2021 NFL Draft Prospects: Running Backs

By Charlie Campbell.
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The top 2021 running back prospects available for the 2021 NFL Draft. * – denotes 2022 prospect. ** – denotes 2023 prospect.

This page was last updated Feb. 10, 2020. Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.
2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2024 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2025 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

  1. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 200.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.47.
    Projected Round (2021): 1-2.

    2/10/20: For the most part, Etienne played well for Clemson in 2019, showing the speed to break off long gains on any carry. He averaged 7.8 yards per carry for 1,614 yards with 19 touchdowns. He also had 37 receptions for 432 yards and four touchdowns. It wasn’t all been good for Etienne. who demonstrated some ball-security issues against Georgia Tech and North Carolina. The game against the Tar Heels was a rough tape as a blocker and runner for Etienne. However, he came up with a great receiving game to help Clemson beat Ohio State in the opening round of the playoffs. Etienne is a smaller runner who won’t bring a lot of power or yards after contact to the NFL, but he could be a good weapon in a passing offense.

    8/17/19: Etienne is not the biggest of backs, but he runs hard and has quickness to break off long runs. Etienne averaged 8.1 yards per carry in 2018 for 1,658 yards with 24 touchdowns. He also caught 12 passes for 78 yards and two scores. If Etienne can add weight while maintaining his speed, he could rise.




  2. Chuba Hubbard*, RB, Oklahoma State
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 207.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
    Projected Round (2021): 2-3.

    2/10/20: Hubbard took college football by storm in 2019, and he entered the final month of the regular season as the nation’s leading rusher. Hubbard averaged 6.4 yards per carry in 2019 for 2,094 yards with 21 touchdowns. He had 23 catches for 198 yards as well.

    Hubbard lacks elite power and is a bit of a straight-line runner, but he has good vision and feel. Hubbard is a hard-charging back who has good contact balance with instincts. While Hubbard is a former track competitor, he is not a blazer. For the NFL, Hubbard has starting potential and can make some plays in the passing game. In speaking with some scouts, they feel that Hubbard could go in the second round.

    As a redshirt freshman, Hubbard averaged six yards per carry for 740 yards with seven touchdowns and 22 receptions for 229 yards and two scores.


  3. Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 215.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
    Projected Round (2021): 2-3.

    2/10/20: In 2019, Hill averaged 5.7 yards per carry for 1,347 yards with 10 scores. He had 17 receptions for 174 yards and a touchdown too. Hill played well for the Bulldogs, showing power and quickness, but they struggled to help Hill find good running lanes in a number of games in 2019. He has starting potential for the NFL and could stand to improve his receiving ability for the next level.

    8/17/19: Hill showed some major talent during the 2018 season with quickness, strength, and natural running ability. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry for 734 yards with four touchdowns on only 117 carries. He also caught 22 passes for 176 yards and four touchdowns. Team sources have said that Hill jumped out at them and was impossible to ignore.


  4. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 230.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
    Projected Round (2021): 2-4.

    2/10/20: In 2019, Harris averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,224 yards with 13 touchdowns. He had 27 receptions for 304 yards and seen scores as a receiver. Harris flashed at times, but some scouts don’t feel Harris is the same caliber as other recent Alabama running backs like Josh Jacobs, Damien Harris or Derrick Henry.

    Harris is a big back who has some quickness and athleticism for the NFL. Over the past few seasons, he did not run to his size and looked to bounce too many carries to the outside rather than use his power to run behind his pads in a physical manner. Late in 2019, especially against LSU and Mississippi State, Harris aggressively ran downhill with decisiveness. His tape from the back half of the 2019 season will help his future draft grade and definitely made him look like a better pro prospect compared to how he performed at the beginning of the season.

    8/17/19: Harris was a star recruit coming out of high school, and he has flashed a skill set with size, power and speed. As a freshman in 2017, he averaged 6.1 yards per carry for 370 yards with three touchdowns. Alabama didn’t give him a lot of carries because of more experienced players ahead of him like Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough. He was expected to take on a bigger role as a sophomore, but Harris and Josh Jacobs beat out Harris for bigger roles. In 2018, Harris had only 117 carries, but averaged 6.7 yards per carry for 783 yards with four touchdowns. By the time of the 2020 NFL Draft, Harris could rise if he becomes the feature back at Alabama. Some sources don’t think as highly of Harris as the hype suggests.


  5. C.J. Verdell*, RB, Oregon
    Height: 5-9. Weight: 210.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
    Projected Round (2021): 2-4.

    2/10/20: Verdell was a steady producer for Oregon in 2019, ripping off some big runs and having a monster performance against Utah in the Pac-12 Championship game. Verdell averaged 6.2 yards per carry for 1,220 yards with eight touchdowns on the year. He also had 14 receptions for 125 yards. Verdell isn’t a big back, but he has speed and cutting ability.




  6. Jatarvious Whitlow, RB, Auburn
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 210.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.56.
    Projected Round (2021): 2-4.

  7. Trey Ragas, RB, La.-Lafayette
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 227.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
    Projected Round (2021): 3-5.

  8. Anthony McFarland, RB, Maryland
    Height: 5-8. Weight: 193.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
    Projected Round (2021): 3-5.

  9. Kennedy Brooks, RB, Oklahoma
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 209.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.56.
    Projected Round (2021): 3-5.



  10. Jermar Jefferson*, RB, Oregon State
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 214.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.57.
    Projected Round (2021): 4-6.

  11. Malik Davis, RB, Florida
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 194.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.51.
    Projected Round (2021): 5-7.

  12. Brian Robinson Jr., RB, Alabama
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 221.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
    Projected Round (2021): 6-FA.

  13. Billy McCrary, RB, Abilene Christian
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 200.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.54.
    Projected Round (2021): 6-FA.

  14. Spencer Brown, RB/FB, UAB
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 220.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.56.
    Projected Round (2021): 7-FA.

    2/10/20: Brown averaged 3.8 yards per carry in 2019 for 566 yards and five touchdowns. He also made three receptions for 16 yards. Brown is a big back who put up impressive production over the previous two years. In 2018, he averaged 4.5 yards per carry for 1,227 yards for 16 touchdowns. He caught eight passes for 20 yards and a touchdown as well. In the 2017 season, he averaged 5.3 yards per carry for 1,329 yards with 10 touchdowns. Brown may not have the speed to stay at running back in the NFL, but he could gain weight and play some fullback.


2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2024 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2025 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P






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