By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303
This week we will cover two of the top running backs in the 2019 NFL draft.
Without question, this class lacks the fervor that last year’s top running back prospect Saquon Barkley commanded. I’m also seeing many mock drafts that don’t even have a running back getting drafted day 1.
That being said, the first running back coming off should be Alabama’s Joshua Jacobs.
Listed at 5’10”, 220 pounds, Jacobs is being talked about as one of the most physical of the backs entering the draft. With his ability to line up in the flat and his blocking skills, he instantly becomes the front runner. Despite that, Jacobs did not participate in this years NFL combine, because he was nursing a sore groin.
Per ESPN’s own Todd McShay, who has Jacobs going #22 to the Baltimore Ravens, “Jacobs is explosive with the big build ideal for a team that loves to grind games out on the ground. More importantly, Jacobs is an accomplished receiving threat out of the backfield, which is something the Ravens haven’t truly had since Ray Rice. Teaming Jacobs with the freakishly athletic Jackson would make Baltimore’soffense more potent.”
Those Alabama running backs, regardless of which one you pick, always seem to have success at the next level. I’m just not too sure if the Ravens will pull the trigger on him in the first round.
The second running back most believe will come off the board gets a little tricky. It’s pretty much a split decision. Some mocks have Josh Jacob’s teammate Damien Harris, while others have David Montgomery out of Iowa.
First up is Damien Harris. Harris is 5’10” and 216 pounds. It seems to me that he’ll have the most to prove. Alabama had a rotation of 3 different running backs, so he didn’t get to see a lot of time.
According to Sports Illustrated, “Harris has really good field vision and his North-South running style is top-notch. Squares his body up and hits [the] hole quickly. Later 2nd to 3rd NFL draft grade.” Like I said earlier, he’s from Alabama, so whichever round he’s taken in, I have no doubt that Harris will have success at the next level.
Next is Iowa’s David Montgomery. Montgomery is 5’10” and 222 pounds. Montgomery is considered the most versatile running back in this group. Has great hands coming out of the backfield.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah thinks that “He is just fun to watch. He’s one of my favorite players in this draft. I go back through my list and I think I’ve got, gosh, 365 players done. I try to go through and highlight four or five guys at every position where I go, ‘These are my kind of guys.’ …..you want somebody like this, the way they play the game and the passion, there is just something about them I want them on my team. And David Montgomery is one of those guys for me.”
Jeremiah, who has worked for Cleveland, Seattle and Baltimore, went on to say “He’s my third running back. The vision, patience, stops-and-starts quickness. He’s got a lot of natural instincts as a runner. As a pass protector, he’ll miss some cut blocks, that’s an area he can continue to improve and get better.”
As of now, Montgomery is projected to go to the Philadelphia Eagles late 3 or 4th round.
Heading into Nashville, the running back situation is up in the air. There’s a possibility that a running back may not get drafted until the later rounds. But these three players could end up being a big value for the team that drafts them.
Talk the 2019 NFL Draft with Lisa on Twitter @LJ1303