Running backs racing to the 2020 NFL Draft

NFL teams are always looking for new running backs. The position has a relatively short shelf life, and the natural versatility of the position grants great value in the modern NFL.

Several collegiate running backs had standout performances on Saturday, perhaps none more than Oklahoma running back Kennedy Brooks, who outperformed Oklahoma State star Chuba Hubbard in a head-to-head. As our own Nick Farabaugh noted in the blog’s 10:40 PM edit, Brooks represents the impressive depth of this running back class:

“This running back class is already a solid bunch among the underclassmen, and they can create some serious depth that bleeds well into day three for this running back class. Kennedy Brooks is one of those names that makes it clear why there is so much depth in this class. Brooks has outperformed Chuba Hubbard tonight as he has 168 rushing yards for a touchdown tonight. Brooks has burst and vision when he is running, but by far his best trait is his contact balance. 

With a will not go down and continuously fighting for more yards every time he gets his hands on the football, Brooks has a mindset that NFL teams will love. He continues to prove that he could have a very bright future in the NFL with each passing week.”

Brooks wasn’t the only prospect to turn heads with his play in Week 14. Follow along as we browse through some updates regarding the draft’s ball carriers. Here, in his 5:37 PM edit, A.J. Schulte details Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, his growth as a receiver, and his ascent up the NFL draft board.

Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor has been rather limited today with only 50 rushing yards on 13 carries, but he’s up to 39 receiving yards on two catches, including a tough touchdown on a wheel route earlier. The Wisconsin OL has been struggling to give him much of a lane, as Minnesota has stacked the box. Credit to Wisconsin for finding ways to get him involved as a receiver. One of his biggest knocks coming into the season was his lack of plays as a receiver. Safe to say he’s answering those questions this season. I’m a huge fan, and he is my RB2 behind Georgia’s D’Andre Swift.”

The prestige of the 2020 NFL Draft isn’t reserved to FBS prospects, either; FCS prospects such as Illinois State’s James Robinson have also burst onto the scene, as Schulte documented in his 3:24 PM edit:

“At the FCS level, Illinois State running back James Robinson is playing in the first round of the FCS playoffs. He’s at 188 yards and a touchdown already at halftime, and it looks like he will continue to get more carries as the game goes on. He’s a power-style running back who displays good quickness in short areas. He’s a Shrine Game invitee and could work his way into a running back committee at the next level.”

Robinson finished the contest with 297 yards on a whopping 41 carries. Scott Gorman wrote earlier in the season that Robinson has the potential to be the next David Johnson; an overlooked FCS running back who goes on to carve out a premier role at the next level. He’s just one of the many NFL-ready talents at running back in the 2020 NFL Draft.