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2013 NFL Draft Reports: Running Backs
By Matt Horkman

Running Backs

1. Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State
A downhill and violent runner, Bell’s a physical running back capable of handling a significant workload. He always falls forward and runs through would-be tacklers. He does lack the extra gear, and doesn‘t look comfortable as a receiver. He’s a two-down back, but if you can get over his inability as a receiver, you’re talking about a bell cow that will produce in the NFL.

Possible Destinations: Chargers, Colts, Jets, Packers, & Steelers

2. Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
If given the opportunity, Franklin has the ability to be a three-down running back. He runs tough and is an outstanding pass protector. He catches the ball well with his hands and is a very good route runner. He’s a productive, undervalued talent capable of contributing early in his career.

Possible Destinations: Bengals, Colts, Jets, Packers, & Steelers

3. Eddie Lacy, AlabamaEddie Lacy
Lacy has good size, power, and competent speed. However, he played behind an offensive line with three potential NFL starters from this draft alone. The holes he ran through -- particularly against Georgia and Notre Dame -- were big enough for any ordinary running back to exploit. He also lacks the extra gear and doesn‘t create mismatches. Nevertheless, he’s a future starter in the pros that can add a running threat to a pass-happy offense.

Possible Destinations: Bengals, Colts, Jets, Packers, & Rams

4. Stepfan Taylor, Stanford
Taylor is a three-down running back. He breaks tackles and always falls forward. He’s not going to give you much on the outside, but he’s a bowling ball between the tackles. His lack of explosiveness and straight-line speed will scare teams away, but he’s a hard-nosed runner that consistently churns out yardage.

Possible Destinations: Broncos, Chargers, Colts, Jets, & Packers

5. Montee Ball, Wisconsin
Ball plays faster than his 4.66 combine 40 indicates. He’s a downhill runner, who decisively hits the hole and runs through tacklers. He’s a decent wide receiver out of the backfield, and agile in the open field. The major red flag is the amount of mileage on his tires. He’s carried the ball 826 times since 2010, so someone may only be looking at one contract with him.

Possible Destinations: Broncos, Chargers, Colts, Jets, & Packers

6. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
Possibly the most gifted back in the draft, Lattimore’s injury history is a major red flag. He suffered back-to-back season ending knee injuries. When he was healthy, he was a physical, explosive runner that could carry a heavy workload. Someone will have to clear him medically, but if he ever returns to full strength, he’ll emerge as a bona fide starting running back.

Possible Destinations: 49ers, Chargers, Colts, Falcons & Jaguars

7. Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State
With good size and vision, Randle offers upside as a mid-round running back. He’s physical enough to get the tough yardage and explosive enough to bounce it outside the tackles. He does lack the final gear and his pad level leaves him vulnerable to nasty blows.

Possible Destinations: 49ers, Bengals, Jets, Colts, & Packers

8. Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
Bernard is an all-purpose back. He’s a good pass catcher and can motion out as a receiver. His speed is underwhelming. You’d expect more from a 200-pound running back that is only 5-8. While he probably won’t support a heavy workload, he’s a solid complimentary option that could serve as a return man.

Possible Destinations: Bengals, Colts, Cowboys, Dolphins, & Jets

9. Andre Ellington, Clemson
Ellington makes up for his lack of size, speed, and power with vision, quickness, and toughness. He’s decisive when he hits the hole and plays bigger than his 199-pound stature suggests. He’s not explosive in space and he must become a better pass protector. Without the latter, he’ll have a hard time getting on the field as a third-down running back.

Possible Destinations: Chargers, Colts, Dolphins, Packers, & Steelers

10. Knile Davis, Arkansas
Davis offers an excellent combination of speed and thickness at 227 pounds. He’s a bit of a workout warrior. He blew up the combine with a strong 40 (sub 4.40) and 30-plus reps of 225 pounds on the bench. He has a history of injuries, but there’s a lot of raw ability to develop.

Possible Destinations: 49ers, Cowboys, Falcons, Jaguars, & Rams

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