Angle of Pursuit: NFL Draft Rankings

Dennis Dunbar (@lionsdenNFL) and myself, Kyle Robert (@notoriouskro) have been reviewing tape, watching the NFL Scouting Combine and reading anything that relates to a running back prospect in an effort to create our running back rankings for the 2015 NFL Draft. Todd Gurely, Melvin Gordon, and other names make up our lists. Below is a break down of what Dennis uses to evaluate players. My system is very similar.

Dennis’ Evaluation System

  1.  Vision
  2. Balance
  3. Burst/acceleration
  4. Agility
  5. Pass protection
  6. Pass Catching

I have a four point grading system on several key areas as it relates to the position. Rarely if ever will a prospect receive a 4. Adrian Peterson is an example of  the closest thing to a four. A player will not receive anything less than a zero which is my baseline. Sticking with the Minnesota Vikings, Matt Asiata  represents the level player that would earn a zero.

Opportunity is half the battle with some of these prospects, especially ones that are in the lower tiers as Christine Michael owners can attest to.  Zac Stacy owners can argue that eventually talent wins out as it did in 2014 when Tre Mason was handed the keys and did not give them back. That doesn’t mean that Zac Stacy didn’t help owners to the promise land in 2013, where he proved opportunity can pay off.

Below is our rankings for the 2015 running back class for the NFL Draft. When you click on each players name, it will link to a full break down of the prospect. It will list the basic information for each prospect, as well as a NFL comparison, Dennis’ scouting notes and my instant evaluation. Let us know on twitter where you agree and where you don’t!

1 Todd Gurley Todd Gurley
2 Jay Ajayi Ameer Abdullah
3 Melvin Gordon Tevin Coleman
4 Ameer Abdullah Jay Ajayi
5 Javorius Allen Melvin Gordon
6 T.J. Yeldon Duke Johnson
7 Duke Johnson T.J. Yeldon
8 Josh Robinson Mike Davis
9 David Cobb David Cobb
10 Jeremy Langford Malcolm Brown
11 Tevin Coleman Michael Dyer
12 Matt Jones Cameron Artis-Payne
13 Mike Davis Karlos Williams
14 Karlos Williams Javorius Allen
15 David Johnson Josh Robinson



Zach Zenner
Height: 5′ 11″ Weight: 223
College:South Dakota State University

Highly productive amazingly talented runner with Nice vision, power, burst, hands, and creates yards after contact. Small school stud who answered the bell versus Division 1 opponents. Has NFL 3 down traits.

Thomas Rawls
Height: 5′ 9″ Weight: 215
College: Central Michigan University

A Michigan Wolverine transfer Rawls showed great vision, burst, and power, Rawls is a punisher who plays with a chip on his shoulder and was borderline in my sweet 16. He only played 8 games in 2014 but still surpassed 1,100 yards. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit if he had a long career as a thunder with the potential to be a workhorse.

Dee Hart
Height: 5′ 7″ Weight: 199
College: Colorado State University

Dee Hart is a former member of the Alabama Crimson Tide, who’s promising career was cut derailed by two devastating knee injuries. He was once thought to be one of the most explosive backs in the nation prior to injury. If he can regain his explosion he could be an upside play in the league.

Trey Williams
Height: 5′ 7″ Weight: 195
College: Texas A&M University

Probably my favorite of the small backs, Williams is electric with the ball in his hands. He reminds me of a super bouncy ball being thrown into a crowd of senior citizens and expecting them to catch it. Only Ameer Abdullah is on his level in terms of elusiveness. A must watch player if he sticks on a roster.

John Crockett
Height: 6′ 0″ Weight: 217
College: North Dakota State University

John Crockett aka Taz a nickname he lives up to on the field. A very instinctive runner with a nasty jump cut. He plays with intensity and power, good hands out of the backfield.

Malcolm Agnew
Height: 5′ 9″ Weight: 207
College: Southern Illinois University

An ankle injury derailed a very productive 2014 for Agnew (an Oregon St transfer) Comes from a decent NFL lineage Agnew is an elusive runner who has surprising power for his size, he is a make you miss player that can also run through arm tackles, showed good vision and patience as well as soft hands out of the backfield

  • Terrence Magee LSU
  • Dominique Brown Louisville
  • Corey Grant Aub
  • Kenny Hilliard LSU
  • Marcus Murphy Miss
  • Dreamius Smith WVU
  • Tyler Varga Yale


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