Last year, the smallest hands of the running backs came from the Redskins' Matt Jones, the Falcons' Tevin Coleman, and the Lions' Ameer Abdullah with 8.63 inches.
The consensus top running back in the 2016 NFL Draft is Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, and his weigh-in was impressive. At 6-foot, 225 pounds, Elliott has a thick frame with the size to be a workhorse back. He also tied for the largest hands of any running back with 10.25 inches. NFL evaluators like large hands on their backs as it helps to avoid fumbles. If Elliott runs well in the 40-yard dash and performs well in the field work, that should cement his status as a top-25 pick.
Alabama running back Derrick Henry was almost spot on with his listed numbers of 6-foot-3, 241 pounds. At the Combine, Henry's height was accurate and he was six pounds heavier. Teams generally don't like running backs that tall as it leads to them having an upright running style and taking bigger hits, but Henry's measured-out height was nothing new to scouts. Henry's hand size of 8.75 was smaller than one would expect for a big back. He had some of the smallest hands among all of the running backs.
Arkansas' Alex Collins is a running back who has drawn positive reports from some teams. Collins (5-10, 217) is a thickly built power back who also had a quality hand size (9.25). If Collins can run well in the 40-yard dash, his draft stock could really rise.
Florida running back Kelvin Taylor (5-10, 207) had decent numbers from a height and weight standpoint, but he had the smallest hands of any running back at the Combine. At 8.25, Taylor's hands are not what teams look for. That being said, he didn't have a lot of fumbles while playing for the Gators, and that could be because his All-Pro father Fred Taylor taught him how to control the ball.
Another running back who had smaller hands than expected was Notre Dame's C.J. Procise. The 6-foot, 220-pound back had 8.5-inch hands, the second-smallest of any back in Indianapolis. While that number was disappointing, it wouldn't surprise this analyst if Procise has a strong performance on the receiving plays and runs well in the 40-yard dash.
Indiana running back Jordan Howard (6-0, 230) was a surprise early entry into the 2016 NFL Draft. Howard is a big back who could open some eyes with a fast 40 time. In terms of hand size (9 inches), Howard is more in line with Procise and Henry.
Utah running back Devontae Booker had a knee injury cost him the end of the 2015 season, and that makes his medical evaluation at Indianapolis very important. However during his time off, Booker seems to have added more bulk for the NFL. Booker (5-11, 219) showed up bigger than expected as he was nearly 20 pounds heavier than his listed weight. Booker could be in the running to be the third-rated running back, but his knee injury could hurt his draft stock. He also had hands on the smaller side (8.63).
Texas Tech running back DeAndre Washington was just under 5-foot-8 at the Senior Bowl, but he is very strongly built, tipping the scales at 204 pounds. That was five pounds heavier than he was at the Senior Bowl. Sources say they like Washington's pass-catching skills and third-down back potential, so he should perform well in the field receiving drills. Washington is on the bubble of being draftable, so he needs a strong Combine performance.