The 2018 NFL Draft is over and teams are getting comfortable with their new draft picks. The next class of players is getting prepared now for another year of college football. Each position will be analyzed in the coming days. Here are the best 2019 NFL Draft prospects: Running backs.
Myles Gaskin, Washington
Gaskin could have left for the NFL after last season but elected to go back to Washington for one more go at it. One of Washington’s all-time best running backs stands at 5’10” and 203 pounds, which is a solid build for a player looking to make the NFL.
Over his three years at Washington, Gaskin has amassed 4,055 rushing yards and 45 rushing touchdowns. He has helped the Huskies post a 29-11 record over his career, which has included a trip to the College Football Playoff and a separate New Year’s Six Bowl Game in the Fiesta Bowl last season.
He currently should be seen as a day two pick in the NFL Draft at best, but with a good season, Gaskin can get his stock up. Gaskin is a jack of all trades but also a master of none, which may limit his potential.
Damien Harris, Alabama
Like Gaskin, Harris could have gone pro after last season but elected to come back for another season in Tuscaloosa. He had to share the backfield with Bo Scarbrough the last few seasons but just because he’s gone doesn’t mean that the sharing will stop with how much talent Alabama has. Harris is a well-built 5’11” and 221 pounds.
Even with not being a workhorse back, Harris has had two consecutive seasons of 1,000 rushing yards. In his time at Alabama, they have won two National Championships. The Crimson Tide tend to go with the hot hand at running back, whether it is Bo Scarbrough in the College Football Playoff of two seasons ago or Harris at the beginning of last year, so Harris will have to earn every down of playing time with Najee Harris looming.
Harris could end up in the end of the first round if he plays well this season, although he is probably a better fit as a day two prospect. He is more of a quicker running back and teams will see him as a player who could be a part of a “smash and dash” duo in the NFL.
Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
Hill has been a part of some great Oklahoma State teams in his first two seasons in Stillwater. They have two straight 10 win seasons and Hill will be there to help them try to go for three. The junior is 5’10” and 185 pounds and needs to add a little more weight to his frame.
With Mason Rudolph and James Washington not on the team any longer, Hill has to be the focal point of the offense this season. As an important cog in the offense with Rudolph and Washington, Hill rushed for 2,609 yards and 21 touchdowns in his two seasons.
For the NFL Draft, Hill should be looked at as a day two or early day three prospect as of now. This season will help give teams a barometer of how good he can be, as he will have to be more than a change of pace in a pass-happy offense.
Bryce Love, Stanford
In a surprising move, Love decided to return to Stanford to finish getting his degree this season. He is a slight, quick running back standing 5’10” 196 pounds but has proved over his time at Stanford that he can handle a big dose of carries in a pro-style offense.
Fans were excited for Love but did not expect him to fill Christian McCaffrey’s shoes so well in his first year as the workhorse back. He rushed for 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns last season, as he became a Heisman Finalist and All-American. Love hasn’t offered much in the passing game the last few years but is dangerous once he gets the ball in his hands.
Love should expect to be the first running back taken in the 2019 NFL Draft. He has track-level speed and is a threat to take it to the house any time he touches the ball, which will make him a highly coveted player by several NFL teams next year.
L.J. Scott, Michigan State
Scott is a big, physical running back for Michigan State, who has played for the Spartans through the ups and downs of the last few seasons. He stands 6’1″ and 230 pounds but has surprisingly light feet, which has helped him draw the eyes of NFL teams.
The production for Scott doesn’t always match his talent, as he has never had a 1,000-yard season as a rusher. He doesn’t average many yards per carry but Le’Veon Bell only averaged 4.7 yards per carry in his last season in East Lansing. In 2018 Scott’s goal should be to prove that he can get to 1,000 yards and improve his yards per carry.
Day two is where Scott will likely fall as of now. As a bigger running back he will need to prove that he still has the speed and quickness to play in the new age NFL.
Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky
While he does play for Kentucky, Snell has been a productive running back for a good rushing offense. The Wildcats have posted two straight 7-6 records in Snell’s two seasons. He is a power back who is 5’11” and 223 pounds.
He split carries with Stanley “Boom” Williams when he was a freshman, which helped him flash his potential. Last season he carried the ball 262 times for 1,333 yards and 19 touchdowns. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry and teams were clearly focusing on stopping the run, as Kentucky’s pass offense was nothing to write home about.
Snell has the opportunity to be the second running back selected in the 2019 Draft behind Bryce Love. He is good at yards after contact and if he gets a little bit of a passing game this year at Kentucky, he could have a great statistical year.