Combine Winners and Losers – Running Backs

Winners

1. NFL Organizations
This is the greatest running back class in recent history. There are currently four running backs who could be drafted in the first round and a litany of others who will contribute at a high level next season for whichever team drafts them. If I was an NFL GM, I’d take at least one running back in this year’s draft.

2. Christian McCaffrey | RB | Stanford | 5’11” | 202
McCaffrey’s variety of talents were on display this year. His balance and cutting ability are impressive. McCaffrey may have struggled on the bench, but that doesn’t really matter for a running back. McCaffrey posted impressive testing numbers with a 4.48 40-yard dash and a 37.5-inch vertical jump. Which ever team drafts McCaffrey will have a matchup nightmare in the passing game and will be able to move him all over the field. McCaffrey will also contribute immediately on special teams. I fully expect McCaffrey to go no later than the early 2nd round. He earned it.

3. Alvin Kamara | RB | Tennessee | 5’10” | 214
Kamara didn’t run the best 40 time, but he showed his explosive athleticism with a 39.5-inch vertical jump and a 131-inch broad jump. Kamara showed his change of direction ability coupled with his excellent hands out of the backfield. His measurements lend themselves to being a 3-down back in the NFL. Kamara is a mismatch and can be utilized in a variety of packages. Kamara will have to answer some questions as to why he left Alabama and didn’t start for Tennessee, but that shouldn’t stop him from coming off the board early.

4. Jeremy McNichols | RB | Boise State | 5’9” | 214
McNichols had an extremely stellar performance at this year’s combine. He posted a 4.49 40-yard dash and a 35.5-inch vertical leap. McNichols also caught the ball well during work outs and showed excellent change of direction ability. At Boise State, McNichols had two excellent years and has moved all over the field. McNichols should come off the board somewhere during day-2.


Losers

1. Leonard Fournette | RB | LSU | 6’1” | 240
Everyone is talking about Fournette’s excellent 40 time, but for me the more eye opening numbers was his vertical leap (28.5 Inches). Fournette doesn’t have great short-area quickness and was extremely disappointing in passing drills. Compound those flaws with him being overweight at the combine, and I’m not sure that is a recipe for success. With the evolution in the NFL, I think Fournette may only be a fit for limited number of teams and I’m not sure I would be looking to draft him.

2. Kareem Hunt | RB | Toledo | 5’10” | 216
Now, I love Kareem Hunt, I really do. He’s very good, but a 4.62 40-yard dash time isn’t a great time, and teams are probably concerned that his weight has changed so much leading up to the combine. Hunt may have lost himself some money today, but he will win the war with NFL production. Hunt has the ability to be a 3-down back in the NFL and has great balance and vision.

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