With the NFL draft a week away, NFL teams have their positional rankings already carved out thanks to months of studying and evaluation. Over the next week, I will begin revealing my personal individual position rankings for the class.
This article will list my top five running backs available in the 2022 NFL draft.
5. James Cook, Georgia
The brother of Minnesota star Dalvin Cook, James Cook possesses many of the attributes that make Dalvin a star in the NFL. A national champion with the Georgia Bulldogs, Cook operated as an outside runner with an explosive first step.
As well as being a fantastic rusher, Cook adds a receiving dimension that is more polished than his older brother. Georgia would often have James Cook lined up outside at receiver, which is intriguing to scouts in the pass-centric NFL.
4. Kyren Williams, Notre Dame
No player on Notre Dame’s offense is more responsible for their recent success than Kyren Williams. The powerful back was the team’s top-skill position player during a period where the Fighting Irish ranked inside the AP top 10 for multiple years, including a playoff appearance.
Williams eclipsed the 1,000 yards rushing milestone both years as a starter, scoring 31 total touchdowns over that span. Any team that drafts him can expect a three-down back that is accustomed to receiving a heavy workload.
3. Breece Hall, Iowa State
The best running back in the Big 12, certain scouts have Breece Hall ranked as high as the top running back prospect in the draft. Hall is a fast, elusive back who can create running lanes out of the smallest gaps.
His best statistical season came in 2020, where Hall rushed for more yards than first-round pick Najee Harris while playing one less game. Hall will provide an instant upgrade to any backfield he joins, and has the potential to be a future star.
2. Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M
Many scouts are skeptical over Isaiah Spiller’s possible NFL success, however, I find myself very confident in the SEC product. Despite rushing for 1000 yards in 2021, many scouts were disappointed by his production a year ago, but I believe that has more to do with Texas A&M regressing overall.
Spiller has the strength to break NFL tackles and is also a proven pass blocker. Mark Ingram is my best NFL comparison, as Spiller is not afraid to work in between the tackles and do the dirty work for the team.
1. Kenneth Walker, Michigan State
No running back in the country performed better in 2021 than Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker. He is the complete package of power, elusiveness, and ball-carrying, and will be a day-one starter for whatever team he lands on.
Walker rushed for over 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns in his junior year with the Spartans and was in the Heisman conversation for a majority of the season. Walker tested sensational at the combine as well, running a 4.38 40-yard dash. He is a supreme athlete, and the best running back in the 2022 draft class.
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