Running backs in the 2010 NFL Draft are fairly deep, with a pair of first-round-quality picks and a trio of second-round talents.
Running backs represent less of a risk than quarterbacks, and I don't have my top going off the board until late in the top 15—which is significantly less money than my top two quarterbacks this year.
This year's class has a good combination of speedy game-breakers and powerful line pushers. This year's class also comes with a lot of question marks, though, which could have some answers come time for the 2010 Scouting Combine.
With that, here are my top five running backs in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Spiller has the size and speed to be an everyday NFL running back at 5'11" and 195 pounds.
Spiller is game-breaker that will also help in the return game.
The thing I like the most about him is his great vision. Spiller can find the hole and is patient enough in traffic to wait for it to open up. He can also block fairly well and is a legitimate threat to catch passes out of the backfield.
He defines what an all-purpose back is.
I don't see a lot of downside to Spiller, but he's not a sure thing. I came into 2009 wondering if he was an every-down back after sharing carries with James Davis. Spiller was a 20- to 30-carry back in 2009—which put that question to rest for the most part.
Best represents a high-risk, high-reward back.
He's 5'10" and 195 pounds and is very similar to Spiller. The issue with Best is that he has durability questions. A hip injury limited him in 2007, while elbow and toe issues dogged him in 2008.
Last year he suffered that scary concussion—which I find hard to throw into the durability argument just because of its nature. However, it's there, and that won't help him answer those questions.
The plus side of Best is his home run ability out of the backfield and in the return game. It's possible he has better speed than Spiller and has above- average vision and hands.
Best is certainly a Wildcat package back—along with the potential to be an every-down back.
Listed at 6'1" and 235 pounds, Dwyer is the biggest back in this year's draft.
He packs a lot of speed in that large frame, but he needs to control that weight to effectively use that speed in the NFL. Dwyer's combine run could determine where he can be effective.
The downside to Dwyer—no matter what he weighs in at—is that he has little to no experience catching passes and will not be versatile enough to help the return game.
The plus side is he has great speed and quickness for his size. He also has the ability to run smaller defenders over if he needs to—or simply run by them.
I have Dwyer as a late first-, early second-round pick in 2010.
Mathews won't help teams catching out of the backfield very much.
At 5'11" and 220 pounds, Mathews is like a bigger Maurice Jones-Drew. He doesn't exactly have breakaway speed, but he has enough.
Like Dwyer, he's not very versatile, but his weight won't be an issue—he doesn't rely on the same speed or quickness. It's possible Mathews could come out as the second best back in this class, as he is more of the prototypical back.
I have Mathews as an earlier to mid-second-round pick and I think he's one that will only improve his stock once the combine and workouts begin. He has a very high ceiling with his talent.
McCluster is a return to the speedy, shifty backs, like Spiller and Best.
He has drawn some comparisons to DeSean Jackson coming out of Ole Miss. At 5'8" and 165 pounds, he is surely undersized for either running back or wide receiver but is the biggest threat to catch the ball out of the backfield in this class.
He has big-play, breakaway ability—and he had a pretty nice Senior Bowl to add onto that. He is a second-round pick right now but could possibly move up to the No. 3 back in the draft if his combine and workouts go well.
His immediate use would likely be in the return game, as a team will likely ask him to channel his inner Joshua Cribbs.
The biggest question surrounding McCluster is if his elite college speed and shiftiness will transfer well into the NFL, considering his small frame.