Free Fall For NFL Draft Running Backs? Daniel Jeremiah Does Not Expect a First-Round RB

Running backs might be waiting a while to hear their names called in the 2024 NFL Draft. Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah explains the potential RB nosedive.

It’s not the best time to be an NFL running back or RB prospect. Veteran backs are often left without much of a market once they reach free agency, and a deep 2024 class of FA runners could depress prices again this offseason.

And what about the 2024 NFL Draft? With no clear RB1 among this year’s crop, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah believes NFL teams will wait before sending in the card for a running back in April.

Daniel Jeremiah Says RBs Will Have To Wait on Draft Night

“I think Day 2 is gonna be the running back day,” Jeremiah said in a Thursday conference call. “I have a little bit of a theory here because I’ve got about six to eight running backs that are very closely graded.

“I don’t have any of them up to where we had Bijan (Robinson) or (Jahmyr) Gibbs last year with those types of grades. But six to eight really solid players.”

Robinson went eighth overall to the Atlanta Falcons in last year’s draft, while the Detroit Lions selected Gibbs at No. 12.

Before 2023, no NFL team had selected a running back higher than 24th overall since the New York Giants picked Saquon Barkley at No. 2 in 2018. The 2022 draft was the first since 2014 to feature zero Round 1 RBs.

This year, the lack of an obvious No. 1 back could enable teams to sit back and let RBs fall.

“I wonder if we’re gonna see a game of ‘chicken’ in the second round where teams start saying, ‘Well, we’ve got the grade to take this guy here, but we don’t want to be the first one in line. We just need to make sure we’re not the last one in line,'” Jeremiah said.

“So, does that push the running backs down? Maybe we could get to the bottom of the second — maybe even the top of the third — round. And then once the first (RB) goes, I think you’ll see all of these guys come off the board.”

Pro Football Network draft analyst Ian Cummings has Florida State’s Trey Benson as the first RB off the board in his most recent mock draft, sending the ex-Seminole to the Green Bay Packers with pick No. 58.

Jeremiah identified two favorite RBs among this year’s class — Tennessee’s Jaylen Wright and USC’s MarShawn Lloyd.

A late Day 2 prospect on PFN’s Big Board, Wright is “real springy and juicy,” per Jeremiah. “Stop-start quickness, home-run hitter, finishes runs. He can get skinny through the hole. Really, really quick feet.”

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Meanwhile, Jeremiah compared Lloyd to Philadelphia Eagles RB D’Andre Swift, calling the former Trojan “patient” and “explosive” while praising his attacking and aggressive run style.

All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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