SI 300 Rankings: RB

April 20, 2015

They say the running back position is dying. Tell that to this stacked group WITH 2014 STATS

16 TODD GURLEY

GEORGIA (6'1", 222 LBS.)

911 yards / 9 TDs

PROS

Rare combo of power, speed. Most backs his size can't hit the edge with his acceleration and second gear. Patient behind blocks outside; can hit top speed in a flash.

CONS

Medicals will be a major issue. Not especially agile in short spaces. Needs to be more exact in his blocking.

NFL COMP

Adrian Peterson

23 MELVIN GORDON

Wisconsin (6'1", 215 lbs.)

2,587 yards / 29 TDs

PROS

Accelerates to top speed quickly; effective on draws, delays. Home run potential whenever he hits his gap.

CONS

Too many zero- or negative-yard carries.

NFL COMP

Jamaal Charles

42 AMEER ABDULLAH

Nebraska (5'9", 205 lbs.)

1,611 yards / 19 TDs

PROS

Outstanding speed, acceleration. Runs low and forward to pick up extra yards between the tackles.

CONS

Struggles in power situations; won't add weight.

NFL COMP

Andre Ellington

49 JAY AJAYI

Boise State (6'0", 221 lbs.)

1,823 yards / 28 TDs

PROS

Outstanding balance and jump-cut ability outside; moves between two gaps in time it takes others to hit one.

CONS

Loses yardage looking too hard for bigger gaps.

NFL COMP

Darren McFadden

57 DUKE JOHNSON

MIAMI (5'9", 207 LBS.)

1,652 yards / 10 TDs

PROS

Outstanding acceleration: Ran a 4.54 40 at the combine but is much faster on the field. True one-cut-and-go runner.

CONS

Limited against inside contact; struggles to create in short spaces.

NFL COMP

Reggie Bush

71 TEVIN COLEMAN

Indiana (5'11", 206 lbs.)

2,036 yards / 15 TDs

PROS

Speed and agility to bounce outside quickly. Great jump-cut runner; fakes defenders in space.

CONS

Not a creator when limited between tackles.

NFL COMP

Chris Johnson

76 DAVID COBB

Minnesota (5'11", 229 lbs.)

1,626 yards / 13 TDs

PROS

Built to last (552 carries past two years). Runs through tackles with regularity; could be a short-yardage option.

CONS

Minimal ability to turn the corner, break long runs.

NFL COMP

Toby Gerhart

77 T.J. YELDON

Alabama (6'1", 226 lbs.)

979 yards / 11 TDs

PROS

Powerful, muscular one-cut runner hits holes decisively. Potentially dominant blocker.

CONS

Tends to run too high. Relied heavily on an expert run-blocking line.

NFL COMP

Ahman Green

79 MIKE DAVIS

South Carolina (5'9", 217 lbs.)

982 yards / 9 TDs

PROS

Compact frame; ability to get low in his runs and plow through first contact.

CONS

Decelerates as he makes his cuts.

NFL COMP

Terrance West

107 DAVID JOHNSON

Northern Iowa (6'1", 224 lbs.)

1,553 yards / 17 TDs

PROS

Durable despite a heavy college workload. Almost always falls forward upon contact. Sharp with his cuts.

CONS

See above: 1,000-plus college touches. Upright running style.

NFL COMP

Rashad Jennings

131 JAVORIUS ALLEN

USC (6'0", 221 lbs.)

1,489 yards / 11 TDs

PROS

Excellent slashing runner with ability to work inside or outside tackle box.

CONS

Bad habit of abandoning designed path of a run.

NFL COMP

Bernard Pierce

144 CAMERON ARTIS-PAYNE

Auburn (5'10", 212 lbs.)

1,608 yards / 13 TDs

PROS

Known for his patience, as he consistently waits for his blocks to materialize rather than forcing the issue.

CONS

Not especially explosive; struggles to break free in the open field.

NFL COMP

Ahmad Bradshaw

147 JEREMY LANGFORD

Michigan State (6'0", 208 lbs.)

1,522 yards / 22 TDs

PROS

Versatile enough to play three downs. More reactive than instinctive; sees daylight and goes. Solid receiver.

CONS

Not consistently effective after contact.

NFL COMP

Tre Mason

158 JALSTON FOWLER

Alabama (5'11", 254 lbs.)

69 yards / 0 TDs

PROS

Big, bruising fullback also has above-average hands and a tailback's ability to read his blocking.

CONS

Lacks fluidity as a blocker; has issues moving bigger linemen on short yardage.

NFL COMP

Jerome Felton

166 MATT JONES

FLORIDA (6'2", 231 LBS.)

817 yards / 6 TDs

PROS

Patient runner; keeps shoulders square to the line. Wields a wicked stiff-arm.

CONS

Doesn't possess great feel or vision. Consistently misses cutback lanes. No second gear.

NFL COMP

Alex Green

177 TYLER VARGA

Yale (5'11", 222 lbs.)

1,423 yards / 22 TDs

PROS

Physical traits to switch from RB to FB, where most teams see him. Powerful upper body, strong legs.

CONS

Needs to be rebuilt techniquewise.

NFL COMP

Sam Gash

194 TREY WILLIAMS

Texas A&M (5'7", 195 lbs.)

560 yards / 7 TDs

PROS

Has the kind of wiggle and make-you-miss ability you want in a player this size, plus the short-area burst to explode through openings.

CONS

Has a tendency to dance too much; will overcut.

NFL COMP

David Palmer

197 KARLOS WILLIAMS

Florida State (6'1", 230 lbs.)

689 yards / 11 TDs

PROS

Tall for an RB but shows great burst despite frame. Tremendous top speed; unafraid of contact.

CONS

Hesitant hitting the hole. Too often runs upright.

NFL COMP

Alfred Blue

198 DOMINIQUE BROWN

Louisville (6'2", 234 lbs.)

378 yards / 4 TDs

PROS

Excellent feel for zone-scheme runs. Innate ability to know where cutback lane will be. Good open-field vision; sees how blocks will play out.

CONS

For a big body, rarely puts hurt on defenders.

NFL COMP

Najeh Davenport

208 JOSH ROBINSON

MISSISSIPPI ST. (5'8", 217 LBS.)

1,203 yards / 11 TDs

PROS

Earned the nickname Bowling Ball for his ability to bounce off defenders and extend plays.

CONS

Only one year of starting under his belt.

NFL COMP

Branden Oliver

209 MALCOLM BROWN

Texas (5'11", 224 lbs.)

708 yards / 6 TDs

PROS

Tough inside runner with good instincts in tight spaces. Will fight for extra yards, use upper body to break tackles.

CONS

Lacks open-field speed and dynamic moves.

NFL COMP

Terrance West

216 DEE HART

Colorado State (5'7", 199 lbs.)

1,275 yards / 16 TDs

PROS

Impressive footwork: light and spry. Adept at finding and poking holes in the D.

CONS

Atypical size for an NFL back. Put up weak performances against stronger teams in '14.

NFL COMP

Darren Sproles

231 TERRENCE MAGEE

LSU (5'8", 213 lbs.)

571 yards / 3 TDs

PROS

Briefly played WR; catches the ball naturally with his hands. Stout runner who can be difficult to tackle. He'll put his shoulder into you.

CONS

Experience: Started just one game at RB.

NFL COMP

Dan Herron

256 CONNOR NEIGHBORS

LSU (5'11", 229 lbs.)

0 yards / 0 TDs

PROS

Opened lanes for future NFLers. Smart fullback with good instincts and strong footwork. Can contribute as a pass catcher.

CONS

Very few chances to prove he could carry the ball at LSU: three total carries.

NFL COMP

Derrick Coleman

277 MICHAEL DYER

Louisville (5'8", 218 lbs.)

481 yards / 5 TDs

PROS

Compact, downhill runner; precise cuts. Embraces contact for extra yardage.

CONS

Red flags: three schools, myriad team violations.

NFL COMP

Justin Forsett

281 JOHN CROCKETT

North Dakota State (6'0", 217 lbs.)

1,994 yards / 21 TDs

PROS

Speed and shiftiness to make tacklers miss in open field. Productive passing target.

CONS

Upright runner; susceptible to arm and diving tackles.

NFL COMP

Vick Ballard

282 KENNY HILLIARD

LSU (6'0", 226 LBS.)

447 yards / 6 TDs

PROS

Stout, hard-running short-yardage weapon with body type to absorb, dole out contact.

CONS

Lacks breakaway speed: 4.83 40 at combine.

NFL COMP

Ronnie Brown

290 JAHWAN EDWARDS

Ball State (5'9", 220 lbs.)

1,252 yards / 12 TDs

PROS

Surprising quickness in the open field belies his 4.80 40 in Indy. Uses strong lower body to keep balance, shake off arm tackles.

CONS

Patient—almost to the point of indecisiveness.

NFL COMP

Michael Turner

291 MARCUS MURPHY

Missouri (5'8", 193 lbs.)

924 yards / 4 TDs

PROS

Elite return man consistently flashes game-breaking speed. Not afraid of contact.

CONS

Too small to fight off tacklers regularly inside.

NFL COMP

David Wilson

2014 FBS rushing leader

MELVIN GORDON 2,587 YARDS

Top 40 time at combine

JEREMY LANGFORD 4.42

PHOTOAL TIELEMANS FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED PHOTOJOEL AUERBACH/GETTY IMAGES (JOHNSON) PHOTOJOHN RAOUX/AP (JONES) PHOTOSIMON BRUTY FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED PHOTODAVID E. KLUTHO FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
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