2013 NFL Draft: Most Underrated Running Backs in Class

Varun Ravishanker@Varoom18Contributor IIIJanuary 28, 2013

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Running back Montee Ball #28 of the Wisconsin Badgers scores on a 10-yard touchdown run in the second quarter against the Stanford Cardinal in the 99th Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio on January 1, 2013 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The 2013 NFL Draft doesn't have a standout first-round star at the running back position. There are a few guys put a cut above the rest, but for the most part, this draft will be more about the depth of prospects at the position. 

While there's no Trent Richardson-like player this year, there are certainly several running backs who can make an immediate impact in the NFL. Here's a look at the running back prospects who are the most undervalued going into the draft.


Montee Ball, Wisconsin

Despite finishing third in the nation in rushing and taking home the Doak Walker Award during a strong senior campaign, Ball finds himself quite low in some position rankings.

Ball's stock was likely impacted by the early struggles of Wisconsin this season. Despite their BCS berth the team underperformed for much of the season—leading to an 8-6 record. 

Scouts worry about the number of carries Ball has taken in college affecting his durability at the pro level and some question his quickness, but Ball has shown the ability and strength to run at the pro level and should be looked at as early as the second round. 


Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

Once a strong candidate for a first-round pick, Lattimore has been plagued by knee injuries, including an ACL tear last season and dislocating his knee earlier this year.


His draft stock has plummeted due to concerns about his recovery and future durability issues.

Lattimore knows that he is one of the big question marks heading into April, telling Dan Wolken of USA Today Sports about when his name will be called: "Could be first (round), could be undrafted," he said.

Doctors have been encouraged by Lattimore's rehab, and if he can get back to 100 percent by the start of the NFL season, Lattimore could be the steal of the draft. 


Dennis Johnson, Arkansas

Johnson has been overshadowed at times during his Arkansas career by teammate Knile Davis, but took over during the 2012 season—leading the team in rushing and returning kicks for the Razorbacks.

Johnson is a senior like Ball, so wear and tear will be a concern for draft experts, and his injury history could also be troubling. 

Johnson has solid speed and quickness, and his vision while returning kicks will be a great asset for the team that drafts him. Johnson's ability to come in and return kicks immediately bolsters the draft stock of a guy who's currently slotted by some around the fourth or fifth round.