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2019 NFL Draft: BTD’s Favorites - Running Backs

This year’s class doesn’t measure up to recent years, but there’s still plenty of players worth talking about.

NCAA Football: Florida Atlantic at Central Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2019 NFL Draft sitting just over a week away, we decided to take a look at some of our favorite prospects in the upcoming selection process from each different position group. Starting with defensive backs and ending with quarterbacks on Wednesday (the day before the 2019 NFL Draft begins), we’ll highlight some new players each day that we think you should keep an eye on.

The_Coach: Benny Snell (Kentucky)

A player who captivated the college football landscape as he anchored Kentucky’s rise to prominence, Wildcats running back Benny Snell was a mid-season Heisman contender who’s monster 2018 campaign put him squarely on NFL Draft boards. The biggest knock on Snell is that he’s an average level athlete overall, as he runs just a 4.66 forty-yard dash and has a 29.5 inch vertical jump. However, the 5’ 10”, 225-pound back didn’t let that stop him from rushing for 1,449 yards and 16 touchdowns, shattering the school’s rushing records along the way. Snell’s great ball security and consistency could give him long-term staying power at the next level.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Kentucky vs Penn State
Kentucky’s Benny Snell is rated out as the 10th best RB in the draft class by CBS Sports.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Provencher: Josh Jacobs (Alabama)

The consensus among draft analysts and NFL decision makers alike is that Josh Jacobs is this year’s top running back prospect. An amazing story, Jacobs was living in a car and motel rooms throughout high school. The determination to fight through that situation and produce at Alabama shows in his play. He’s a gritty, determined runner who doesn’t go down easily. He also has elite vision, and more than enough burst to harvest the value of his elite vision at the next level. Perhaps most importantly in today’s NFL, Jacobs is also a great receiving back. Alabama moved him all over the formation in college to get him open, and he had the hands and route running to be productive running a variety of routes.

The main knock on Jacobs is his lack of production in college. He saw just 299 touches during his time at Alabama, which is far less than most running back prospects. However, he was incredibly productive with the touches he did receive, averaging 5.9 yards per carry and scoring 14 touchdowns his senior year. In addition, running back is a physical position that wears down players’ bodies, and the lack of tread on his tires might actually help him stay productive for longer once he gets to the NFL.

Josh Jacobs receiving ability is a big part of what puts him at the top of this year’s running back class.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ross Parker: Miles Sanders (Penn State)

I cannot state this enough, Miles Sanders is going to be a star running back. This is nothing against the other backs, but Sanders possesses all the tools to become a dynamic top-5 back in the NFL. Now, it’s fair to question how I can have so much love for a guy who only has one year of starting experience, but hear me out. Sanders was a five-star prospect coming out of high school, and was forced to sit back-up behind this other guy from Penn State by the name of Saquon Barkley. Had Barkley not been on campus, Sanders would have started at least two full years at Penn State.

In his one year as the starting running back, Sanders amounted over 1,200 yards rushing to go with nine touchdowns. In addition to possessing an ideal frame to take the workload in the NFL, Sanders shows refined technique and athletic traits that will help him succeed. The only real complaint against Sanders is that he needs to clean up some fumbling issues. If he can fix that in the next level, he can become a big-time star in the league for the next decade.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Kentucky vs Penn State Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

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