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NFL Comparisons For Top 2018 Running Back Prospects

If you missed yesterday’s quarterback comparisons, you can read them here. As I will say for each position, it’s tough to compare certain players, but this is what I came up with based on my evaluations.


Saquon Barkley, Penn State

NFL Comparison: David Johnson

Barkley is probably the toughest comparison to make because he’s a unique, generational talent, but a more explosive David Johnson seems to be the best individual comp. Johnson is a superstar in his own right, but despite being a couple inches shorter than him, Barkley is more powerful, faster, and quicker, which is a scary thought.


Kerryon Johnson, Auburn

NFL Comparison: Le’Veon Bell

David Johnson could also be used for Kerryon Johnson, as the Auburn star runs just like him when you look at the two, but the soon-to-be rookie has a style more similar to Le’Veon Bell with unteachable patience and vision behind the line of scrimmage as he waits for a running lane to open up. Like two of the top current NFL backs in Bell and Johnson, Kerryon could be unstoppable at the next level if he turns into an elite pass-catcher.


Sony Michel, Georgia

NFL Comparison: Tevin Coleman

Scouts and fans got an extended look at Sony Michel this month when Georgia faced Oklahoma and Alabama in the CFB Playoff, and he didn’t disappoint with a combined 29 touches for 320 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winning score against the Sooners in overtime. Michel has a little more wiggle and isn’t quite as fast, but he reminds me of Tevin Coleman because both can run inside or outside and are a threat to take it the distance every time they reach the second level.


Nick Chubb, Georgia

NFL Comparison: Terrell Davis

We would probably be talking about Nick Chubb as a top-15 pick if not for his gruesome knee injury suffered in 2015, but the all-time great Georgia Bulldog (which is saying something) has thankfully bounced back and could crack the first-round in April’s draft. Chubb has great power and vision to break arm tackles near the line of scrimmage and in the secondary, and like the Hall-of-Fame back Terrell Davis, he has underrated acceleration despite a lack of top-end speed. Chubb will undoubtedly run better than Davis’ 4.72 in the 40-yard dash, but Davis played faster than that, and I think Chubb will be able to turn the corner similar to former college teammate Todd Gurley in the NFL.


Ronald Jones II, USC

NFL Comparison: Jamaal Charles

I think Jamaal Charles is one of the most underrated players in the NFL history, so this would be a lofty expectation for Jones. I don’t think it’s a perfect comparison, but Jones has sneaky strength like Charles, and both can (and likely will) outrun the defense if given the chance.


Derrius Guice, LSU

NFL Comparison: Devonta Freeman

Both Derrius Guice and Devonta Freeman are aggressive, contact-seeking runners, but they have great feet to move laterally to make defenders miss. Guice doesn’t quite have the video-game explosiveness or pass-catching ability that Freeman does, but he makes up for it with a size advantage.


Nyheim Hines, NC State

NFL Comparison: Tyreek Hill

After Bryce Love decided to stay at Stanford, there are six running backs worth a pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but Nyheim Hines has a ton of upside, too. The offensive weapon with track-star speed profiles similarly to Tyreek Hill if he was a full-time running back, and like Hill, Hines is also a dangerous returner. He’s one of my early favorites in this year’s class.


Mark Walton, Miami (FL)

NFL Comparison: Lamar Miller

It took me a while to come up with a comparison for Mark Walton, but after first deciding on Knowshon Moreno, I switched it to another former Miami Hurricane in Lamar Miller. When healthy, Moreno was more dynamic and had a nasty stiff arm, so Walton probably fits better with Miller, as both are just solid, all-around backs with a good combination of speed, quickness, and strength.


Kyle Hicks, TCU

NFL Comparison: Jerick McKinnon

He’s not as fast or strong, but I like Kyle Hicks to develop into a nice change-of-pace or receiving back like Jerick McKinnon has in Minnesota. Both players are natural pass-catchers with good elusiveness to make defenders miss, and I think Hicks should get stronger at the next level, which could mean his best play is ahead of him.


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