Top Ten 2014 Draft Prospects: Running Back Edition
Learn About Tre Mason and Other Top 2014 NFL RB Prospects
2014 NFL Off-Season
After watching a slew of RBs show their stuff at the combine yesterday, it seemed appropriate to dedicate today’s rundown to the run. RBs are the workhorses of the NFL; these guys take a beating and (unless they’re named Adrian Peterson or Marshawn Lynch) don’t always get the credit that they deserve. This year’s RB class is fairly deep and, though the odds are against any of these players going in the first, I think quite a few of them have the potential to contribute in the pros.
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1. Ka’Deem Carey (Arizona) - Carey is an excellent RB; he tops this list thanks to amassing 3,814 yards and 42 touchdowns in the 2012-2013 college seasons. Carey has had some off-field behavioral issues, which may give some NFL front offices pause. However, Carey’s an incredible, athletic player and has excellent football instincts that simply can’t be taught.
2. Carlos Hyde (Ohio State) - Hyde is built like an NFL RB and will do well in a physical, tough pro offense (think anywhere in the NFC North.) Hyde has proven he is a powerful runner who isn’t easily tackled. If there is one thing Hyde can be criticized for, it’s that he hasn’t always played up to his potential; as long as he can find the motivation to work like an NFL-caliber RB needs to, Hyde is on-track for a successful career.
3. Tre Mason (Auburn) - Seeing Mason near the top of list shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Mason enjoyed an exceptional college career, including SEC Player of the Year honors in 2013. Mason isn’t as big as NFL scouts tend to like, but he runs like a larger guy. Mason’s special teams experience and ability to play well in the national spotlight will also make him attractive. My primary concern with Mason is his tendency to lose the ball; 8 fumbles in 2 seasons isn’t ideal.
4. Dri Archer (Kent State) - I already featured Archer here and I still like him after watching his combine performance yesterday. In fact, when Archer ran the 40, he clocked in at 4.29, which remains the number to beat among RBs. Clearly, Archer is fast; his 5’8, 175 pound frame is probably going to be the biggest concern for scouts. If Archer can remain healthy for more than a season or two, I think he has the potential to surprise fans and front offices alike.
5. Jeremy Hill (LSU) - Numbers don’t lie and Hill’s stats are great; in 2013, he rushed for 1,401 yards, which is second is LSU’s storied history and set an SEC record with 6.9 yards per carry. Hill, however, has had a myriad of off-field behavioral issues and is on probation until well into the summer of 2015. This is, obviously, problematic and is the reason that Hill is sitting at No. 5 on this list. His talent is obvious, but unless Hill can prove he’s cleaned-up his act, I’m not sure which NFL teams are going to want to risk taking him early.
6. Andre Williams (Boston College) - Williams, at 5’11 and 224 pounds, has decent size for an NFL RB and plays smart football. In 2013, Williams led the NCAA in rushing, so the momentum he gained during his senior season may be enough to raise his draft stock. One downside, though, is that Williams lacks creativity on the field, which makes him fairly easy for defenders to tackle.
7. Devonta Freeman (Florida State) - Freeman’s trademark is finding space where there is no space. Furthermore, Freeman made a number of challenging catches in his college career, during which he missed no games. Freeman has the potential to look better in the NFL than he did in the NCAA, so look for him to go in the late second round or the third round.
8. Terrance West (Towson) - West enjoyed 83 TDs and had 780 total carries in three seasons at Towson, though he did have 5 fumbles his junior year. West played hard in college, which could make some NFL scouts worry about his durability. All indicators are, though, that West has what it takes to become a sold pro RB.
9. Lache Seastruck (Baylor) - A likely fourth to six rounder, Seastrunk is fast and can create separation from defenders with relative ease. Baylor’s offense tends to open up wide running lanes, which undoubtedly aided Seastrunk’s production. NFL officials are sure to look at this issue before drafting him.
10. Charles Sims (West Virginia) - Sims is quick and has an impressive career average of over 10 yards per carry. Sims, however, is not an exceptional blocker and will be 24 years old during his rookie season in the NFL. These things will both concern the powers-that-be in NFL front offices. Sims will probably be a mid-rounder to a team that has a two RB scheme.