These players are, in my opinion, the top 5 at their position. They have displayed great attributes of moving on to the next level of becoming an NFL athlete. I have ranked them based on their stats, their impact on the field to win, their NFL readiness/body stature, the conference they play in, and how much of a threat they could be. I also threw in there an honorable mention.
Honorable Mention: Leonard Fournette
Leonard Fournette has played for the LSU Tigers for the past 3 seasons. He absolutely has the body of a grown man and will run right through anyone in his path. He is aggressive and will be an amazing RB in the NFL. Behind a good Offensive Line, he will get 1,000 rushing yards at least. Even though I am praising Fournette and think he is phenomenal, he did not do too well this season because of an ankle injury which kept him out for at least half the season. He ran for 843 yards, on 129 attempts, and for 8 TDs which I think is decent for an average player which Fournette is not. Also, he is a good pass blocker to pick up the blitz. If he was not injured, he would definitely be higher on my list because of his skills. Fournette has the ability to be a great RB in the NFL and I believe he can do it. But will his ankle keep him limited?
#5: Wayne Gallman
Wayne Gallman has played with the Clemson Tigers for the past 3 seasons. He just won the National Championship against Alabama Crimson Tide which, in my opinion, had no contribution to Clemson’s win. Gallman is more of a run to the outside type of RB because he is not very big so he uses his speed to get around defenders. He ran for 1133 yards, on 232 attempts, and for 17 TDs which is okay. He did way better the previous year, but still, has more to prove to be a great RB. He is more of a receiving type RB to me because he has the speed to pass Linebackers and get to the secondary. Plus, I won’t get him on too much because Clemson did pass more than this season than they did last year, so his stats went down. But he does need a little bit of weight added on to him to be effective in the NFL and last.
#4: Donnel Pumphrey
Donnel Pumphrey, I think, should be on this list because of his accomplishments and career at San Deigo State where he played all 4 years of his collegiate career. His ran for 2,133 yards, on 349 attempts, and for 17 TDs which I think is amazing for such a small guy on the field. Donnel is 5 feet and 9 inches weighing at 180 pounds. That tells me right there that no matter the height of the player, the heart is really what matters. He leads the nation in yards and attempts and is a great receiving RB. From 27 receptions, he has gained 231 yards which are not too bad. I think he is like a Darren Sproles that could just do everything in the backfield. The only reason why Donnel is not higher on my list is because of the conference he is in which is the Mountain West Conference (MWC) which I think is not such a competitive conference. Donnel can be a great two combo punch for an NFL team if he had a power runner on one side of the QB and him on the other to be the receiving RB.
#3: D’Onta Foreman
Foreman has spent the last 3 seasons at the University of Texas and this season has been his best. All of his stats have doubled since last season. He ran for 2,028 yards, on 323 attempts, and for 15 TDs which is great. One thing I am concerned about is if he can hold on to the ball and not fumble it. A few times this season he has cost Texas the game because of his loose grip. Other than that, he is a great runner and powerful in his run. He reminds me of Eddie Lacy but when he is at Green Bay not when he was in Alabama. Foreman is big and I think might need to tone up a little to be more elusive and powerful. Overall good RB, just want to see it translate from college to pros.
#2: Christian McCaffrey
Christian McCaffrey has played for the University of Stanford for the past 3 seasons. He is a great running RB, punt returner, and great receiving RB. He can play what is needed to help the team win. He ran for 1,603 yards, on 253 attempts, and for 13 TDs that is not bad but he did way better last season. He can power run and run around defenders to get decent yardage. McCaffrey will be a great RB in the NFL behind a decent line and be a great RB receiver from the backfield when the QB is being blitzed. On 37 receptions he gained 310 yards. He is very fast and elusive to break out for a long run and I believe he has the ability to be a high prospect in the draft and go to a good team where he can thrive.
#1: Dalvin Cook
Dalvin Cook has played for Florida State for 3 seasons. He is an excellent RB with being able to pick up the blitz from Linebackers. He can run up the middle with speed and power and he is a great receiving RB to help the QB from getting sacked. He ran for 1,765 yards, on 288 attempts and for 19 TDs which is good, especially in the ACC. On 33 receptions he had 488 receiving yards for 1 TD which is great receiving wise but TD wise not so good. If you watch him play, you know he is unique and can do great things. He reminds me of Devonta Freeman because of his shiftiness and ability to do everything just in the backfield. Cook, in the NFL, will be great and I expect him to run like a BOSS!!!
I give credit, for the pictures, to Google and the stats to ESPN.