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    Running Backs Drafted in 2023 NFL Draft

    Which running backs were selected in the 2023 NFL Draft, and how did the top-drafted players perform in their rookie seasons?

    The 2023 NFL Draft saw 259 players hear their names called. Which running backs did we see drafted in 2023, and which teams selected them? Let’s take a look at the full list below.

    Which Running Backs Were Drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft?

    Bijan Robinson, Texas | Atlanta Falcons

    Round 1, Pick 8
    It takes a special running back prospect to command Round 1 interest. To be mentioned in the top-10 conversation, you have to be even better than that. Robinson was in that tier as a prospect.

    The term “generational talent” is often thrown around a bit too haphazardly. When it came to Robinson, it was warranted.

    Unfortunately, Robinson’s rookie season did not quite live up to the hype. He averaged a respectable 4.6 yards per carry and totaled 1,463 yards from scrimmage. Those numbers are far from bad, but not quite what we expected from a talent like Robinson.

    The good news is Robinson’s talent was evident every time he touched the ball. We can attribute his underwhelming production to the professional malpractice of the Falcons’ former head coach Arthur Smith.

    With more competent leadership provided by Raheem Morris and Zac Robinson, combined with Kirk Cousins being a massive upgrade at quarterback, Robinson’s performance in 2024 should resemble that of a running back taken with a top-10 pick.

    Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama | Detroit Lions

    Round 1, Pick 12
    The positional value of running backs will always tip the scales of valuation when the draft comes around. But on Cummings’ board, Gibbs was a top-25 prospect and one of two running backs in the top tier at the position — with the other being Texas’ Bijan Robinson.

    At 5’9″, 199 pounds, Gibbs is somewhat undersized and won’t ever be an elite threat against contact. But he does have solid density for his size, and his game is ultimately predicated on his elite twitch, agility, supremely loose hips, flexibility on his cuts, and his ability to explode upfield after levying cuts with lightning-quick feet.

    As a rookie, Gibbs validated Cummings’ assessment of his abilities. Gibbs averaged 5.2 yards per carry and amassed 1,261 yards from scrimmage. He also scored 11 touchdowns (10 on the ground), despite David Montgomery being the clear goal-line back. Gibbs quickly established himself as one of the best running backs in the league.

    Zach Charbonnet, UCLA | Seattle Seahawks

    Round 2, Pick 52

    It was a strange decision by the Seattle Seahawks to select Zach Charbonnet in the second round. Then again, no team has invested more draft capital in the running back position since 2012.

    Charbonnet spent his entire rookie season behind Kenneth Walker III. That limited Charbonnet to 108 carries and 671 total yards from scrimmage.

    When on the field, Charbonnet averaged a solid 4.3 yards per carry. During his two games as the starter while Walker was hurt, Charbonnet proved capable of being a lead back.

    However, it does not appear as though he is a serious threat to taking Walker’s job. Charbonnet will need an injury if he is to produce significantly better in his second season.

    Kendre Miller, TCU | New Orleans Saints

    Round 3, Pick 71

    During his three-year career at TCU, Kendre Miller had 2,410 rushing yards on 361 carries, finding the end zone 26 times. He also had 29 receptions for 229 yards and a single touchdown.

    Sadly, Miller’s rookie year in the NFL couldn’t really have gone much worse. Injuries limited him to just eight games. He carried the ball a mere 41 times for 156 yards while adding 10 receptions for 117 yards.

    Tyjae Spears, Tulane | Tennessee Titans

    Round 3, Pick 81

    The Titans drafted Tyjae Spears to provide an ideal complement to Derrick Henry. Spears’ receiving ability was on full display as a rookie. He caught 52 of 70 targets for 385 yards and a touchdown.

    Spears was also quite effective on the ground. Henry’s presence limited him to only 100 carries, but he averaged 4.5 yards per carry. Now sharing a backfield with Tony Pollard, Spears will undoubtedly see more work as a sophomore, but it remains to be seen if he will ever emerge as a lead back at the NFL level.

    De’Von Achane, Texas A&M | Miami Dolphins

    Round 3, Pick 84

    De’Von Achane’s size isn’t ideal, but he sure knows how to use it well. Along with vision comes patience, another one of Achane’s strong suits. If one gap closes, he patiently anticipates when a new one will open. This was on full display in his explosive rookie season which saw him lead the league with 7.8 yards per carry.

    Achane struggled to stay healthy, playing in just 11 games. But in those games, he he proved to be an incredibly dynamic player with game-breaking upside. With another year of experience, he should be even better in 2024.

    Tank Bigsby, Auburn | Jacksonville Jaguars

    Round 3, Pick 88

    Scouting is an exact science. Sometimes, we get it wrong. Describing Tank Bigsby as a fleet-footed runner with elite start and stop ability and possessing a mix of vision and creative instincts did not prove to be accurate during his rookie season.

    It’s one thing to fail to produce because a player is trapped behind an established starter like Travis Etienne. It’s another thing to perform so poorly so quickly that your team benches you for a 27-year-old former UDFA.

    Bigsby’s rookie season was nothing short of an abomination. He carried the ball 50 times for a mere 132 yards. That’s 2.9 yards per carry. Bigsby was also a complete zero in the passing game, catching just one ball all year.

    It’s still early, and he has time to turn things around, but it sure looks as though the Jaguars wasted a pick on the Auburn running back.

    Rounds 4-7

    8) Roschon Johnson, Texas
    Round 4, Pick 115 | Bears

    9) Israel Abanikanda, Pittsburgh
    Round 5, Pick 143 | Jets

    10) Chase Brown, Illinois
    Round 5, Pick 163 | Bengals

    11) Eric Gray, Oklahoma
    Round 5, Pick 172 | Giants

    12) Evan Hull, Northwestern
    Round 5, Pick 176 | Colts

    13) Chris Rodriguez Jr., Kentucky
    Round 5, Pick 193 | Commanders

    14) Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State
    Round 6, Pick 212 | Cowboys

    15) Zach Evans, Mississippi
    Round 6, Pick 215 | Rams

    16) DeWayne McBride, UAB
    Round 7, Pick 222 | Vikings

    17) Lew Nichols, Central Michigan
    Round 7, Pick 235 | Packers

    18) Kenny McIntosh, Georgia
    Round 7, Pick 237 | Seahawks

    KEEP READING: WRs Drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft

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