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Top Running Backs in 2024 NFL Draft

The 2024 NFL Draft is just around the corner, and with a little over a month to go until the first round kicks off in Detroit, there’s no better time than now to familiarize yourself with who NFL expert picks think your favorite team may draft.

However, free agency has also been abuzz this offseason, with many teams making moves in hopes of either building a championship-caliber team or rebuilding for the future. A good number of those splash signings involved some of free agency’s top available running backs, with those additions filling a void and creating new needs for teams in the NFL Draft.

Top Running Backs in 2024 NFL Draft
Jonathon Brooks #24 of the Texas Longhorns | Tim Warner/Getty Images/AFP

Though some teams may have found their starting running backs in free agency, other teams could still be in search of a backup or a pair of fresher legs. Running backs may not be quite as valued as they once were in the NFL Draft, no longer filling up first-round draft picks as they once did.

Still, there are plenty of producers in this year’s NFL Draft looking to boost a team’s backfield in the upcoming season and beyond. Although there is no clear-cut No. 1 running back choice like last year, there are a few who could make an impact this season, so let’s take a look at some of those top options before the draft begins in April.

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1. Jonathon Brooks, Texas

Bijan Robinson went in the top 10 out of Texas in last year’s draft, and Texas appears to have produced another top back this season in Jonathon Brooks. Though he was just a starter for one year, sitting behind Robinson, Brooks’ production took off in that third year as he rushed for 1,139 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Despite his one season as a starter, Brooks showed plenty with his quickness and ability to cut, making defenders miss and getting extra yardage. Brooks has enough speed to break into long runs, while he has shown an ability as a pass-catcher as well. With good awareness and solid change of direction, Brooks should develop into a solid starter at the next level.

2. Blake Corum, Michigan

Another one of the top prospects in this year’s draft, Corum was instrumental in the Wolverines winning the national championship last season and making it to the semifinal the previous season. Leading Michigan in both those seasons, Corum finished with at least 1,200 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns his last two seasons.

 

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Though he has average size, that clearly didn’t slow Corum’s production. He used that to his advantage, fitting into small holes to gain more yards, while he has strong balance to help him absorb contact as well. Through four years at Michigan, Corum developed an excellent vision and understanding of using the correct block while producing as a pass-catcher as well. Though his size may limit his potential, Corum’s talent should still help him succeed in the NFL.

3. Trey Benson, Florida State

Though his production may not jump out, Benson still finished with over 900 rushing yards and at least nine touchdowns in his two seasons with the Seminoles, averaging 6.4 and 5.8 yards per carry in each season.

Despite his great size (6-1, 220 pounds), Benson still has good speed, showing good explosiveness and acceleration in his final two seasons at Florida State. Benson also uses his size to his advantage, as he has good balance to keep running through contact while he improved his vision over his last two seasons as well. With good hands as a pass-catcher as well, Benson should find a home in the NFL as a three-down back.

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4. Jaylen Wright, Tennessee

Spending three years at Tennessee, Wright helped the Volunteers be one of the top offensive teams of 2023 and finish 10th in the nation in rushing yards. In his last season at Tennessee, Wright rushed for over 1,000 yards, doing so in 136 attempts to become the fastest Volunteer in history to do so.

With good size and explosive speed, Wright’s 7.4 yards per carry in 2023 led all running backs in the nation last season. Though he has speed that takes off when he hits the open field, Wright has also displayed patience to allow holes to develop and burst from there. A talented pass-catcher and an ability to shed defenders, Wright’s speed could see him as one of the earlier backs off the board as well.

5. Bucky Irving, Oregon

Irving’s production took off after transferring from Minnesota to Oregon following his freshman season. Though he led the Gophers his freshman season with 966 all-purpose yards as a true freshman, that was only the tip of the iceberg. He finished with over 1,000 rushing yards in his two seasons at Oregon, rushing for 11 touchdowns his final year.

Despite not having the size NFL scouts may be looking for, Irving made it work for him. His elusiveness and foot quickness helped him turn on a dime while his ability to shed blockers and maintain balance through contact earned him extra yardage as well. Irving also has good vision and can use his blocks well while his ball security is strong – he had just one fumble in 486 carries in college. As a reliable pass-catcher as well, Irving should be a solid backup option once he hits the next level.

Though these are just five running backs hoping to hear their name called in the 2024 Draft, there are still plenty more who could be drafted as well. With plenty of NFL Draft betting odds, don’t forget to make your NFL predictions on who may be taken first, last and more before the draft begins in April.

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Questions of the Day

When is the 2024 NFL Draft?


The draft will be held April 25-27.

Who is expected to be the top player selected in the draft?


USC’s Caleb Williams is the heavy favorite to be picked No. 1 overall

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