The NFL Comparison for Top 10 RB Recruits from Class of 2014
As we start to become more and more familiar with the 2014 recruiting class, a good way to really give you an idea of how a recruit plays is by comparing him to a more familiar recruit. We recently took a look at the top QB prospects and compared them to NFL QBs who we're more familiar with, and this time around we'll be staying in the offensive backfield.
This read will be focusing on the top 10 RB prospects and comparing them a RB in the NFL. These comparisons are not going to be generic ones of the sort or just shots in the dark. I've studied these runners and really gave a lot of thought into which RB in the NFL they most closely resemble.
Comparisons and adding players to a scout's "player memory bank" is critical and it's always a great exercise for evaluators, which I why I really enjoy these types of reads. Here are the NFL comparisons for each top 10 RB prospect in the 201 class.
10. Joe Mixon
Mixon is a taller back who stands over 6'0" tall and weighs over 190 pounds. He's not a smooth runner in the open field, but Mixon has good speed and runs with solid strength and quickness.
Mixon has a solid build and can run with a physical mentality while showing good elusiveness in the open field. With his size, running style and ability to factor in the short passing game, Mixon compares favorably to Matt Forte of the Bears.
9. Elijah Hood
Hood has been listed as an ATH on some lists, but his first love is the RB position. He's a 6'0", 215-pounder from North Carolina and is a thickly built bully as a runner.
Hood doesn't have great foot quickness, but he's extremely strong, powerful and physical between the tackles. I see solid vision from him and he has a little juice through holes.
Frank Gore is a great example of how Hood runs.
8. Nathan Starks
From Las Vegas, Starks is one of the top overall players on the West Coast this year. He can play safety, but the 5'11", 200-pounder is looked at as more of a RB prospect.
Starks is a very good athlete and has great hands in the passing game. His speed is pretty good in the open field and Starks also can work with great strength through run alleys.
He reminds me of Rashard Mendenhall.
7. Bo Scarbrough
Immediately, with Scarbrough, you notice his size at 6'2" and 222 pounds. He just looks the part and has good straight-line speed and runs with good power.
He can shoot through holes, has the quickness to escape to the edges of the box and also has above adequate hands. When I watch him, I just can't help but imagine him not being a similar runner to Darren McFadden.
6. Joseph Yearby
Yearby is from Miami and has been a very productive runner throughout his career. He's a 5'9" guy who weighs about 190 pounds or so.
Yearby has great quickness, good speed to and through holes, runs with good awareness and just has a natural knack for the RB position. He also may have a little bit more power than people give him credit for.
I liken him to David Wilson.
5. Dalvin Cook
Yeaby's backfield mate, Cook is a 5'10", 192-pounder who I'm very impressed with. He's a very smooth runner who has gliding speed, easy movement skills and good elusiveness.
I'd like to see him run with a little more strength and power, but this is a prospect that I grade pretty high. It's not just because he's committed to Clemson, but Cook really reminds me a bit of CJ Spiller.
4. Racean Thomas
Thomas' frame is very impressive, as he's a 5'11" back who weighs all of 196 pounds and probably more. He can run with a violent mentality and has good strength at times when carrying the ball.
Thomas is your classic RB in that he has the ability to run in between the tackles, speed to turn the corner and can also help in the passing game. The way he runs hard and with good instincts compares to Marshawn Lynch.
3. Jalen Hurd
Hurd is a very big back at 6'3" and has bulked up 225 pounds this offseason. For as big as he is, the Tennessee native has solid foot quickness, elusiveness and speed.
Hurd can run with good power, can be a load at the point of attack and has some tackle-breaking ability. He shows good quickness to jump to the second level and flashes some juice in the open field.
At his size, while having deceptive athleticism and speed, he actually brings LeGarrette Blount to mind.
2. Sony Michel
The vision, awareness, instincts and change of direction skills this guy have are all top notch. Michel, from Florida, is a 5'11", 205-pound RB who I feel has a chance to be special.
He also can line up in the slot or on the perimeter and run routes like a receiver. Michel can do a lot of different things and really has exceptional ability as a runner.
His style of play reminds me of Arian Foster in the way he sees holes on the backside, has good quickness and also shows solid hands.
1. Leonard Fournette
Fournette is the top RB in country this year and this guy is really something. He's a recruit who I'd pay money to go watch live.
He stands about 6'1", 225 pounds and has great size, speed, quickness, vision, instincts, hands and power. Fournette can run inside on one play and line up in the lot on the next and catch passes like a natural wide receiver.
Due to his size, ability to run with various styles and great hands, Fournette reminds me a lot of Steven Jackson.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.