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Old 01-12-2013, 07:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2013 NFL Draft: Steelers prospects at running back

2013 NFL Draft: Running Back Rankings

The top 2013 running back prospects available for the 2013 NFL Draft in the order in which I believe they will be drafted.

This page was last updated Jan. 12, 2013..
By Charlie Campbell.

Giovani Bernard**, RB, North Carolina

Height: 5-10. Weight: 205.
Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
Projected Round (2013): 1-2.
1/12/13: Bernard was an electric play-maker for North Carolina this year. He dominated conference play including a massive day (23-267) against Virginia Tech. Bernard found the end zone in every game he played in 2012.

Bernard ran for 1,228 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, while averaging 6.7 yards per carry. He also hauled in 47 passes for 490 yards and five touchdowns. Bernard averaged 16 yards per punt return as well, and even scored on two of them. One was the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter against N.C. State. He missed two games with an undisclosed injury.

Eddie Lacy*, RB, Alabama

Height: 6-0. Weight: 220.
Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
Projected Round (2013): 1-2.
1/12/13: Lacy totaled 1,322 yards (6.4 average) and 17 touchdowns this season on only 204 carries. He was a power runner for Alabama and lost touches to standout freshman T.J. Yeldon. Lacy caught 22 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns, too. He had massive performances against Georgia (20-181) in the SEC Championship and Notre Dame (20-140) in the National Championship.

Joseph Randle*, RB, Oklahoma State

Height: 6-1. Weight: 200.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2013): 2-3.
1/12/13: Randle averaged 5.2 yards per carry in 2012 on his way to 1,417 yards and 14 touchdowns. He picked up 28 receptions for 224 yards as well. Randle ran for 199 yards on 25 carries against Texas including a long run for a score. He had big games against TCU, Oklahoma, Baylor and Iowa State.

The junior has demonstrated good blitz-protection skills, including a devastating block versus the Longhorns. Randle ran with speed and elusiveness this year, but less power and physicality compared to what he showed in 2011.

Jawan Jamison, RB, Rutgers

Height: 5-8. Weight: 200.
Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
Projected Round (2013): 2-3.
1/12/13: Jamison carried the Rutgers offense this season, running for 1,075 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 4.2 yards per carry. Jamison totaled 897 yards (3.9 average) and nine touchdowns in 2011. The compactly built back has a nice mix of power and speed. Many compare him to former Scarlet Knights running back Ray Rice.

Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford

Height: 5-11. Weight: 208.
Projected 40 Time: 4.58.
Projected Round (2013): 2-3.
1/12/13: Taylor was phenomenal for Stanford in 2012 and was the workhorse for the Cardinal's offense. He carried Stanford to an upset win over USC with over 200 combined yards and two touchdowns. The senior followed that up with other big games against the likes of Oregon and UCLA.

Taylor averaged 4.8 yards per carry this year, having collected 1,530 yards and 13 touchdowns. He totaled 41 receptions for 287 yards with two scores through the air, too. Taylor showed three-down ability with his blocking and receiving. Nationally, he is a sleeper prospect who could be a draft-day steal.

Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida

Height: 5-11. Weight: 209.
Projected 40 Time: 4.42.
Projected Round (2013): 2-4.
1/12/13: Gillislee had a superb senior season for the Gators. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry while amassing 1,1152 yards and 10 touchdowns. Gillislee played hurt, yet helped push Florida to a tough road win against Teas A&M. He had impressive games against Tennessee, Bowling Green and LSU, too. He closed out the regular season by destroying Florida State to the tune of 140 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.

The senior has speed and deceptive power. Gillislee is very impressive as a blocker in blitz protection. He has really helped his draft stock this year.

Le'Veon Bell*, RB, Michigan State

Height: 6-2. Weight: 238.
Projected 40 Time: 4.63.
Projected Round (2013): 2-4.
1/12/13: Bell carried Michigan State's offense in 2012. He averaged 29 carries (382 total) per game as the Spartans struggled to move the ball aside from handing it off to him.

Bell averaged 4.7 yards per carry despite all the action and ran for 1,793 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. He also had 32 receptions for 167 yards. Bell went over 200 yards against Boise State, Eastern Michigan and Minnesota.

The concern with Bell is if he has enough quickness to hit the hole in the NFL. The Big Ten has produced a lot of Ron Dayne-types who are big backs but not fast enough to play at the next level. Bell needs to prove that he has enough speed.

The junior should enter the 2013 NFL Draft rather than let Michigan State's coaching staff runs him into the ground as a senior. He has demonstrated plenty of durability already.

Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin

Height: 5-11. Weight: 210.
Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
Projected Round (2013): 2-4.
1/12/13: Ball started his senior season slowly, but heated up in conference play. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry this year on his way to 1,830 yards and 22 touchdowns. Ball had huge games against Purdue, Minnesota, Indiana and Nebraska. He had a costly fumble against Ohio State on the goal line in the fourth quarter.

Ball also had a fumble late in the fourth quarter to end the Badgers hopes of tying Nebraska. The slow start to the season wasn't Ball's fault completely as the Badgers' new quarterback and offensive line were a big drop off from last year. Ball should've entered the 2012 NFL Draft.

Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA

Height: 5-10. Weight: 205.
Projected 40 Time: 4.58.
Projected Round (2013): 3-4.
1/12/13: Franklin was awesome as a senior and really helped his draft stock. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry while churning his way to 1,734 yards and 13 touchdowns. Franklin also caught 33 balls for 323 yards and two touchdowns. He has real quickness as a runner and is shifty, but is more physical and tough than one would think.

Fraklin had a huge performance against USC with 171 yards and two scores. He went over 200 yards against Rise and Nebraska. Franklin showed some real power and toughness in the Pac-12 Championship by running for 194 yards on 19 carries against Stanford and its physical defense. It was a very impressive performance.

Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson

Height: 5-10. Weight: 190.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2013): 3-4.
1/12/13: Ellington had a solid senior year. His added weight allowed him to be a more effective runner between the tackles and pick up more yards after contact. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry with 1,081 yards and eight touchdowns. Ellington also caught 14 passes for 232 yards and a score. The senior has improved his draft stock.

Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh

Height: 5-9. Weight: 195.
Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
Projected Round (2013): 3-5.
1/12/13: Graham averaged 4.7 yards per carry while running for 1,042 yards and 11 touchdowns. He looked more and more like his old self as the season progressed in terms of speed and explosiveness. The Pittsburgh staff had estimated that Grahma was playing at about 90 percent in the early portion of 2012. He ran for 172 on Notre Dame and 113 on Rutgers, two good defenses.

Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon

Height: 5-11. Weight: 195.
Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
Projected Round (2013): 4-5.
1/12/13: Barner ripped off big yardage for Oregon all year as its feature back. He had 1,767 yards and 21 touchdowns and averaged 6.4 yards per carry. Barner also snagged 20 receptions for 256 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for 321 yards and five touchdowns against USC, but had some struggles against California and Stanford. The speed back is a threat to score on any carry, but he doesn't compile yards after contact.

Cierre Wood, RB, Notre Dame

Height: 6-0. Weight: 215.
Projected 40 Time: 4.58.
Projected Round (2013): 4-5.
1/12/13: Wood was suspended for the first two games of the season. Given that the opponents were Navy and Purdue, the Fighitng Irish got by without him. His suspension was for the massively broad 'violation of team rules'. Wood ran for 742 yards and four touchdowns in 2012 while averaging 6.5 yards per carry. He only had four receptions this year, so his third-down ability is a big question mark for NFL evaluators.

Stefphon Jefferson, RB, Nevada

Height: 5-11. Weight: 210.
Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
Projected Round (2013): 4-6.
1/12/13: Jefferson could be this year's Alfred Morris; a sleeper running back who surprises everyone in the NFL. Jefferson has quickness to go along with power and size. He finished second in the FBS in rushing this year with 1,883 yards (5.0 average) with 24 touchdowns. Jefferson also caught 22 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown. He has fresh legs after serving as a backup in 2011 and 2010.

Michael Ford*, RB, LSU

Height: 5-10. Weight: 215.
Projected 40 Time: 4.58.
Projected Round (2013): 4-6.
1/12/13: Ford ran for 392 yards on 71 carries (5.5 average) with three touchdowns in 2012. The Tigers continued to employ a big variety of running backs, so it was hard for any of them to really standout.

Spencer Ware*, RB, LSU

Height: 5-11. Weight: 223.
Projected 40 Time: 4.57.
Projected Round (2013): 4-6.
1/12/13: Ware had 367 yards on 94 carries (3.9 average) as part of a committee approach this season. LSU literally gave carries to five different running backs.

Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska

Height: 5-11. Weight: 210.
Projected 40 Time: 4.62.
Projected Round (2013): 5-6.
1/12/13: Burkhead mildly sprained a ligament in his left knee against Southern Mississippi and that caused him to miss three games. He then missed four more games in the second half of the season. As a result, Burkhead never was able to get in a real rhythm this year. He averaged 6.9 yards per carry over 98 rushes that he turned into 675 yards and five touchdowns. Burkhead finished the 2012 well with 140 yards on 24 carries against Georgia.

Dennis Johnson, RB, Arkansas

Height: 5-9. Weight: 213.
Projected 40 Time: 4.54.
Projected Round (2013): 5-6.
1/12/13: Johnson had 757 yards on 137 carries (5.5 average) and eight touchdowns in 2012. He caught 25 passes for 160 yards and two scores as well. Johnson gradually earned more playing time over Knile Davis.

Knile Davis*, RB, Arkansas

Height: 6-1. Weight: 226.
Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
Projected Round (2013): 5-6.
1/12/13: Davis was rusty in his return this season and didn't have the same power or explosiveness. He averaged 3.4 yards per carry on his way to just 377 total yards and two touchdowns. Davis also had 11 receptions for 157 yards and one touchdown. He had three fumbles against Texas A&M.

The junior flashed his old ability at times, but he was generally running tentatively and indecisively. Davis should've returned for his senior season to be a workhorse for Brett Bielema, but he entered the 2013 NFL Draft.

Marcus Lattimore*, RB, South Carolina

Height: 6-0. Weight: 218.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2013): 5-FA.
1/12/13: Lattimore's season came to a tragic end after suffering a gruesome knee injury against Tennessee. His knee was dislocated and there was ligament damage as well. There is some doubt about him playing in 2013, but Lattimore has decided to make his comeback to football in the NFL. It might be a good idea for him to spend his first season on injured reserve.

Lattimore was having a good season prior to the injury. He was gradually regaining his speed and explosiveness. Lattimore averaged 4.6 yards per carry with 662 yards and 11 touchdowns. He had 26 receptions for 173 yards as well.
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