As good as 2017 was for running backs, 2018 will be better. No fewer than three running backs in this class would have been the first runner taken in 2017. The class features several first round talents as well as Saquon Barkley, who should be the top no quarterback drafted and has a shot at going in the top 3.
1: Saquon Barkley - Barkley seemingly can do everything. He returns kicks for touchdowns, displays power and finishing on interior runs, and has the speed to get outside on occasion. Barkley is adept as a pass catcher and, on occasion, has shown the ability to play in pass protection too. He looks like a lock to start on day 1 for whichever team drafts him.
2: Bryce Love - The most recent Cardinal tailback prospect, Love came out of nowhere this season but has established himself as Barkley’s top competition for the Heisman as well as a top 10 prospect in the draft. Love’s breakaway speed, vision, and consistency will impress NFL teams and he is going to be a nice consolation prize for some team that didn’t get Barkley.
3: Derrius Guice - Many NFL scouts feel that Guice is a better prospect than Leonard Fournette. He has been slowed by injuries this year but ultimately he doesn’t appear to have any long term propensity for injuries and he should be another highly coveted offensive playmaker in this draft.
4: Nick Chubb - The longtime Georgia Bulldog struggled with injuries early in his career but has been relatively healthy this season. Chubb is a power back that has some breakaway speed and can also help in the passing game. He’s a solid first round prospect who is capable of rising past Love and Guice in the offseason run up.
5: Ronald Jones - Jones has the shiftiness and explosive qualities that excite NFL scouts. His skill set projects across the board to NFL teams and that quality, along with his overall athleticism, will get him drafted early.
Honorable Mention: Damien Harris - Harris has surprised many college football observers by holding down his job despite two more talented players backing him up. While the Alabama system has basically been a timeshare this season that won’t hurt Harris who has shown some consistency throughout his career. If a team is looking for a steady hand with the ability to shoulder a heavy load and isn’t in the market for a high upside player, then Harris could be a steal.