NFL Scouting Combine: Running Backs

The Draftster has your NFL Scouting Combine coverage for each positional group throughout the weekend. Check this page to catch up with anything you may have missed.

The on-field drills for the NFL Scouting Combine got kicked off today with offensive linemen, running backs and special teams players. The 2017 running back class is being heralded as one of the best in recent memory and today they backed that up. Players who will be taken in rounds three or four would most likely have been second or even first rounders in other years. Overall it was a very good day for the running backs as nobody really hurt their stock when it was all said and done. The 40 times today were the biggest knock as only one player ran under 4.4 and that was North Carolina’s TJ Logan who ran a 4.37. The next fastest was Joe Williams‘ 4.41 from Utah.

Three names that stick out as the biggest winners after the on-field drills were Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey. Everyone knew that McCaffrey was a threat in the passing game but his performance in the drills was more impressive than expected. Every ball thrown his way was caught and his routes will make some wide receivers look bad. They were crisp and on point every time and he did not round any. He also proved his lateral movement as a ball carrier is NFL worthy.

Kamara’s day showed he is one of the better athletes among the running back group. He had the best broad jump and vertical jump. He also performed very well in the pass catching drills. He looked so natural coming out of the backfield in the pass catching drills and looked like a first rounder today.

Leonard Fournette also had a good day as he proved he carries 240 pounds very well and it is not an issue. There were a lot of talk about Fournette being heavier than his college playing weight and that it may cause some issues with his stock. However he ran a 4.5 in the 40 yard dash and also moved very fluidly in his routes and the rest of the on-field drills. He struggled making clean catches but nobody expected him to really outperform anyone in that drill anyway.

It is hard to say who the biggest “losers’ are after today because nobody really went out and underwhelmed anyone. However Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine‘s day was a little disappointing. He struggled with making clean catches and his 40 time was 4.65 seconds. In today’s NFL running backs with speed and are threats in the passing game are coveted more than the thumpers or the third down backs. Do not be surprised if the other Sooner running back gets taken before Perine.

Another name that didn’t necessarily do poorly but didn’t blow anyone out of the water was Clemson’s Wayne Gallman. He was just kind of there and every time he was shown doing drills it was a reminder that he was there. I expected more out of Gallman today. He only ran a 4.6 in the 40 yard dash, had 21 repetitions on the bench press and did not wow anyone with his jumps.

Like I said this running back class performed really well overall and proved they are one of the deepest classes we have seen in a while. There are guys who will be taken later in the draft that will find a role on an NFL team like Toledo’s Kareem Hunt and San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey. April’s NFL draft will be one of the more exciting we have witnessed and we have this potentially historic running back class to thank for that.

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