The running back position is back en vogue in the NFL Draft — they're being picked in the first round again and are making immediate and significant impacts for teams good and bad.
In many ways, the last few years of running back success have been building toward this year — there are seven who could land first-round grades. Here are the top 10:
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Curtis Samuel, Ohio State
He's part running back, part wide receiver, part special teams game breaker — he's an athlete, and more progressive offensive teams will be interested in finding ways to get the ball into his hands at the next level. Some team is going to fall in love with him — don't be shocked if he goes on the first or second day despite his placement on this list.
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Wayne Gallman, Clemson
Another do-it-all player, Gallman might not project into an every-down, feature back at the NFL level, but his production at Clemson shouldn't be overlooked.
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Jeremy McNichols, Boise State
A boom-or-bust prospect, McNichols reminds me a bit of Cardinals running back David Johnson. Obviously, that would be incredible for the team that drafts him. That, or he could have been beating up on weak competition in college. Is someone going to be willing to take that risk in the first two days of the draft?
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Alvin Kamara, Tennessee
While some players can point to their collegiate production, Kamara is 100 percent about his potential. He could be an elite, every-down, dual-threat back the NFL given his receiving ability and flashes of brilliance on his 284 collegiate touches — or he could have been underutilized for a reason at UT.
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D'Onta Foreman, Texas
He's a bowling ball who has reportedly run a 4.4 40-yard dash. That's freakish. He's a classic running back — he won't help a team too much in the passing game — but for a team that's looking to pound the ball out of heavy personnel, Foreman could be a second- or third-day godsend.
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Kareem Hunt, Toledo
A mid-major standout, Hunt can do it all and has impressed scouts so far this offseason — scouts who clearly never saw him play for the Rockets.
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Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
We all know what McCaffrey was able to do in the pro-style offense at Stanford — it's hard to see that kind of versatility and production fall to the third day of the draft.
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Joe Mixon, Oklahoma
His off-the-field scandal is his biggest detriment. Removing that (if you can, and it's understandable if you cannot), Mixon is a prototypical NFL running back who is equal parts power and speed. Some team is going to overlook the problems because of the blinding amount of talent.
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Dalvin Cook, Florida State
Cook is preposterously explosive, and in a modern, pass-heavy NFL offense — one that's a frequent user of run-pass option plays — he's going to make an immediate and prolific impact.
Cook might not fit in every offense — he's an underrated between-the-tackles, power back, but that's not his forte — but he'll be at the top of a dozen teams' RB boards.
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Leonard Fournette, LSU
I don't like to use this term, but it's hard to describe Fournette as anything but a superfreak.
He's preposterously big, he's preposterously fast, he can hit you with power or finesse, or ruin you in the passing game.
Some teams might not see him as a fit for their offensive systems, but that says far more about those teams than Fournette — when you get a player of his caliber, you change the system to match him.