2017 NFL RB Prospects Part II

By John Laub
John Laub

 

 

      2017 NFL Running Back Prospects

             Part II

 

 

 

 

 

7. D’Onta Foreman, Texas

In 2016, Doak Walker Award Winner, Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Recipient and Consensus All-American. Paced country in rushing yards with 2,028 on 323 carries, scored 15 touchdowns and averaged 6.3 yards per carry. Only player in FBS to eclipse 100 yards in every game, averaging 184.4 yards. Twin brother of Longhorns’ teammate Armanti. At 6’0” and 233 lbs., powerful back with excellent feet. Punishes opponents: Nearly impossible to arm-tackle and keeps feet churning. Tenacious and decisive ball carrier. Runs through contact with high knees and tacklers bounce off thighs. Agile athlete who makes defenders miss and can spring outside. Good short-area burst and nasty jump cut. Physical competitor with balance and toughness. North-south runner with deceptive speed. Good vision to follow blockers and scamper through tight windows. Loose hips and quick feet to navigate lanes. Runs with patience and presses the hole. Underrated change-of-direction ability and accelerates to top speed. Bounces from one tackler to the next. In pass protection, identifies blitzer, meets opponent and anchors easily. However, needs to improve mechanics. Troubling ball security issues: Seven fumbles, losing six. Only caught 15 passes last year: Limited third-down talent. Despite imposing size, chooses finesse over clout at times. A competitive and relentless player with a smooth and physical style. A coaching staff and scouting department will surely covet unique skill set and might push him into the first round. 

Measurements 40-yrd 3-cone 20-yrd Rec. YPC T-Yrds %
D. Foreman 4.45 n/a n/a 13 6.4 36% ('16)
Benchmark 4.55 7.00 4.35 50 5.25 30%

Scholar's Supremacy Score: n/a

Draft Potential: Third round

 

 

 

8. Jamaal Williams, BYU

Led Cougars in rushing all four seasons on campus. Last year, established BYU single game rushing record vs. Toledo with 286 and career rushing mark with 3,901. Scored 35 career rushing touchdowns. Immediate starter as a freshman, scampering for 755 yards and 12 touchdowns. In 2013, All-Independent team selection after totaling 1,233 rushing yards and averaging 5.7 ypc. In 2016, missed three games after suffering ankle injury: Still rambled for a career-high 1,375 yards and scored 12 times. At 6’0” and 212 lbs., decisive and impressive downhill runner. Flexible hips. Long strider who runs hard. Muscles through arm tacklers: Attacks defenders with power and leverage. Slippery and quick enough to get through congestion. Noble stiff arm and spin move to elude defenders. Generates yards after contact. Excellent lower-body strength with good lateral agility. Shifty ball carrier with good balance. Gets skinny in the hole. Vision and patience to break outside. Smooth runner who hits holes with burst. Excels in short-yardage and goal line situations. Only fumbled five times on 726 attempts: Terrific technique carrying the football. Arrested for suspicion of underage drinking and suspended for season opener at UConn in 2014. Not a likely three-down back. Needs to improve pass protection skills. Route running skills below par and not an instinctive pass catcher. Lacks elite athleticism and not a dynamic ball carrier. An overlooked prospect who will find a role in the NFL and possibly become a weekly starter.  

Measurements 40-yrd 3-cone 20-yrd Rec. YPC T-Yrds %
J. Williams 4.59 7.25 4.53 60 5.4 28% ('16)
Benchmark 4.55 7.00 4.35 50 5.25 30%

Scholar's Supremacy Score: 5.5

Draft Potential: Third round

  

9. Wayne Gallman, Clemson

One half of the preeminent QB-RB combo in the nation during the past two years. In high school, failed to garner the attention of coaching staffs and landed at Clemson without much fanfare. Became a star in coach Dabo Swinney’s offense. During past two seasons, recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns, rushing for 1,514 and 1,133 yards respectively. In three seasons at Clemson, snatched 66 catches and scored 36 times. In 2015, shared Clemson’s Offensive MVP Award with Deshaun Watson and named First Team All-ACC. Plays with a chip on his shoulder and combines power with finesse to demolish opponents. At 6’0” and 215 pounds, physical on inside runs and can scamper to the edge of the defense. Drops shoulder into opponents. Solid burst into hole and churns feet through tacklers. Changes direction easily with hip flexibility, patience and vision while stringing together moves. Once in the secondary, off to the races. Extraordinary competitor with high motor. Earned the fourth-down and short-yardage situations: Resolute runner in the red zone. An above average pass catcher. Lacks the elite speed of other prospects. In crowds, struggles to make ankle-breaking cuts. Does not own a lot of finesse. Long strider who attacks the line of scrimmage upright and permits tacklers to gain leverage. Out of cuts, short on explosiveness. Pass protection could keep him sidelined early as a professional. Can be tracked down from behind and not many “chunk” runs. Needs to improve knee bend and pad level. A good prospect who runs well north-south and physical nature guarantees a role in the NFL.

Measurements 40-yrd 3-cone 20-yrd Rec. YPC T-Yrds %
W. Gallman 4.60 7.17 4.28 66 5.1 23% ('15)
Benchmark 4.55 7.00 4.35 50 5.25 30%

Scholar's Supremacy Score: 5.5

Draft Potential: Third round

 

 

 

10. Brian Hill, Wyoming

One of the fastest rising prospects among scouts and draftniks. Named to the 2015 Second Team and 2016 First Team All-Mountain West. Registered back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons: 1,631 and 1,860 respectfully. Last year, established the Wyoming single-season rushing record, scored 22 touchdowns and averaged 5.3 ypc. Departs campus as the Cowboys all-time leading rusher with 4,287 yards and rushing touchdowns with 35. Aggressive nature and physical makeup at 6’1” and 219 lbs. Stout downhill runner with thick frame, good balance and lateral wiggle. Bounces off tacklers and accumulates yards after first contact. Presses line of scrimmage with excellent vision, follows blocks and cuts back well. Effective at jump cutting in traffic near the line of scrimmage. An upright runner who drops pads and sinks shoulders and hips into opponents. Enjoys contact and drives through tacklers, pushing pile forward. Utilizes a nasty stiff arm. A decisive ball carrier with quick feet and forward lean. Innate ability to get skinny in the hole and find a crack. Devastating versus the second level of the defense. A versatile runner with experience in zone-read and power-I formations. Willing pass protector: Quickly identifies blitzers, anchors body for contact and engages hands at pad level. Only five career fumbles on 816 touches. Not a quick twitch athlete and lacks elite elusiveness. Limited escapability and lacks cut-and-go velocity. Likely taken off the board in the fourth round and will return a nice dividend on investment.

Measurements 40-yrd 3-cone 20-yrd Rec. YPC T-Yrds %
B. Hill 4.54 7.03 4.32 41 5.5 32% ('16)
Benchmark 4.55 7.00 4.35 50 5.25 30%

Scholar's Supremacy Score: 9.5

Draft Potential: Third-day prospect  

 

11. Kareem Hunt, Toledo

Quickly ascending Draft boards after impressive senior season. Concluded college career as Toledo’s all-time rushing leader with 4,945 yards and finished second in touchdowns with 44. Produced two 1,000-yard campaigns: 1,631 (2014) and 1,475 (2016). Eclipsed 100 yards rushing in 28 of 38 games since becoming the starter as a freshman. Went over 100 yards rushing in every game (10) as a sophomore. Dashed for over 200 yards in three contests and scored at least two touchdowns in 11 games during career. Impressive week of practice at the Senior Bowl and named North Outstanding Player Honors after rushing for 118 yards on 15 carries. At 5’10” and 216 lbs., physically prepared for the rigors of the NFL. Ideal mix of power, speed and agility. Very elusive runner with great vision and balance. Great cutback ability and top-notch jump cut. Excellent at making tacklers whiff. Finishes runs well, fights for every yard and falls forward. Patient playmaker who reads blocks well. Low center of gravity. Discovers holes and shoots through the opening. Effortlessly changes direction and creates big gains. Workhorse back at Toledo last three crusades and only fumbled once in four seasons. In the aerial assault, not asked to contribute often nor a natural pass catcher. A few injury concerns on resume: Missed three games as a sophomore with ankle injury and hamstring issues sidelined him for two contests as a junior. Also, suspended two games for team violation in 2015. Among prospects, the best senior ball carrier who projects as a zone-scheme runner. Can the former Rocket jump from MAC competition to the NFL? Athletic ability and skill set foretell a noble professional career forthcoming.

Measurements 40-yrd 3-cone 20-yrd Rec. YPC T-Yrds %
K. Hunt 4.62 n/a n/a 73 6.3 28% ('16)
Benchmark 4.55 7.00 4.35 50 5.25 30%

Scholar's Supremacy Score: n/a

Draft Potential: Third-day prospect 

    

 

 

12. Marlon Mack, South Florida

Leaves USF as the school’s all-time leader in rushing yards (3,609), all-purpose yards (4,107) and touchdowns (33). Dominated the AAC during college tenure: Three-time First Team All-AAC, and in 2014 and 2015, led conference in rushing. Exceeded 1,000 yards rushing every season on campus. Began career in spectacular fashion: Conquered Western Carolina with a 275-yard rushing performance as a freshman. Averaged 6.2 ypc. and grabbed 32 passes. At 6’0” and 205 lbs., upright runner with a galloping style, impressive patience and good body control. Prodigious open-field moves and very good straight-line speed. Fanciful explosiveness and balance. Strong physical runner with great athleticism. Makes tacklers whiff with a nifty jump cut. Weaves and glides through congestion with good vision and alertness to burst into the open field. Manipulates defenders and exploits cutback lanes. Tenacity and toughness between the tackles: Good in short yardage and goal line opportunities, utilizing power and strength. Uses blockers well to find a lane. Despite a downhill running style, good lateral and stop-start quickness. Very good pass catcher with adhesive on hands. Excellent decision maker who hits homeruns. An underrated mid-round running back prospect.

Measurements 40-yrd 3-cone 20-yrd Rec. YPC T-Yrds %
M. Mack 4.50 n/a n/a 65 6.2 21% ('16)
Benchmark 4.55 7.00 4.35 50 5.25 30%

Scholar's Supremacy Score: n/a

Draft Potential: Third round

   
With his Masters in history and professional experience as an educator, John Laub is uniquely qualified to research, analyze and discover new insights and trends in college and professional fantasy football. Laub has played fantasy football for nearly thirty years and provided FootballDiehards.com with weekly player rankings for two decades. He won $10,000 in 1993, defeating nearly 15,000 owners, and published Audibles: Winning is Everything in the 1990s. He truly is The Gridiron Scholar. Twitter: @GridironSchol91 or e-mail: Audibles@aol.com