The timing of next year’s loaded rookie RB class couldn't be better. An updated look at SI's 2017 running back rankings and further scouting notes on the class.
This will come as no secret to anyone who has been paying attention, but the 2017 running back class has the potential to go down as an all-time great. Doesn’t mean it will, just that the talent is there if a few prospects translate their college stardom into NFL production. Todd Gurley set a high rookie bar back in 2015, and Ezekiel Elliott pushed it farther into the stratosphere this season. While it remains to be seen whether or not anyone in the ’17 class has that level of impact, a minimum of two running backs will go in Round 1. That number could rise before all is said and done.
|1||Dalvin Cook||Florida State||5' 10", 210 lbs.|
|2||Leonard Fournette||LSU||6' 0", 240 lbs.|
|3||Christian McCaffrey||Stanford||5' 11", 202 lbs.|
|4||Joe Mixon||Oklahoma||6' 1", 226 lbs.|
|5||Samaje Perine||Oklahoma||5' 11", 233 lbs.|
|6||D'Onta Foreman||Texas||6' 0", 233 lbs.|
|7||Alvin Kamara||Tennessee||5' 10", 214 lbs.|
|8||Jamaal Williams||BYU||6' 0", 212 lbs.|
|9||Kareem Hunt||Toledo||5' 10", 216 lbs.|
|10||Wayne Gallman||Clemson||6' 0", 215 lbs.|
|11||Donnel Pumphrey||San Diego St.||5' 8", 176 lbs.|
|12||James Conner||Pitt||6' 1", 233 lbs.|
|13||Jeremy McNichols||Boise State||5' 9", 214 lbs.|
|14||Elijah McGuire||Louisiana||5' 10", 214 lbs.|
|15||Marlon Mack||South Florida||5' 11", 213 lbs.|
Could Cook and Fournette both land in the top 10? Unlikely, but don’t rule it out. As things stand right now, both should be off the board within the first 20 picks, if nothing else. Fournette is a bruising back you want to get moving north and south as much as possible, although he sees the field well and can break off a sharp cut. Cook is more of a do-everything back with deadly east-to-west abilities, yet he also has breakaway speed when he does get downhill. The Round 1 wild cards come behind them. McCaffrey is an electrifying chip that could be produce massive numbers with a creative coordinator. Former teammates Perine and Mixon both have the look of potential No. 1 backs, although Mixon obviously has significant off-field questions to answer.
The middle rounds could wind up being a gold mine. Pumphrey is a Darren Sproles–like playmaker with excellent vision and burst. McGuire’s an under-the-radar name that also could step in and help as a rookie.