2013 NFL Draft: Underrated RBs Who Will Find Important Roles on Their New Teams

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24:  Theo Riddick #6 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish rushes past Dion Bailey #18 of the USC Trojans during a 22-13 win at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The 2013 NFL draft doesn't feature a single "star" running back. Several guys will have a chance to develop into something, but there isn't a surefire home run to be found in this year's field.

That's going to force NFL teams to get creative when they select a ball-carrier. It could require them to select a non-traditional back, or it may require them to take a stab at a sleeper pick in the middle rounds.

Just because there isn't a Trent Richardson-type talent in this year's draft doesn't mean that there isn't quality to be found. Teams just have to look a little bit harder.

Let's take a look at three guys who will find important roles on an NFL team.


Christine Michael, Texas A&M

Michael dealt with injuries throughout his Aggies career, but that doesn't take away from his physical abilities.

At 5'11'', 220 pounds, Michael has the size to run between the tackles, but he also has the speed to accelerate to the outside.

He ran for 417 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, while splitting time with fellow running back Ben Malena. He averaged less than five yards per carry, but he still showed his NFL skill set throughout the season.

Without injuries, Michael could be a second-round pick. With them though, he's probably more likely to go in the fourth or fifth round.

If he can put his best foot forward at the NFL combine, and stay healthy throughout the draft process, Michael will find a home on an NFL team. He may not be a superstar from day one, but he can contribute in short-yardage situations as a rookie.


Theo Riddick, Notre Dame

Riddick has the skills to be a quality third-down back right away for one lucky team because of his versatility.

He ran for 880 yards and five touchdowns this season for the Fighting Irish, but this was the first year that he lined up purely in the backfield. In other years, he found himself split out as a wide receiver.

That only spells good things for his NFL career. Teams can never have too many weapons, and Riddick could be one of the best.

There aren't many guys who can say that they have over 100 catches and 200-plus carries in their college careers. Riddick flies under the radar because he doesn't run flashy, but don't let that fool you into thinking that he can't run the football.

Riddick understands how to set up blockers. That will allow him to have success with the ball in his hands in the NFL, just like he did with Notre Dame.


Stepfan Taylor, Stanford

Taylor has done nothing but produce for the Cardinal, even if he played part of his career in Andrew Luck's shadow.

In his four years, Taylor ran for 4,212 yards and 39 touchdowns. He's also proven himself to be a solid receiver out of the backfield, hauling in 38 passes in 2012.

There is nothing about Taylor that screams excellence; he just understands how to run the football. He hits the hole, puts his head down and just goes, even if his speed isn't always enough to let him break into the open.

Taylor won't come off the board until the middle rounds, but this workhorse is a wise choice for someone. He's durable, reliable, and he doesn't try to do too much.

Don't expect him to be a star right away, but he is going to run the ball well for someone.