Yesterday, Quentin took a look at the top three quarterbacks and wide-outs heading into this year’s NFL draft. Today, let’s take a look at the top three running backs and tight ends.
Top 3 Running Backs
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
At six-foot, Elliott has length and speed, and is a decent receiver for a running back. He’s got a good jump cut as well as great vision. He rushed for 100 yards or more in 21 of his last 25 games as a Buckeye, and his college career will probably be best remembered for the 696 yards rushing he put up in the three post season games Ohio State won on their way to the National Champion ship in 2014. Teams may be worried about the number of carries he picked up the last two years at tOSU.
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
Having won a National Championship as well as a Heisman at Alabama, Henry had no real reason to stick around in college. At 6’3″, 240, Henry’s size is more usual for a linebacker than a RB, and teams that make use of a lot of power and gap schemes will appreciate that. Suprisingly, his size hasn’t translated into much production in the passing game, something NFL teams might hold against him.
Devontae Booker, RB, Utah
Booker’s draft stock likely took a hit with the knee injury he suffered against Arizona last season, but even with that he’s likely to be one of the top three backs taken in the draft. Booker has a incredible vision and patience, and, as a smaller back, has shown the ability to stand behind his O-line and wait for holes to develop. His ability to get beneath tackles can also allow him to get an extra yard or so even when plays have been blown up. His production in the passing game both as a receiver and a blocker will likely excite teams.
Top 3 Tight Ends
Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
Hunter Henry is the 2015 Mackey Award winner for the best tight end in the country, and his game tape makes that clear. Henry blocks like a second tackle and runs routes like a wide out. He had no drops for the entire 2015 season, and had a 96% completion rate for balls thrown to him on 3rd down. Henry will certainly be the first tight end drafted, possibly in the front half of the first round.
Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford
Hooper was the number three receiver on a Stanford team that won that Pac-12 and demolished Iowa in the Rose Bowl. He’s got great in-line speed and, but isn’t yet the best route runner. After playing at Stanford where Christian McCaffrey ran for 2019 yards, it’s pretty clear he’s got good skills in run blocking.
Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State
Vannett didn’t have a ton of production in the passing game, but that’s understandable being on a Buckeyes team with Zeek Elliott, JT Barrett and Michael Thomas grabbing so many yards. Still, he’s got great length and athleticism, and will likely see the field in both passing and blocking situations. A very similar type player to Greg Olsen in Carolina.