2017 NFL draft rankings: Running backs

Mike Ehrmann

This will come as no secret to anyone who has been paying attention, but the 2017 running back class has the potential to go down as an all-time great. Doesn’t mean it will, just that the talent is there if a few prospects translate their college stardom into NFL production. Todd Gurley set a high rookie bar back in 2015, and Ezekiel Elliott has pushed it farther into the stratosphere this season. While it remains to be seen whether or not anyone in the ’17 class has that level of impact, a minimum of two running backs will go in Round 1. And that number could rise to four or five when all is said and done.​

Rank Player School Measurables
1 Dalvin Cook Florida State 5' 11″, 213 lbs.
2 Leonard Fournette LSU 6' 1″, 235 lbs.
3 Christian McCaffrey Stanford 6' 0″, 197 lbs.
4 Royce Freeman Oregon 6' 0″, 229 lbs.
5 Curtis Samuel Ohio State 5' 11″, 197 lbs.
6 D'Onta Foreman Texas 6' 1″, 249 lbs.
7 Kareem Hunt Toledo 6' 0″, 225 lbs.
8 Alvin Kamara Tennessee 5' 10″, 215 lbs.
9 Nick Chubb Georgia 5' 10″, 228 lbs.
10 Wayne Gallman Clemson 6' 0″, 210 lbs.

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Could Cook and Fournette both land in the top 10? Unlikely, but don’t rule it out. As things stand right now, both should be off the board within the first 20 picks, if nothing else. Fournette is a bruising, 235-pound back you want to get moving north and south as much as possible, although he sees the field well and can break off a sharp cut. Cook is more of a do-everything back with deadly east-to-west abilities, yet he also has breakaway speed when he does get downhill. The Round 1 wild cards come behind them. McCaffrey and Samuel are electrifying chips that a creative coach could do wonders with, while Freeman and Foreman are more in the workhorse vein.

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