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2008 Running Back Rankings

The top 2008 running back prospects available for the 2008 NFL Draft. More will be added as time progresses. * - denotes underclassmen.

This page was last updated April 8, 2008.

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  1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 211.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.43.
    Combine 40: 4.27.
    Benchx225: 13. Vertical: 35.5. Broad 10-8.
    Projected Round: Top 5 Pick.

    Holy crap. A 4.27? I know his official time was 4.33, whatever that means. The fact remains he was clocked in at 4.27, which is amazing. No one expected him to be that fast. I'm not sure if he makes it past Atlanta now.

  2. Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 225.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.43.
    Combine 40: 4.37.
    Benchx225: 26. Vertical: 33.5. Broad .
    Projected Round: Top 15 Pick.

    If it wasn't for Darren McFadden's 40 time, everyone would be talking about Rashard Mendenhall's. A 4.37 from a 225-pound running back? That's sick. His bench and vertical numbers weren't bad either. Lots of potential here. Mendenhall, who has both size and power (see his attributes), is averaging seven yards per carry through four games in 2007. Mendenhall trampled Indiana for 214 yards on 27 rushes. He has 10 receptions this year.

  3. Jonathan Stewart, Oregon
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 235.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
    Combine 40: 4.44.
    Benchx225: 28. Vertical: 36.5. Broad .
    Projected Round: Top 20 Pick.

    How does a 235-pound man run a 4.44 and leap 36.5 inches off the ground? Jonathan Stewart remains in a battle for the No. 2 running back with Rashard Mendenhall.

    Stewart carried the ball just 15 times at Michigan, but he gained 113 yards and a touchdown in the process. His Jerome Bettis style of running could entice the Steelers or Falcons to draft him early.

    Currently the best big back projected to go in the 2008 Draft. Rushed for 981 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2006. Stewart became a bigger threat in the passing game last year, increasing his receptions from seven to 20.



  4. Jamaal Charles, Texas
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 200.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.34.
    Combine 40: 4.38.
    Benchx225: . Vertical: 30.5. Broad .
    Projected Round: 2.

    Jamaal Charles had a nice combine. He's a third-round prospect who would be a sure-fire second-rounder in a normal year.

  5. Felix Jones, Arkansas
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 207.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.36.
    Combine 40: 4.47.
    Benchx225: 13. Vertical: 34.5. Broad .
    Projected Round: 2.

    I thought Felix Jones would run faster. He didn't really help his draft stock with a 4.47.

    The team that drafts Felix Jones will be getting an excellent running back and kick returner. Gained an amazing 7.6 yards per carry in 2006. Jones should wait until Darren McFadden's gone and he's the sole ball-carrier to enter the NFL Draft, even though he had a higher yards-per-carry average than his teammate.

  6. Chris Johnson, East Carolina
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 197.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.20.
    Combine 40: 4.24.
    Benchx225: . Vertical: 35. Broad .
    Projected Round: 2.

    Good to see Chris Johnson live up to his projected 4.20 time. He was the fastest player at the combine.

    Johnson looked solid in Senior Bowl practice, though his blocking was a bit exposed.

    No, that's not a misprint. Johnson has run a 4.20 in the 40. But can he play football? The 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns he accumulated against Memphis say he can. The 35 receptions he garnered in 2005 agree. At 200 pounds, if Johnson can either match or improve upon his 4.20, he'll be a second-round pick.

  7. Matt Forte, Tulane
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 217.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
    Combine 40: 4.46.
    Benchx225: 23. Vertical: 33. Broad .
    Projected Round: 2-3.

    I liked what I saw out of Matt Forte. He put up great numbers and looked solid in the drills.

    With a questionable supporting staff, Matt Forte still somehow managed to run for 2,127 yards and 23 touchdowns, including 73 yards and a score against LSU. His Senior Bowl performance all but ensures he'll be taken in the first two-and-a-half rounds.

    Recorded four consecutive 100-yard rushing performances in 2006 before missing the final three games of the season with a knee injury.

  8. Ray Rice, Rutgers
    Height: 5-8. Weight: 199.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.47.
    Combine 40: 4.44.
    Benchx225: 23. Vertical: 39.5. Broad 10-1.
    Projected Round: 2-3.

    Ray Rice's weight concerns me, but he looked pretty good in the drills. Like Mike Hart, he's better in pads.

    Rice has shown the durability I questioned, as he carried the ball more than 60 times in the span of five days. His performance against South Florida moves him up.

  9. Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 215.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
    Combine 40: 4.54.
    Benchx225: 20. Vertical: 37.5. Broad 10-3.
    Projected Round: 3.

    Tashard Choice was the best running back at the Senior Bowl, running over defenders while showing quickness. He definitely made himself a candidate for the second round.

    Choice looked great against Notre Dame, compiling 196 yards and two touchdowns on just 26 carries. Choice's size-40 combination is better than Mike Hart's and Ray Rice's.

    Averaged 100 yards per game during conference play, rushing for 1,473 yards and 12 TDs. How will he perform without Calvin Johnson?

  10. Kevin Smith, Central Florida
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 217.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.47.
    Combine 40: 4.43.
    Pro Day 40: 4.47.
    Benchx225: 15. Vertical: 33.5. Broad .
    Projected Round: 3-4.

    Kevin Smith ran a 4.43, sure, but his second attempt at the 40 resulted in a 4.56. Still, I don't think he hurt himself at all at the combine.

    Talk about literally carrying a team - through the beginning of November, Kevin Smith has 1,448 rushing yards, 17 receptions and 19 total touchdowns. His 40 time is solid considering his size. Don't look at his weak conference either; Smith gashed Texas for 149 yards and two scores on 27 carries.

  11. Steve Slaton, West Virginia
    Height: 5-9. Weight: 197.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.42.
    Combine 40: 4.44.
    Pro Day 40: 4.45.
    Benchx225: 19. Vertical: 35. Broad .
    Projected Round: 4.

    His weight and durability were issues going into the combine, and Steve Slaton didn't really do anything to answer those concerns.

  12. Chauncey Washington, USC
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 215.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
    Combine 40: Did not run.
    Pro Day 40: 4.45.
    Benchx225: 18. Vertical: 36. Broad 9-11.
    Projected Round: 5-6.

    Chauncey Washington put himself on the map with a successful Pro Day; he ran a 4.45 and notched a 36-inch vertical at 215 pounds.

    Didn't work out at the combine.

  13. Jalen Parmele, Toledo
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 224.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.54.
    Combine 40: 4.47.
    Benchx225: 19. Vertical: 41.5. Broad .
    Projected Round: 5-6.

    Jalen Parmele chose not to run the 40 at his Pro Day, but managed a vertical jump of 41.5, which is pretty incredible.

    Quietly had a great combine. A 4.47 from a 224-pound running back definitely turned some heads, as did his vertical and bench numbers. Parmele gained 1,511 yards and 15 total touchdowns for Toledo in 2007. He gained 5.5 yards per carry (his season average) against Kansas.

  14. Mike Hart, Michigan
    Height: 5-8. Weight: 206.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.46.
    Combine 40: 4.67.
    Benchx225: 23. Vertical: 32. Broad .
    Projected Round: 5-6.

    Mike Hart didn't put up good numbers, but that was to be expected. He's at his best in pads.



  15. Ryan Torain, Arizona State
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 222.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.47.
    Combine 40: 4.64.
    Pro Day 40: 4.51.
    Benchx225: 21. Vertical: 34. Broad .
    Projected Round: 6.

    Ryan Torain hasn't recovered from the torn ligament in his toe, but he managed to impress at Arizona State's Pro Day, running a 4.51 at 222 pounds.

  16. Allen Patrick, Oklahoma
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 196.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.42.
    Combine 40: Did not run.
    Pro Day 40: 4.55.
    Benchx225: 17. Vertical: 36. Broad 10-0.
    Projected Round: 6.

    For a small running back, Allen Patrick's 40 time wasn't exactly breath-taking.

    I was disappointed to see Patrick hold off on his workouts at the combine.

  17. Thomas Brown, Georgia
    Height: 5-8. Weight: 204.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.43.
    Combine 40: 4.55.
    Pro Day 40: 4.42.
    Benchx225: 25. Vertical: 38.5. Broad 10-6.
    Projected Round: 6.

    Thomas Brown redeemed him draft stock after it dropped in the wake of his poor combine performance. Brown ran a 4.42 and notched a 38.5-inch vertical at his Pro Day.

    Brown had one of the best verticals at the combine. The rest of his numbers are that of a power back, but he's only 204 pounds.

  18. Cory Boyd, South Carolina
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 213.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
    Combine 40: 4.51.
    Benchx225: 25. Vertical: 33.5. Broad .
    Projected Round: 6.

    Cory Boyd has it all. He weighs 214 pounds, runs a 4.51 and catches the ball of the backfield extremely well; Boyd caught 35 passes for 406 receiving yards in 2006.



  19. Chad Simpson, Morgan State
    Height: 5-8. Weight: 216.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.44.
    Combine 40: 4.42.
    Benchx225: . Vertical: 32.5. Broad .
    Projected Round: 6.

    Like Jalen Parmele, Chad Simpson is a guy no one ever heard of who had a solid combine. A 4.42 and 32.5-inch vertical at 216 will put him on the radar. He rushed for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2007, though his competition is very questionable.

  20. Tony Temple, Missouri
    Height: 5-8. Weight: 210.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
    Pro Day 40: 4.47.
    Benchx225: 17. Vertical: 36. Broad .
    Projected Round: 6.

    It doesn't seem like Tony Temple recorded a solid 40 at his Pro Day, but keep in mind he ran that on a slow Field Turf. He also managed an impressive vertical of 36 inches. Temple rushed for 1,039 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2007.

  21. Justin Forsett, California
    Height: 5-8. Weight: 194.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.43.
    Combine 40: Did not run.
    Pro Day 40: 4.62.
    Benchx225: 26. Vertical: 31. Broad .
    Projected Round: 6-7.

    I wondered why a 194-pound running back didn't perform in the 40. Now we know why. A 4.62? Really?

    One can only wonder why a 194-pound running back didn't run the 40.

    I didn't have Justin Forsett high before because he was undersized. That has certainly changed, as he put on 10 pounds of muscle this offseason. Forsett is now a speed back who can break tackles and power through the middle. Forsett also displayed the ability to change direction, gashing Tennessee's defense for 160 yards on 26 carries, which doesn't even include a 49-yard reception. I can't believe how much Forsett has improved his stock.

    Forsett is up higher than he should be because he doubles as an excellent kick-returner. Will take over as Cal's full-time starter with Marshawn Lynch gone. Due for a big year; had 999 yards and 6 TDs in relief two years ago.

  22. Tim Hightower, Richmond
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 226.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
    Benchx225: . Vertical: . Broad .
    Projected Round: 6-7.

    Tim Hightower completely demolished the competition in Division 1-AA, rushing for 1,924 yards and 20 touchdowns. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that he caught 32 passes in 2007. Not bad for a 230-pound back.

  23. Kalvin McRae, Ohio
    Height: 5-9. Weight: 203.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
    Combine 40: 4.66.
    Benchx225: . Vertical: 25.5. Broad .
    Projected Round: 6-7.

    Has an NFL body and the speed to succeed in the pros. McRae rushed for 1,252 yards and 15 TDs, while catching 29 passes in 2006. With another year under Frank Solich and an ever-improving cast surrounding him, McRae is poised for a huge 2007 campaign.

  24. Dantrell Savage, Oklahoma State
    Height: 5-8. Weight: 187.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.35.
    Combine 40: 4.57.
    Pro Day 40: 4.46.
    Benchx225: 13. Vertical: 32.5. Broad .
    Projected Round: 6-7.

    A very disappointing combine 40 at his size. He really hurt his draft stock.

  25. Rafael Little, Kentucky
    Height: 5-8. Weight: 194.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.43.
    Combine 40: Did not run.
    Benchx225: 8. Vertical: . Broad .
    Projected Round: 7.

    Did not run or do the drills.

    I said Rafael Little needed to rebound with a strong senior season, and he's doing just that; through four games, Little has 435 yards, averaging seven yards per clip. Will be a decent third-down back in the NFL.

  26. Branden Ore, Virginia Tech
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 202.
    40 Time: 4.47.
    Projected Round: 7.

    Brandon Ore has declared for the 2008 NFL Draft.

    On a day when East Carolina exposed Virginia Tech as a fraud, Branden Ore was one of the reasons why the No. 9 Hokies nearly fell to a team ranked in the 100s. Ore fumbled the ball in the first quarter and dropped an easy screen pass in the third. He gained just three yards per carry.

    Ore rushed for 1,137 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2006, but struggled at times. He gained less than three years per carry against Miami, Kent State and Georgia. Is that the offensive line's fault or his? On the bright side, Ore caught 18 passes for 214 yards last year.

  27. Danny Woodhead, Chadron State
    Height: 5-8. Weight: 197.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.36.
    Pro Day 40: 4.38.
    Benchx225: 20. Vertical: 38. Broad 10-1.
    Projected Round: 7-FA.

    Danny Woodhead's biggest problem is the fact that he's one of many talented running backs in an extremely deep class at the position. In a normal year, Woodhead would have a great shot at getting drafted. He obviously won't be an every-down back; rather the change-of-pace variety like Garrett Wolfe. At the very worst, he can be a solid kick returner.

  28. Anthony Alridge, Houston
    Height: 5-9. Weight: 170.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.26.
    Combine 40: 4.36.
    Pro Day 40: 4.38.
    Benchx225: . Vertical: 34.5. Broad 11-1.
    Projected Round: 7-FA.

    A 4.36 is great for most people, but Anthony Alridge needed to be quicker, considering his size.

    I don't know how this guy will be utilized in the pros, but he runs a 4.26. That has to count for something. An effective pass-catcher, Anthony Alridge ran for 959 yards and eight touchdowns - all on just 95 carries.

  29. Lex Hilliard, Montana
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 231.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.65.
    Combine 40: 4.68.
    Pro Day 40: 4.66.
    Benchx225: . Vertical: 36.5. Broad 10-3.
    Projected Round: 7-FA.

    Lex Hilliard is a powerful back who put up solid numbers at Montana (1,132 yards, 16 touchdowns as a senior).

  30. Calvin Dawson, Louisiana-Monroe
    Height: 5-8. Weight: 199.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.44.
    Combine 40: Did not run.
    Benchx225: . Vertical: . Broad .
    Projected Round: 7-FA.

    Calvin Dawson did not work out.

    Notched 1,210 rushing yards, 21 receptions and 11 touchdowns last year. Think that was because of weak Sun Belt competition? Then consider his 118-yard performance against Alabama's stout defense. That's 118 yards on just 16 carries.



  31. Lance Ball, Maryland
    Height: 5-9. Weight: 225.
    40 Time: 4.42.
    Projected Round: 7-FA.

    Certainly has the size and speed to make it in the NFL, assuming he can match the 40 time I have. Ball, who splits carries with Keon Lattimore, led the team in rushing with 815 yards and 8 TDs in 2006.

  32. Jamario Thomas, North Texas
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 210.
    40 Time: 4.47.
    Projected Round: 7-FA.

    I'll give Jamario Thomas the benefit of the doubt here. As a freshman, he gained more than 1,800 yards and 17 TDs. In 2006? Just 668 yards and two scores. The North Texas program has decline drastically, so Thomas has absolutely no help in the backfield or up front.

  33. Kregg Lumpkin, Georgia
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 226.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
    Combine 40: 4.64.
    Pro Day 40: 4.57.
    Benchx225: 22. Vertical: 33.5. Broad .
    Projected Round: 7-FA.

    Kregg Lumpkin doesn't have break-away speed, but he can run over people. Managed to rumble for more than 100 yards against Auburn, taking advantage of Thomas Brown's injury.

  34. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Ole Miss
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 219.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
    Combine 40: 4.63.
    Pro Day 40: 4.55.
    Benchx225: 24. Vertical: 34. Broad .
    Projected Round: 7-FA.

    Extremely inconsistent, prospering one week and disappearing the next. Decent 40 time for his size.

  35. Keon Lattimore, Maryland
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 223.
    40 Time: 4.52.
    Projected Round: FA.

    Through four games in 2007, Ray Lewis' little brother has eclipsed the 100-yard barrier thrice. The other time was an 80-yard effort against No. 5 West Virginia.

    Suffered a back injury in April. Will share carries with Lance Ball once again. Totaled 114 rushing yards at Virginia and 119 against Wake Forest. Caught 20 passes.

  36. Yvenson Bernard, Oregon State
    Height: 5-8. Weight: 204.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
    Combine 40: 4.83.
    Pro Day 40: 4.70.
    Benchx225: 12. Vertical: 31.5. Broad .
    Projected Round: FA.

    A 204-pound back with a 4.83 doesn't have much of a shot at the first five or six rounds.

  37. Chris Markey, UCLA
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 205.
    40 Time: 4.54.
    Pro Day 40: 4.69.
    Benchx225: 20. Vertical: 30.5. Broad 9-5.
    Projected Round: FA.

    Had a decent year in 2006 (1,107 yards, 2 TDs) but suffered a stress fracture in his foot in April. What a shame for a player entering his senior campaign.

  38. Amir Pinnix, Minnesota
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 205.
    40 Time: 4.49.
    Projected Round: FA.

    Amir Pinnix was benched after fumbling for the second week in a row against Purdue.

    Should be next in the line of great Minnesota running backs. Pinnix rushed for 1,272 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2006 despite not being the starter until Week 4.

  39. Omar Cuff, Delaware
    Height: 5-9. Weight: 195.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.47.
    Pro Day 40 Time: 4.51.
    Projected Round: FA.

    Doesn't have ideal size, but you can't look past his production - 4,364 career rushing yards at Delaware.

    Check out these cheap football seats. We have it all, from Foxboro to San Diego, from Miami to Seattle. We also have top seats at Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, and Philadelphia Eagles.

  40. L.V. Whitworth, Boston College
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 216.
    40 Time: 4.52.
    Projected Round: FA.

    Decent pass-catcher. Compiled 791 yards and 4 TDs while splitting carries with Andre Callender. He will be 24 by April 2008.

  41. Andre Callender, Boston College
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 204.
    40 Time: 4.49.
    Projected Round: FA.

    Rushed for 633 yards and 3 TDs, sharing carries with L.V. Whitworth.

  42. Marcus Thomas, UTEP
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 213.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.42.
    Combine 40: 4.60.
    Benchx225: 21. Vertical: 30. Broad .
    Projected Round: FA.

    Maintains NFL size and speed, but his lack of production is troubling. Gained just 3.3 yards per carry in 2006. Compiled only nine yards on 11 carries at UAB.

  43. Xavier Omon, Northwest Missouri State
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 228.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.56.
    Combine 40: 4.59.
    Pro Day 40: 4.60.
    Benchx225: 17. Vertical: 38.5. Broad 9-7.
    Projected Round: FA.



  44. Rodney Kinlaw, Penn State
    Height: 5-9. Weight: 197.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.46.
    Pro Day 40: 4.49.
    Benchx225: . Vertical: 38. Broad 9-9.
    Projected Round: FA.





  45. Austin Scott, Penn State
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 222.
    40 Time: 4.52.
    Projected Round: FA.

    Austin Scott finally got going, although it was against a Notre Dame defensive front that surrendered 33 points to Georgia Tech and 31 to Penn State. Scott rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.

    Had multiple chances to win the starting running back job prior to this season, but failed to do so. Very questionable work ethic. Coming off a knee injury, this is his only year to prove himself before the draft.

  46. Mark Bonds, Western Michigan
    Height: 5-9. Weight: 222.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.64.
    Pro Day 40: 4.58.
    Benchx225: 28. Vertical: . Broad 9-5.
    Projected Round: FA.

    Other Pro Day numbers: 6.9 3-cone; 11.77 long shuttle; 4.27 short shuttle.

  47. Lynell Hamilton, San Diego State
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 220.
    40 Time: 4.43.
    Projected Round: FA.

    Look at his size and 40. Why's Hamilton ranked so low? Major knee problems. He has seen his yardage decrease from 1,087 as a freshman, to 819 as a sophomore to just 145 last year.

  48. Micah Andrews, Wake Forest
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 215.
    40 Time: 4.55.
    Projected Round: FA.

    Tore his ACL after a promising start to the 2006 season. Rushed for 256 yards and two TDs in 2 games.

  49. Marcus Cross, Texas A&M-Kingsville
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 210.
    40 Time: 4.48.
    Projected Round: FA.

    Transferred from Utah State to be closer to his wife and child. Compiled 650 yards and 3 TDs for the Aggies in 2006.

  50. Albert Young, Iowa
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 209.
    40 Time: 4.53.
    Projected Round: FA.

    I'm not sure how Albert Young pulled it off, but he averaged just 2.3 yards per carry against a crappy Syracuse team.

    Rushing yardage dropped from 1,334 in 2005 to 779 in 2006. Missed only two games.

  51. Alley Broussard, LSU
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 250.
    40 Time: 4.58.
    Projected Round: FA.

    Alley Broussard has quit the team. Thanks to e-mailer Jonathan Meyer for alerting me.

    Tore his ACL after a promising start to the 2006 season. Rushed for 256 yards and two TDs in 2 games.

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