The NFL Draft is knocking on the door. All-star games and the NFL Combine have been completed, leaving only a small batch of pro days between us and the annual selection event. As the 2022 NFL Draft nears, here are Pro Football Network’s top 10 running backs in the class.
Top 10 Running Backs in the 2022 NFL Draft
The top of the running back class has remained largely the same since the beginning of the year. Yet, the back end of the group is an interesting cast of characters.
10) Tyler Goodson, Iowa
After three years of steadily increasing production at Iowa, Tyler Goodson shined at the NFL Combine. He ran a 4.42 40-yard dash and recorded a 36.5″ vertical and 10’3″ broad. At 5’9″ and 197 pounds, Goodson is far from a power back and won’t gain many yards after contact. Still, his receiving ability (70 career receptions), quick feet, and explosiveness will receive looks in the NFL Draft.
9) Tyler Badie, Missouri
Tyler Badie was one of the biggest Senior Bowl risers. He is on the smaller side at 5’8″ and 197 pounds, but he flashed impressive receiving ability during the all-star game practices. He runs with clear passion and projects as a stellar three-down back. While he may not be much more — though I believe he could handle an increase in carries — Badie is worthy of a Day 3 selection.
8) Rachaad White, Arizona State
Rachaad White is a menace in space and can beat defenders to the edge. He’s also a proven weapon in the receiving game, hauling in 43 of 48 targets for 456 yards last season. White can be tight-hipped and lacks some lateral agility, but there is enough explosiveness there (38″ vertical, 10’5″ broad) to warrant a look.
7) Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama
The next Alabama running back to come down the pipeline, Brian Robinson Jr. exploded in his first year as the starter. He rushed for 1,343 yards and 14 TDs without a fumble in 2021, breaking tackles left and right. At 6’2″ and 225 pounds, Robinson is a powerful short-yardage back who runs well behind his pads. With improved technique, he can be stout as a pass blocker, increasing his snaps on the field.
6) James Cook, Georgia
Need a home-run hitter? Draft James Cook. He is the prototypical change-of-pace/scatback who can dismantle linebackers as a receiver. He may be the younger brother of the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook, but James made a name for himself on Georgia’s national championship-winning squad. Although he won’t power through tackles or pass block often, Cook’s receiving prowess and big-play ability will be sought-after skills.
5) Tyler Allgeier, BYU
A former linebacker, Tyler Allgeier plays with physicality, toughness, and hustle that coaches will love. The BYU RB is a well-built 5’11” and 224 pounds and possesses excellent vision. He is also strong in pass protection, routinely providing time by picking up blitzers 1-on-1 and helping the OL. Still, Allgeier isn’t going to outrun DBs or force a ton of missed tackles in the open field.
4) Jerome Ford, Cincinnati
At 5’10 1/2″ and 210 pounds, Jerome Ford ran a solid 4.46 40-yard dash at the Combine. The NFL size and speed are there, and he has a lot of tread left on the tires after just 319 career carries. Ford isn’t incredibly creative or instinctual, but he has soft hands as a receiver. While he produced most with Cincinnati, Ford transferred from Alabama and continues the trend of former Crimson Tide RBs heading to the NFL.
3) Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M
All the talk about Isaiah Spiller surrounds his reportedly rough pro day performance. Nevertheless, the tape shows an RB with three-down traits and potential. He is an easy mover for a 6’0″, 217-pound running back. While Spiller can grow into a better pass blocker and receiver, he can hold his own in any role in the NFL.
2) Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State
Kenneth Walker III blew up at Michigan State after starting his career with Wake Forest. He took 263 carries for 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2021, torching every defense that lined up across from him. He displayed his raw athleticism in Indianapolis, generating a 4.38 40 time, 34″ vertical, and 10’2″ broad.
However, Walker has limited experience as a receiver (19 career catches) and lacks ability in pass protection. But he may be the best pure runner of the football in the class and is dynamic with the ball in his hands.
1) Breece Hall, Iowa State
While Walker is a worthy challenger, Breece Hall currently sits atop the 2022 NFL Draft running back class. He owns the coveted collegiate production, having rushed for 1,400+ yards and 20+ touchdowns in each of the last two seasons. Additionally, Hall sprinted to a 4.39 40 time at 5’11” and 217 pounds and posted an astounding 40″ vertical.
Hall ran behind a less-than-ideal offensive line at Iowa State, and that experience will benefit him in the NFL. He flashed excellent body control and balance and profiles as a bell cow at the next level.