2016 NFL Draft Rankings: Running Back

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports /

14.) Tyler Ervin, San Jose St (5’10 | 192 | 4.44)

Diminutive back who looks lighter than his listed 192. Ervin is lightning quick and should excel in a 3rd-down-back / return man role. He showed the ability to pass block and enough toughness to run through a few arm tackles at the Senior Bowl, boosting his stock into the early day 3 range.

15.) Brandon Wilds, South Carolina (6’2 | 215 | 4.56)

Tall back with a solid all-around skill set who never got a full workload in college, but produced when he did. Wilds averaged just under five yards a carry and showed reliable hands out of the backfield and the willingness to fight for extra yards. He’s not flashy and whether he’s drafted or not will probably depend on his timed speed, but Wilds has all the necessary skill to be a productive 3-down NFL back in the right system.

16.) Peyton Barber, Auburn (5’11 | 225 | 4.52)

The red-shirt sophomore was a surprise entry into the draft after a solid 1,016 rushing yards last season, despite dealing with a knee injury during the 2nd half of 2015. His production pre-injury was impressive, but Barber didn’t have the same burst in the 2nd half which dropped his YPC down to a pedestrian 4.3. He has good bulk, toughness, and burst through the line when healthy. Barber only caught 11 passes last season, but looked smooth doing so and could be a solid receiver out of the backfield and good NFL depth with upside for more.

17.) Aaron Green, TCU (5’11 | 203 | 4.53)

Explosive back who had a great junior year, leading the Big12 with 7.1 YPC, but struggled with injuries as a senior and his production dropped (5.2 YPC). Green is a bit undersized for an every-down back and will most likely be relegated to a 3rd down role at the next level. He caught 40 passes in his time at TCU and has enough quickness to potentially help out in the return game. Green is a likely day 3 pick.

18.) D.J. Foster, ASU (6’0 | 195 | 4.52)

Switched to a slot receiver role last season and it ended up hurting his draft stock. Foster may have been a mid-round pick if he came out after a strong 2014 season (1,761 YFS, 5.6 YPC), but actually had less catches in 2015 from slot than he did as a running back the year before. He does have impressive versatility and there were a few minor injuries that could have sapped Foster’s production last year. The talent is there for Foster to make an impact as an NFL 3rd-down-back and he could be a steal late on day 3.

19.) Marshaun Coprich, Illinois St (5’9 | 205 | 4.53)

Very productive FCS back with 4,241 rushing yards over the last two seasons. He’s undersized for an NFL back, but is well-built at near 200 pounds and displayed excellent vision in college. He consistently found the right running lanes, got through them quickly, and was hard to catch in the open field. Coprich may not have the speed to run away from DBs at the next level, but he’s stout enough to run inside or out, can catch the ball, and is an aggressive pass blocker. He could surprise as a late round pick.

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports /

20.) Devon Johnson, Marshall (6’1 | 244 | 4.64)

One of my favorite day 3 running backs who unfortunately had to leave the Senior Bowl early before he could do much. “Rockhead” Johnson is built like a fullback and lacks long speed, but gets through the line of scrimmage in a hurry and is a handful to bring down once he does. He’s also shown good hands out of the backfield and the ability to pass block. Johnson could play a variety roles at the next level including fullback, H-back, and short-yardage specialist.

¹ Scouting reports on players are from a combination of watching plenty of college football, evaluating individual player tape from Draftbreakdown, and various reports from CBS Sports, Walterfootball, NFL.com, and ESPN.