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Breaking Down The 2024 NFL Running Back Draft Class.

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

This year's class from a top-to-bottom point of view is one of the deepest classes in recent memory. There are many traditional backs and some lighter scat backs that you can line up anywhere on the field. Now let's get into the breakdown and rankings of the 2024 running back class.


Running-Back Rankings


1. TreyVon Henderson, Ohio State, 5-10, 214


Strengths:

- Patience as a runner: You turn on his tape and notice his patience as a ball carrier. He's never in a hurry and always waits for his line to pave the way.

- Burst out of the backfield is second to none. He has an initial burst and lateral quickness that is unmatched at the college level.

- He's a natural pass-catching back. He's a weapon in the screen game and knows how to set up defenders on the wheel route.

- His speed is unreal. Even when a defender gets an angle on him he still outruns the angle. That takes a special athlete.

- He has good field vision and picks the correct lane to burst through.

- He's an aggressive runner and seeks contact with his low pad level.


Weaknesses:

- Overall pass protection.

- Doesn't create much separation on routes.

- Doesn't offer much in the run-blocking department.


Overall

- TreyVon Henderson seems to be the next first-round running back out of the long line of Ohio State. If I had to guess because of the way the NFL views running backs now he will go anywhere in the twenty to thirty range of the NFL Draft. Wherever he ends up they will be getting a difference-maker and game-breaker at the tailback position.


Draft Grade: First Round


2. Raheim Sanders, Arkansas, 6-2, 227


Strengths

- Has good vision and ability to read the lanes before they open.

- Has the build and toughness to develop in the pass pro game.

- Can be used in the screen game.

- A true north/south runner who doesn't waste any yardage.

- Crafty in the open field to be 227.

- Push the pile in short-yardage situations.


Weaknesses:

- Not exactly elusive. More of a run-through than go around you.

- Needs to develop as an overall pass threat out of the backfield.

- Doesn't create separation in the route tree.


Overall

- Overall Sanders' is the every down back that is needed in today's NFL. There's not any major weakness in his game and he looks to be a lock to be a late first early second pick in next year's NFL Draft.


Draft Grade: First Round


3. Braelon Allen, Wisconsin, 6-2, 235


Strengths:

- Weapon with the ball in his hands. Playmaker from all over the field.

- He's a freak athlete. At 235 pounds he can power clean 406, squat 610, and bench presses 365. He also ran a 1.49 10-yard split.

- Runs through arm tackles. To get this guy down you have to fully wrap up and usually, one defender isn't enough to bring him down.

- Fights for additional yardage and is a reliable short yardage back.


Weaknesses:

- Doesn't have the ability to play out as a wide receiver in the passing game.

- Needs to turn up the field quicker after the catch.


Overall

There's a reality by the time we get closer to the NFL Draft he could be my RB1 in this year's draft class. If he can stay healthy and develop more as receiving back out wide then he has all the potential to be the first running back drafted in the 2024 class.


Draft Grade: First Round


4. Blake Corum, Michigan, 5-8, 210


Strengths:

- Overall quickness and speed.

- Patience as a runner, lets his linemen set up blocks before he hits the hole.

- Shifty in the open field.

- Can be used in the quick pass game.

- Falls forward even with a smaller frame.


Weaknesses:

- Due to his smaller frame he's not a good pass blocker.

- Inside run game. His 5-8, 210-pound frame doesn't give him much ability to run in the teeth of the defense.


Overall:

Corum is a big play threat from anywhere on the field. You turn on his tape and see an explosive offensive weapon that can be a rotation back in the NFL. He's not gonna be a running back that you can play every down because of his lack of pass protection and interior run game ability.


Draft Grade: Second Round


5. Will Shipley, Clemson, 5-11, 205


Strengths:

- Pass catching back out of the backfield.

- Quick feet and speed.

- He's improving as a patient runner.

- Ability as a return man.

- Overall vision for the field.

- Shifty in space.

Weaknesses:

- Frame isn't that of an every-down running back.

- Most of his yardage came from outside the box. Unknown if he can be used in between the tackles.


Overall:

- Shipley is a playmaker that knows how to set up running lanes and is a threat in the return game. He needs to improve as a runner between the tackles and build on his frame to become an every-down back at the next level.


Draft Grade: Third Round


6. Trey Benson, Florida State, 6-1, 215


Strengths:

- Vision as a runner and finding a cut-back lane.

- Speed and quickness.

- Elusive in the open field.

- Run blocker and pass protection.

- Ability in the screen game.


Weaknesses:

- Patience as a runner. Letting blocks set up.

- Pad level, runs higher than you'd like.


Overall:

- Has everything you'd like in a rotation back at the next level. Strong runner with speed and quickness in the open field. If he can develop patience as a runner and fix his pad level he can be a positive starter in the NFL for a franchise.


Draft Grade: Third Round


7. Donovan Edwards, Michigan, 6-1, 204


Strengths:

- Pass catching out of the backfield and a natural playmaker.

- Vision as a runner.

- Run blocker.

- Quick feet.


Weaknesses:

- Not exactly a burner. He's not slow by any means though.

- Doesn't create separation as a route runner.


Overall:

- Edwards is a natural pass-catching back and offers versatility as a playmaker. He could stand to get faster as a straight-line runner.


Draft Grade: Fourth Round


8. Jarquez Hunter, Auburn, 5-10, 202


Strengths:

- Pass catching. Not only out in the short game but the long game as well.

- Run balance and contact.

- Patient runner. Lets his blocks set up before he takes off.

- Vision as a runner. Uses the cut-back well.

- Makes defenders miss in space.


Weaknesses:

- Slimmer build for a running back.

- Run game in between the tackles.

- Run blocking.


Overall:

A real weapon out of the backfield. He's finally getting his opportunity to be RB1 in Auburn's new offense under Head Coach Hugh Freeze. His time as RB1 finally arrived after teammate Tank Bigbsy was drafted in the third round by the Jacksonville Jaguars.


Draft Grade: Fourth Round


9. Blake Watson, Memphis, 5-9, 195


Strengths:

- Initial burst and lateral quickness.

- Vision as a runner.

- Footwork as a runner.

- Elusive in space. Makes defenders look silly.

- Plays bigger than his size.

- Can line up in the slot.


Weaknesses:

- Doesn't create separation.

- Frame, needs to build more mass.


Overall:

- Playmaker in the open space. Needs to add ten to fifteen pounds to become an every down back at the next level.


Draft Grade: Fourth Round


10. Carson Steele, UCLA, 6-1, 215


Strengths:

- Difficult to tackle one on one.

- Was a member of Bruce Feldman's freak list. He benches 405 and squats 615 with 7 percent body fat.

- Can make yardage out of what seems to be stopped progression.

- Outruns angles by the defender.


Weaknesses:

- Not a threat to take it to the house on any play.

- Cut blocks in pass protection instead of keeping his eyes up.


Overall:

- Violent runner who can either run through you or around you. Needs to improve in consistency at pass blocking. He has real potential at the next level based on strength and athleticism alone.


Draft Grade: Fourth Round


So to recap these are the top ten ranking for running backs in the 2024 draft class as of 6/29/23.

  1. TreyVon Henderson, Ohio St

  2. Raheim Sanders, Arkansas

  3. Braelon Allen, Wisconsin

  4. Blake Corum, Michigan

  5. Will Shipley, Clemson

  6. Trey Benson, Florida State

  7. Donovan Edwards, Michigan

  8. Jarquez Hunter, Auburn

  9. Blake Watson, Memphis

  10. Carson Steele, UCLA

 

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