NFL 2020 Draft: Top running back prospects

It’s that time of year again, folks, as the world get’s ready for the NFL 2020 draft amid one of the most uncertain climates in history.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the world and has seen all sport, from the NBA to the Premier League, brought to a standstill.

But NFL fans have been counting themselves fortunate that this crisis has hit during the off-season and are hoping things will stay on track for the start of the season in September.

Earlier this month, the NFL announced the draft would go ahead but would be completely virtual, with league staff, personnel and players communicating via digital means only.

READ MORE: NFL 2020 Draft will go ahead in virtual format

So, here at the Sports Despatch, we will be bringing you everything you need to know for the NFL 2020 draft which is set to take place between April 23 and 25.

Today, we will be taking you through the top running back prospects in this year’s draft.

NFL 2020 Draft top running back prospects

D’Andre Swift – Georgia
Height: 5’8″
Weight: 212lbs
40-yard time: 4.48 secs

From the school that brought us Todd Gurley and Sony Michel, D’Andre Swift lives up to his name.

Swift averaged 6.2 yards a carry for 1,216 yards and seven touchdowns in 2019. He also recorded 24 receptions for 216 yards and a touchdown on the passing game as well.

A tenacious runner with superb feet, vision and speed, Swift is a rare breed that has the potential to score whenever he touches the ball.

The 21-year-old is an athletic and agile running back who has incredible balance through contact and vision.

Swift is expected to go in rounds one or two and mock drafts have him going to the Kansas City Chiefs but the Ravens and Dolphins may also be potential landing spots.

Jonathan Taylor – Wisconsin
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 226lbs
40-yard time: 4.39 secs

Jonathan Taylor’s 40-yard dash time caused quite a buzz at this year’s combine and pundits began to talk of him as a game-changing back ready for the pros.

His size, speed and running ability make him a viable threat on the ground for opponents but his receiving skills leaves a lot to be desired.

Critics have pointed to his 17 career fumbles and his deficiencies as a pass protector for reducing his draft stock but his speed is undeniable.

In 2019, he averaged 6.3 yards per carry for 2,003 yards with 21 touchdowns.

To be fair to the guy, Taylor has really worked on his receiving skills and he put up 26 receptions for 252 yards and five touchdowns in his final year.

It will be interesting to see where he goes in the draft and could be one that slides if teams consider his receiver capabilities as a serious issue.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire – LSU
Height: 5’7″
Weight: 207lbs
40-yard time: 4.60 secs

Although small for a running back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire proved to be a well-rounded and dangerous player when he steps onto the field.

In 2019, he averaged 6.6 yards per carry for 1,414 yards with 16 touchdowns and proved productive through the air with 55 receptions for 453 yards and a score.

He has solid contact balance and can prove elusive to defenders when the ball is in his hands – in 2019 36 per cent of his carries were for first downs or touchdowns.

Edwards-Helaire does everything well including pass protection and looks ready to be a day one starter wherever he lands.

He is expected to in the second or third round of this year’s draft.

Cam Akers – Florida State
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 217lbs
40-yard secs: 4.47 secs

Akers averaged 5 yards per carry for 1,144 yards with 14 touchdowns in 2019 and put up 30 receptions for 225 yards plus four receiving touchdowns.

Pundits have often cited the shaky offensive line for the underwhelming figures – according to Pro Football Focus, he was forced to pick up 3.9 of his 4.9 yards per carry after contact.

This is largely why he is expected to go on day 2 of the draft but Akers has explosive speed and can change direction rapidly.

With the right coaching, he should develop into a well-rounded top running back.

J.K. Dobbins – Ohio State
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 210lbs
40-yard time: 4.50 secs

J.K. Dobbins showed dramatic improvement in his senior year at Ohio State and put up the second-most rushing yards of all time by a Buckeye.

Dobbins averaged 6.7 yards per carry in 2019 for 2,003 yards with 21 touchdowns while also catching 23 passes for 247 yards and two more touchdowns.

His ability in short-yardage and goal-line situations proved lethal – his 21 rushing touchdowns was the most by any RB in the Big Ten.

The 21-year-old has the size and strength to run through contact but he also has a lateral speed which, while not top gear, when combined with his ability to accelerate makes him a formidable back for defenders to contend with.

Expect Dobbins to go in the second round or early in the third round of this year’s draft.

So there you have it. Who do you think will be the top drafted running back in the NFL 2020 Draft?

Let us know by joining the discussion on our Facebook page.

Katie Feehan
Born in Yorkshire, Katie is a freelance journalist currently based in York. As a keen sports writer, Katie has a diploma in Multimedia Journalism from the Press Association and has worked on the busy Newcastle Chronicle sports desk. She has also written for Gateshead FC and contributed to various websites including HITC and Give Me Sport.

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