USC RB Joe McKnight Declares for 2010 NFL Draft: Where Does He Rank?
USC running back Joe McKnight declared for the 2010 NFL Draft on Friday, which could change how the draft order of available running backs shakes out. This isn't a deep draft for running backs—only one may go in the first round—but there are still many good ones available. Here's a look at the top 10, including McKnight's place in that group.
1. C.J. Spiller
He's the number one back on just about every draft board, and nothing about today's news changes that. This speedy back will almost certainly be the first RB taken in the draft.
2. Ryan Mathews
Another consensus pick is Mathews. The big, tackle-breaking back should go in the second round.
3. Anthony Dixon
Another back who depends on size more than speed, Dixon could—and likely will—follow Mathews. Teams that depend on a power-running game will be interested.
4. Charles Scott
Most running backs selected this year will be selected in the second round, and Scott—another big power back—will likely join that trend. Teams that have a speedy back and need a power guy for a change-of-pace will be looking at Scott.
5. Toby Gerhart
Gerhart's positives are his vision and his ability to run straight ahead. There are concerns about his blocking, pass-catching, and ability to get outside, but his 15 touchdowns are hard to argue against. He's a solid second-round choice.
6. Chris Brown
Brown will be valued for his ability to be a steady workhorse. Scouts say he can be an every-down back, which may allow him to come off the board before teammate DeMarco Murray.
7. James Starks
Starks probably would be projected higher if he hadn't been hurt in 2009. But if he can prove that he's healthy, he might be an attractive choice. He was productive before he got hurt, and he's likely a third-round choice.
8. Ben Tate
Big backs seem to be trend in 2010, and Tate, who is known for bowling over tacklers on runs up the middle, fits the mold. He is a late third-round or early-fourth round pick.
9. Joe McKnight
McKnight rushed for more than 1,000 yards and had eight touchdowns last season, but concerns about a rule violation kept him out of the Emerald Bowl. He declared for the draft rather than staying in school and risking further injury. He's a late third-round pick, but teams will be intrigued by his 6.2-yard per carry average.
10. Javarris James
James split time with Graig Cooper, and that likely cut into his productivity. He has been productive with the ball in his hands, and he could make an excellent choice for a team that is looking for a short-yardage back.