2021 NFL Draft Profiles Running Backs part II

By John Laub
John Laub

 

 

    Ranking the Runners

 

        2021 Running Back Prospects part II

 

 

 

 

 

7. Khalil Herbert, Virginia Tech

Former Jayhawk flew the coop and reached new altitudes as a member of the Hookies. In 2020, breakout crusade at Virginia Tech. As a redshirt senior, totaled 1,182 rushing yards and 7.6 ypc. Earned Third Team All-ACC. As a senior in 2019, played in only four games to preserve his eligibility. Big 12 Commissioner’s honor roll. As a sophomore in 2017, started six games and played in 11: scampered for 291 yards. Overlooked runner who rushed for 1,735 yards in 4 seasons at Kansas. Nicknamed “The Juice.” Graduated with a degree in Business Administration. In high school, three-star recruit by ESPN and 247Sports. Named the Miami Herald’s Top 150 in Broward County. Compact and solid build at 5’9” and 204-pounds. A slasher who unearths cut back lanes with good vision. One-cut runner with very good long speed. Sticks foot and rapidly accelerates upfield. Patient and decisive runner with solid contact balance. Does not go down easily. Explodes through creases and blasts into second level. Master of angles in open friend. Under-utilized pass catcher with soft hands and identifies opposing blitzers in pass protection, packing a punch. Not likely a featured ball carrier as a pro but nice partner in a duo backfield. Lacks idyllic size and speed. Would flourish in zone blocking scheme.

 

 

Key Career Stats

Rushing Yards: 2,918

Yards per Carry: 6.1

Receptions: 34

2020 Season

Yards from Scrimmage: 1,362

Team Scrimmage Yards Distribution: 28%

Breakaway Ability (Pro Day Results)

40-yard Dash: 4.46

3-cone Drill: 6.96

20-yard Shuttle: 4.31

Draft Grade: Third Day

 

8. Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State

A decorated track-and-field Canadian sprinter who excelled in high school: Three-time national champion for his age group in 100 meters. Also played football under Canadian Football rules and lined up as defensive back and running back. Injured shortened senior season. Career: 458 carries for 6,880 yards and 82 touchdowns (15 ypc.). In 2018, a redshirt freshman who replaced Justice Hill. In four games as featured back, averaged 106 ypg and 5.4 ypc. Logged three 100-yard games. As a sophomore in 2019, chronicled a 2,000-yard rushing season. Unanimous First Team All-American, Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and Walter Camp Award finalist. Led FBS in rushing yards (2,094), yards per game (161.1), 200-yard games (4) and all-purpose yards. In 2020, 133 carries for 625 rushing yards and five touchdowns in seven games. At 6’0” and 210-pounds, an agile-and-quick slasher with lean frame. Employs good vision and burst to explode downfield. Excels in space after crashing first level of defense. A quick-twitch athlete: Finds cutback lanes and thrives on the perimeter. Stupendous straight-line speed. Freezes defenders with stutter steps and easily turns on the jets. Shined in outside zone-blocking scheme for Cowboys. Does not have powerful leg drive: Narrow hips and lean legs. Struggled between the tackles in 2020. Fumbling challenges: Nine fumbles in 2018 and 2019. A very high-ceiling prospect who could shine in the right ground game.

Key Career Stats

Rushing Yards: 3,459

Yards per Carry: 5.9

Receptions: 53

2019 Season

Yards from Scrimmage: 2,292

Team Scrimmage Yards Distribution: 39%

Draft Grade: Third Day

 

 

9. Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

After three seasons in Starkville, Bulldogs’ star kicks off career. In 2020, played in only three games. Against LSU, established single-game school record with 158 receiving yards by a running back and tied Bulldogs mark with 15 catches. Preseason Doak Walker Award and Maxwell Award watch list. In 2019, rushed for 1,350 yards, scored 10 touchdowns and averaged 5.6 ypc. Recorded the longest rushing (62) and receiving (88) play on the Bulldogs. First Team All-SEC and SEC Fall Academic honor roll. In 2018, started 11 games and led SEC in receiving touchdowns (4) among running backs. In 2017 as a true freshman, appeared in 13 games and scampered for 393 yards and two touchdowns. In high school, a four-star recruit by ESPN and 247Sports. Ranked as the No. 6 RB in the nation by 247Sports. First Team All-State in Mississippi. As a senior, rushed for 1,750 yards and 27 touchdowns. At 5’10” and 214-pounds, a physical, shifty and creative runner with excellent vision. Avoids tacklers with jump cuts, hurdles and stiff-arms. Aggressive competitor who lowers pads and initiates contact. Bounces off defenders and gains yards after contact. Plants foot and rapidly springs ahead: Immediately explodes upfield. Violent runner who falls forward. Avoids tacklers at second level by eliminating angles. Quality pass catcher with soft hands and easily transitions to runner. Holds up in pass protection. Good Senior Bowl and Pro Day. Does not hesitate when hole opens. Top-end speed missing.

Key Career Stats

Rushing Yards: 2,535

Yards per Carry: 5.6

Receptions: 67

2019 Season

Yards from Scrimmage: 1,530

Team Scrimmage Yards Distribution: 29%

Breakaway Ability (Pro Day Results)

40-yard Dash: 4.51

3-Cone Drill: 7.13

20-yard Shuttle: 4.35

Draft Grade: Third Day

 

10. Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State

Beavers’ pulsating playmaker leaves Corvallis, Oregon after three years. Productive tenue in a program that won only nine games over the past three campaigns. In 2020, First Team All-Pac-12, AP Co-Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and Doak Walker Award semifinalist. In 2019, suffered an ankle injury and only played in nine games and garnered 142 carries for 685 yards. In 2018, set a program freshman rushing record with 1,380 yards: Named Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year, Freshman All-American and All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. Finished campus tenure fifth all-time in rushing yards (2,923), 100-yard outings (15) and rushing touchdowns (27). In high school, a three-star prospect from Narbonne High School in Los Angeles, CA. At 5’10” and 206-pounds, a decisive ball carrier with nimble feet. Runs with conviction and purpose. Compact and powerful runner who fights through contact. Very good vision and patience. Underrated explosiveness, acceleration and breakaway speed. Numerous long runs on film. Very good footwork and strong lower body. Fluid athlete and savvy runner. Tough with tremendous vision. Bounces off defenders and runs through arm tackles. As a pass catcher, easily transitions into ball carrier and excels in space. Tracks ball well out of the backfield. Needs to improve as a pass blocker. Lacks elite lateral quickness. Wide range of professional outcomes: Could fade after a couple of seasons or ascend to a 1,000-yard rusher in the NFL. I’m betting on the former.

Key Career Stats

Rushing Yards: 2,923

Yards per Carry: 5.7

Receptions: 43

2020 Season

Yards from Scrimmage: 925

Team Scrimmage Yards Dominator: 32%

Breakaway Ability (Pro Day Results)

40-yard Dash: 4.55

3-cone Drill: 7.38

20-yard Shuttle: 4.38

Draft Grade: Third Day

 

11. Javian Hawkins, Louisville

Cardinals’ rousing runner departs the nest for new heights. In 2019, earned 264 carries for a school record 1,525 yards, scored nine touchdowns and named Second Team All-ACC. In 2020, reaped 133 attempts for 822 yards and seven touchdowns. Opted out after eight games last year. Only 21 career receptions for 189 yards and a score. During past two years, surpassed 100 yards rushing 12 times in a game and 200 yards once. In high school, nation’s No. 21 all-purpose back by 247Sports and three-star recruit. Logged over 4,000 rushing yards and 40 scores. In the 40-yard dash, recorded 4.37 seconds and netted Top SPARQ ranking. Nicknamed “PlayStation.” At 5’9” and 182-pounds, a lightening bug with slippery feet, who can hit a home run at any moment. High-energy competitor. Dynamic combination of elusiveness, toughness and competitiveness. Low center of gravity with quick and fanciful feet. Stupendous burst, acceleration and speed. Excels on the perimeter. Elusive in space and employs a second gear downfield. Makes impressive cuts and leaves tacklers grasping air in the open field. Smaller frame. Must improve as a pass catcher and protector. Lacks elite vision and runs into blockers occasionally. Can he prolong plays after initial contact? Projects as a rotational back with gamebreaking ability.

Key Career Stats

Rushing Yards: 2,355

Yards per Carry: 5.9

Receptions: 21

2020 Season

Yards from Scrimmage: 949

Team Scrimmage Yards Distribution: 19%

Draft Grade: Third Day

 

12. Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma

Splendid Sooner gallops to new pastures. A throwback, plays and runs like a fullback from the Seventies. A four-star JUCO prospect who blossomed in second season at Cerrito College. Rambled for over 2,000 yards and signed with Oklahoma. In 2019, played in 13 games and rushed for 515 yards and scored six touchdowns. At the close of the campaign, NCAA suspension after failing drug test (Peach Bowl) which bleed into 2020. Missed first five games and played in only six last year. Paced team in rushing with 665 yards and totaled seven touchdowns. At 5’11” and 227-pounds, bruising and punishing runner. Exceptional combination of size, power and strength. One-cut runner, who plants foot and blasts forward. Finds cutback lanes and excels at inside zone and gap plays. Gets low, drops pads and pulverizes opponents. Blasts through arm tackles. Rapidly transitions into a runner after the catch. Anchors on pass protection and attacks rushers. Lacks gamebreaking agility and wiggle. Does not employ a lot of shake and bake. As a pass catcher, limited as a dump off and screen option. Draft capital will ultimately decide Dynasty value.

Key Career Stats

Rushing Yards: 1,180

Yards per Carry: 7.2

Receptions: 28

2020 Season

Yards from Scrimmage: 1,478

Team Scrimmage Yards Distribution: 27%

Breakaway Ability (Pro Day Results)

40-yard Dash: 4.64

3-Cone Drill: 7.09

20-yard Shuttle: 4.15

Draft Grade: Third Day