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    2024 NFL Draft RB Rankings: Top Players Include Trey Benson, Jonathon Brooks, and Will Shipley

    At his peak form, Trey Benson can be the RB1 in the 2024 NFL Draft, but Jonathon Brooks is close, and others like Dylan Laube are rising fast.

    The recent controversy over contracts for elite running backs has highlighted the importance of finding value deals at RB in the 2024 NFL Draft. Maximizing the value of a rookie contract is especially crucial for this position. Fortunately, the 2024 NFL Draft class could allow teams to do just that.

    Ranking the Top RBs in the 2024 NFL Draft

    10) Blake Watson, Memphis

    Blake Watson could end up being one of the most productive RB prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft — and at exceptional value. Originally from Old Dominion, Watson transferred to Memphis and accrued 1,152 yards and 14 touchdowns on 192 carries in 2023, and also caught 53 passes for 480 yards and three additional TDs.

    At 5’9 1/2″ and 200 pounds, Watson is a fluid, well-leveraged runner with great size-adjusted contact balance. His 4.4 40-yard dash, 41.5″ vertical, and 11’3″ broad jump reflect his speed and burst, yet his patience and agility as a runner is what lifts him up — and his receiving versatility sets him apart.

    9) Audric Estimé, Notre Dame

    Few RB prospects can say they improved their 2024 NFL Draft stock in 2023 more than Notre Dame’s Audric Estimé. After taking the full-time starting role, Estimé ran for 210 carries, 1,341 yards, and 18 touchdowns. He also caught 17 passes for 142 yards.

    At 5’11” and 221 pounds, Estimé is an absolute bowling ball in open space, whose hyper-elite contact balance allows him to easily churn through crowds. But he quietly has good vision, patience, and tempo control. And in a limited sample, he’s flashed receiving upside.

    8) Jaylen Wright, Tennessee

    If you want speed and running efficiency, Jaylen Wright might be your man in the polarizing 2024 NFL Draft class. Wright rushed for 1,013 yards at an absurd 7.4 yards-per-carry average in 2023, using his lightning-quick feet and vertical range to consistently produce.

    Wright still experiences lapses in vision at times, and at 5’11” and 210 pounds, he doesn’t quite have elite mass or contact balance. Yet, he’s a true change-of-pace back with volume upside, and his elite long speed is unique to him and him alone.

    7) Isaiah Davis, South Dakota State

    Our updated RB list for the 2024 NFL Draft includes one of the top overall FCS prospects in the class: South Dakota State’s Isaiah Davis.

    Over the past two seasons, Davis has accumulated 3,029 yards and 33 touchdowns while averaging over six yards per carry.

    Davis looks like your classic physical, downhill runner at 6’0″ and 220 pounds. He’s a forward-churning runner with great finishing ability, which will win over NFL scouts. But peel back the surface layers, and you’ll also see an impressively creative runner with energetic feet, adaptability, and sharp vision.

    6) Blake Corum, Michigan

    Few running backs were more productive than Blake Corum in 2022, and he somehow upped the ante in 2023 with 27 touchdowns on the ground.

    Corum may only be 5’8″, but he’s rocked up with an extremely dense 210-pound frame. At that size, he’s an urgent runner with good vision who can press upfield behind blocks before using his explosiveness and energy to divert into space.

    Corum’s passing-down utility is unclear, but his ability to take volume is impressive, even if he’s not a three-down back.

    Corum’s ranking falls a bit because of his unproven passing-down utility, as well as his advanced age at the RB spot. Still, he’s a potential top-100 talent who should get a chance to start at the NFL level.

    5) Bucky Irving, Oregon

    The Oregon Ducks have a loaded backfield for the 2024 NFL Draft. Bo Nix is a potential early-round pick at quarterback. Alongside him, Oregon can lay claim to Bucky Irving, a talented runner who eclipsed 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons from 2022 to 2023.

    Irving logged 1,180 yards and 11 touchdowns at 6.3 yards per carry in 2023. He also caught an impressive 56 passes for 413 yards and two touchdowns.

    Whenever you watch Irving, it’s clear: He plays with a different kind of urgency and energy.

    At 5’9″, 192 pounds, he’s not the most imposing back upon initial viewing, but Irving catches defenders off guard repeatedly with his spry short-area agility and dangerous elusiveness in space. For his size, he’s surprisingly physical, with the contact balance to bounce off solo tackles.

    4) Dylan Laube, New Hampshire

    For my money, New Hampshire’s Dylan Laube is one of the most underrated RB prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.

    Not only did he run for 749 yards and nine touchdowns on 160 carries in 2023, but Laube also caught 68 passes for 699 yards and seven additional scores — including an outing against Central Michigan in which he hauled in 12 catches for 295 yards.

    Then, Laube went to the Senior Bowl and was one of the best running backs there. And then, he tested with elite explosiveness, agility, and strength at 5’10”, 210 pounds.

    Laube is the new mold of NFL running back, with the ability to take on volume in multiple phases.

    3) Will Shipley, Clemson

    There’s not a back who benefited more from the NFL’s further adoption of spread concepts than Will Shipley. He’s a crafty, nuanced runner who would be a solid player even with worse athleticism, but he brings high-level quickness and fluidity anyway.

    Shipley showed off some of that ability in amassing 210 carries for 1,182 yards and 15 scores in 2022. Injuries prevented him from maintaining his high-level production in 2023, but the talent and versatility are still apparent.

    MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Industry Consensus Big Board

    Shipley is a snappy runner with rare short-area instincts who can dart back and forth between minuscule lanes on his way to the second level. His hip flexibility is absurd, but Shipley doubles as a stellar athlete and a versatile receiving threat.

    2) Jonathon Brooks, Texas

    It wasn’t a guarantee that Jonathon Brooks would declare for the 2024 NFL Draft after tearing his ACL late in the 2023 season, but his 212 total touches, 1,425 total yards, and 11 total touchdowns were good enough to parlay into an early departure for the pros.

    At 6’0″and 216 pounds, the 20-year-old Brooks is an explosive second-level slasher who doubles as a high-level creator in tight spaces and an exceptional receiving threat. Assuming he can return to 100%, he’ll be in high demand in the 2024 NFL Draft.

    Who Is the Best RB in the NFL Draft?

    1) Trey Benson, Florida State

    Volume backs will never go extinct in totality, even as the NFL trends more toward a modern, more dynamic era.

    Teams pass to get the lead, and they run to stay ahead. Having a back who can jointly shoulder the load and generate big plays like Trey Benson is extremely valuable.

    In 2023, Benson rumbled for 905 yards and 14 scores and caught 20 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown.

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    He’s a 6’0″, 216-pound runner who has a tendency to run upright at times. However, Benson is skilled at quickly navigating through seams as a north/south runner and can explode downfield with his 4.39 vertical speed.

    Benson’s foot speed and micro-mobility impress within his long-strider mold, and in a limited sample, he’s shown off exciting receiving upside. Of the backs in the 2024 NFL Draft, Benson has the best chance to be a true three-down workhorse.

    Honorable Mentions

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