive.

    3/29/10: Evan Royster rushed for 1,169 yards and six scores on a 5.7 YPC. He also caught 16 passes for 187 more yards.

  13. Brandon Saine, RB, Ohio State
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 217.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.40.
    Projected Round (2011): 5-7.

    3/29/10: Brandon Saine rushed for 739 yards (5.1 YPC) and caught 17 passes for 224 more yards in his first year without Chris Wells on the roster.
  14. Allen Bradford, RB, USC
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 235.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
    Projected Round (2011): 5-7.

    3/29/10: Allen Bradford turned 115 carries into 668 yards (5.8 YPC). He has only 11 career receptions.
  15. Darren Evans**, RB, Virginia Tech
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 210.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
    Projected Round (2011): 5-7.

    3/29/10: Tore his ACL in September.

    8/6/09: Took over as Virginia Tech’s starting running back as a true freshman a few games into the 2008 campaign. Darren Evans finished with 1,265 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He also caught 17 passes.

  16. Roy Helu, RB, Nebraska
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 215.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.54.
    Projected Round (2011): 5-7.

    3/29/10: Roy “You Say” Helu had a great junior campaign, running for 1,147 yards and 10 touchdowns on a 5.2 YPC. He caught 19 passes for 149 more yards.
  17. Baron Batch, RB, Texas Tech
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 205.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.45.
    Projected Round (2011): 5-7.

    3/29/10: Baron Batch rushed for 884 yards on a 5.3 YPC. What’s more impressive is that he caught 57 passes for 395 more yards in 2009.
  18. Mario Fannin, RB, Auburn
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 225.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
    Projected Round (2011): 6-FA.

    3/29/10: Mario Fannin rushed the ball only 34 times in 2009. The intrigue is his ability in the passing game; he caught 42 balls for 413 yards.
  19. Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 231.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.63.
    Projected Round (2011): 6-FA.

    3/29/10: Backing up Jonathan Dwyer, Anthony Allen rushed for 618 yards on a sterling 9.7 YPC. The problem is that Georgia Tech’s goofy offense doesn’t even come close to translating to an NFL-style attack.
  20. Delone Carter, RB, Syracuse
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 215.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
    Projected Round (2011): 6-FA.

    3/29/10: Gained 1,021 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in addition to 11 receptions in 2009.
  21. Vai Taua, RB, Nevada
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 222.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.62.
    Projected Round (2011): 6-FA.

    3/29/10: Rushed for an impressive 1,345 yards on a 7.8 YPC. Also caught 12 passes.
  22. Caleb King*, RB, Georgia
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 210.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.40.
    Projected Round (2011): 7-FA.

    3/29/10: Has never lived up to the prospect he was billed to be coming into Georgia; rushed for just 594 yards on a 5.2 YPC in 2009. Caught 10 balls as well.

    2/6/09: Perhaps a bit of a disappointment in his freshman year, Caleb King rushed for a meager 4.1 YPC average, gaining 247 yards and a score. He’ll get much more work with Knowshon Moreno gone.

    7/25/08: One of the highest-recruited running backs a year ago, Caleb King has all the talent in the world, and it showed in the spring game, when he ran for 31 yards on just six carries. He won’t steal many of Knowshon Moreno’s carries, so look for him to shine in 2009, once Moreno moves on to the NFL.

  23. Da’Rel Scott, RB, Maryland
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 200.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.39.
    Projected Round (2011): 7-FA.

    3/29/10: Missed time with a wrist injury. Playing in only seven games, Da’Rel Scott rushed for 425 yards on a 5.0 YPC. He also had 12 catches for 101 more yards.

    8/6/09: Another Maryland player with blazing speed, Da’Rel Scott rushed for 1,133 yards and eight touchdowns in 2008. He also chipped in with 21 receptions. Scott handled kickoff return duties as a freshman, but didn’t score any touchdowns. Dropping his stock a bit, Scott was suspended for a game last year.

    Click here to find out more!

  24. Shaun Draughn, RB, North Carolina
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 205.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
    Projected Round (2011): 7-FA.

    3/29/10: Before missing the final month of the season with a shoulder injury, Shaun Draughn rushed for 567 yards (4.6 YPC) and caught 21 balls for 125 yards.

    8/6/09: In his first year as a running back on the Tar Heels, Shaun Draughn rushed for 866 yards on a 4.4 YPC. He also caught 16 balls.

  25. Josh Nesbitt, RB, Georgia Tech
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 217.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.54.
    Projected Round (2011): 7-FA.

    3/29/10: Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt will be a running back in the NFL. He rushed for 1,037 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2009.
  26. Derrick Washington, RB, Missouri
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 225.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.58.
    Projected Round (2011): 7-FA.

    3/29/10: Derrick Washington had another great year, rushing for 865 yards (4.6 YPC) and catching 26 balls for 156 more yards.

    8/6/09: Derrick Washington rushed for 1,036 yards and 17 touchdowns as a sophomore. He also garnered 29 receptions. Unfortunately, Washington went through knee surgery following the 2008 season.

  27. Graig Cooper, RB, Miami
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 205.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.42.
    Projected Round (2011): 7-FA.

    3/29/10: Bad news: Graig Cooper partially tore his ACL in Miami’s postseason practice game. There’s a chance he could be ready for the 2010 season opener. During the year, Cooper had 695 rushing yards on a 5.2 YPC and 18 receptions for 132 more yards.

    8/6/09: As a sophomore, Graig Cooper rushed for 841 yards and four scores on a 4.9 YPC. He also registered 29 catches for 113 receiving yards. Additionally, Cooper took a punt return to the house in 2008.

  28. Donald Buckram, RB, UTEP
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 195.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.51.
    Projected Round (2011): 7-FA.

    3/29/10: Gotta love these numbers: 1,594 rushing yards (6.2 YPC), 21 touchdowns, 30 catches. Unfortunately, it’s hard to take anything in UTEP’s offense seriously.
  29. Eddie Wide, RB, Utah
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 195.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.44.
    Projected Round (2011): 7-FA.

    3/29/10: Compiled 1,070 rushing yards (5.3 YPC), 17 receptions and 13 touchdowns in 2009.
  30. Emmanuel Moody, RB, Florida
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 206.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.44.
    Projected Round (2011): 7-FA.

    3/29/10: For the second consecutive year, Emmanuel Moody carried the ball only 58 times, this time compiling 378 yards (6.5 YPC).

    2/6/09: Emmanuel Moody carried the ball just 58 times, but managed 417 yards (7.2 YPC) and a touchdown in 2008.

    7/25/08: Emmanuel Moody had to transfer out of USC because of the crazy number of running backs on that roster. Moody showed a lot of promise as a freshman in 2006, rushing for 459 yards on a 5.8 clip.

  31. C.J. Gable, RB, USC
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 202.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
    Projected Round (2011): 7-FA.

    2/6/09: C.J. Gable rushed for 617 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior. Like the rest of the USC backfield, Gable didn’t get many opportunities. He did, however, return a kickoff for a touchdown.

    5/21/08: C.J. Gable missed most of the 2007 season with a groin injury.

    2007: C.J. Gable finished third on the Trojans in rushing, but he picked it up at the end of his freshman year, garnering 91 yards against California, 107 versus Notre Dame and 52 at UCLA.

  32. Nic Grigsby, RB, Arizona
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 180.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
    Projected Round (2011): 7-FA.

    3/29/10: Saw a drop in production last season; had just 79 carries for 567 yards (7.2 YPC) and 13 receptions.

    8/6/09: Nic Grigsby rushed for 1,153 yards and 13 touchdowns on a 5.4 YPC in 2008. He also caught 12 passes. Unfortunately, his 40 time will hurt his draft stock considering how small his frame is.

  33. Mike Ford, RB, South Florida
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 225.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.57.
    Projected Round (2011): 7-FA.

    3/29/10: Rushed for 450 yards on 91 carries (5.0 YPC). A very disappointing collegiate career.

    8/6/09: A highly recruited player out of high school, Mike Ford has disappointed in South Florida, displaying poor work ethic and an inability to stay healthy. Ford rushed for 407 yards and five scores on a 3.9 YPC in 2008.

  34. Vondrell McGee, RB, Texas
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 205.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.44.
    Projected Round (2011): 7-FA.

    3/29/10: Rushed for 300 yards on 56 carries (5.4 YPC) as a junior. Also caught eight passes.

    8/6/09: Didn’t see much action as a sophomore (376 rushing yards, nine receptions), but he’ll get more playing time now with several 2008 running backs gone.

  35. James Montgomery, RB, Washington State
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 205.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.44.
    Projected Round (2011): FA.

    3/29/10: Suffered a nasty leg injury that threatened his career back in September. He may play in 2010.

    8/6/09: James Montgomery rushed for 171 yards on 36 carries at Cal in 2007. He switched schools and had to sit out in 2008. It appears as though Montgomery will have the starting job at Washington State.

  36. Richard Murphy, RB, LSU
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 196.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.51.
    Projected Round (2011): FA.

    3/29/10: Missed most of the 2009 season with a knee injury.

    8/6/09: Richard Murphy didn’t get much of an opportunity in a crowded LSU backfield last year. Given only 44 carries, Murphy compiled 186 yards. On the bright side, he also caught 10 balls.

WalterFootball.com: 2011 NFL Draft: Running Back Rankings.

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