For the second straight season, no NFL team took a running back in the first round, and the trend seems to be one that won't go away anytime soon. This year, the class of running backs had to wait until the 54th pick to see one of their own come off the board.
Washington's Bishop Sankey is the man, and he's deserving of the honor. (Two running backs came off the board in the three picks after Sankey went to the Titans.) Sankey totaled 3,309 yards and 36 rushing touchdowns on 616 carries in 2012 and ’13, adding 61 receptions for 553 yards and a touchdown for good measure. Often underrated in an offense that was uneven at best, Sankey broke out in his junior campaign with 1,870 yards, which ranked fourth in the nation, and 20 touchdowns, which also ranked fourth. The 5-10, 209-pound Sankey impressed and excelled despite an offensive line that did him no favors and general inconsistency from quarterback Keith Price.
Grade: B+ Sankey has limitations as a bellwether back, because he doesn’t have the physical dominance that such backs must have to succeed over time in the NFL -- at the professional level, the running game is a war of attrition more than anything else. But he’s not a boom-or-bust player in the Chris Johnson mold, either -- Sankey can do more than one thing on the field, and in the right circumstances (an offense that switches its backs often and situationally), he’ll be a major contributor. Specifically, I believe that he could have a bigger impact as a receiver in the NFL, though his impact as a rusher might not be the same as it was on the collegiate level. But he's an aware player who keeps his eyes open and is always looking for opportunities to help his team.