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NFL Draft stock report: Running back

Ten weeks into the college football season, many college football players have seen their draft stock rise, fall or stay steady. In our latest NFL Draft series, we take a look at some of these prospects.

Today we move to the running back position.

MORE: NFL Draft stock: QB | SEC breakdown | Three-point stance



Recruiting: Foreman and his brother, Armanti, committed to Texas in the summer before their senior seasons, although it was a hectic time as Armanti Foreman considered some official visits before making a decision. However, the Foreman Bros. got it done in June. D’Onta Foreman was a two-star athlete who also had offers from Houston, Illinois, Missouri, UTSA, Texas State, Utah State and Washington State.

Performance: Foreman has rushed 206 times for 1,446 yards with 13 touchdowns, averaging more than 180 rushing yards per game, all team highs. He finished with 341 yards and three scores on 33 attempts in Texas’ 45-37 win over Texas Tech this past weekend.

Farrell’s take: In high school, Foreman was not the beast you see crushing opponents and leading the Big 12 in rushing. In fact, he was thought to be a bit of a throw-in to secure the commitment of his brother. My, how times have changed. The 6-foot, 198-pounder we had as a two-star athlete has turned into a 250-pound monster who has sneaky speed, light feet and can bowl anyone over. As a high school running back Foreman put up monster numbers as a senior, but there were concerns about his speed and change of direction. Oops. We will look very bad on this ranking in the end and NFL scouts are taking notice of a guy who can carry the load and wears down defenses.

Recruiting: One day after taking an unofficial visit in the spring of his junior year, Perine committed to Oklahoma. A childhood Alabama fan, the four-star running back picked the Sooners over the Crimson Tide, Arkansas, Houston, Nebraska, Purdue, TCU, Tennessee and others.

Performance: In six games this season, Perine is second on the Sooners with 475 rushing yards on 88 attempts. He leads Oklahoma with six rushing touchdowns. He did not play in Thursday night’s win over Iowa State.

Farrell’s take: Despite missing recent games due to injury, his play this season and his physical size and nature has scouts more intrigued. Perine is and was a beast with Earl Campbell-sized legs and the power and explosion to run through piles of tacklers. Top-end speed was our biggest question coming out of high school but that hasn’t been a huge issue for him in college. Last season was a slight step down from Perine's amazing freshman year, but that’s to be expected with a talent like Joe Mixon taking carries. Mixon is probably the more talented back when it comes to the NFL, but he has baggage, and scouts like Perine’s power running ability and sneaky quick feet, even out of spread formations.


Recruiting: At the Under Armour All-America Game Fournette picked LSU over Texas and Alabama. The Tigers were considered the favorite for a long time. It got interesting late, though, as the Longhorns and Crimson Tide kept pursuing the five-star running back, but he decided to pick LSU.

Performance: Fournette has played in only five games this season because of injury, but he still has 100 carries for 705 rushing yards, both team highs. The former five-star also has five rushing touchdowns. In a 10-0 loss to Alabama this past weekend, Fournette was held to 35 yards on 17 touches.

Farrell’s take: We were obviously taken with Fournette as he was the highest-ranked running back since Bryce Brown was No. 1 in 2009. I wasn’t thrilled with all the comparisons to Adrian Peterson out of high school because I wasn’t sure he had the same explosion, but Fournette has obviously shown that’s not an issue. After a huge start as a sophomore, teams began to game plan for him and slowed him down last season, and Alabama once again showed he can be dominated when the passing game is not a threat. Despite the poor games against Alabama, though, he’s still the No. 1 running back on most boards and considered a rare talent at the position. The question is, will he fall into a situation like Ezekiel Elliott did in Dallas, or will he be running for his life during his first few years in the NFL like he has to at LSU?

Recruiting: Cook originally committed to Clemson, and one main reason was because he liked how the Tigers utilized C.J. Spiller. After attending the Florida spring game, Cook switched his commitment to the Gators. His final decision came at the Under Armour game when he picked –- and stuck with -– Florida State.

Performance: Cook has carried the ball 196 times for 1,134 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, averaging 5.8 yards per carry and 126 yards per outing. He’s also caught 25 passes for 388 yards and one TD.

Farrell’s take: Cook has a ton of talent and was a guy who proved to us he was a five-star talent the more we watched him during that 2014 rankings cycle. He earned that fifth star during the last ranking and showed signs of living up to it early with his solid first season. Last year, he took it to the next level and was more valuable to his team than anyone else in the country, hands down. This season started off up and down but he has since shown he’s the best threat in the country as a multi-purpose back who can impact the passing game. Will someone value that at the NFL level more than Fournette, who has less ability catching the ball? The gap isn’t that wide.


Recruiting: In May before his senior season McCaffrey committed to Stanford, the same school where his father, Ed, played college football. McCaffrey’s mother, Lisa, played soccer for the Cardinal. Michigan, Ohio State, Florida State, Oregon and many others were also involved.

Performance: McCaffrey has rushed for 980 yards and six touchdowns on 175 carries, averaging 122.5 yards per game. The former four-star has also caught 26 passes for 213 yards and two scores.

Farrell’s Take: No one saw last season coming when it comes to McCaffrey, and if they say they did they are related to him or lying. We loved McCaffrey's versatility out of high school, but we expected him to be more of a slasher/third down guy instead of the workhorse he had been up until this season. However, the injury bug this season has led to durability questions that can hamper any running back that isn’t huge, even if he is sneaky strong and physical. I'm proud of our ranking here of a kid from Colorado who played against average competition, and he could fall right into range here after all at No. 77 overall if he slides to the second round.

Recruiting: Chubb committed to Georgia over Auburn, South Carolina and others in June before his senior season. He committed to the Bulldogs less than two months after Sony Michel pledged to Georgia as well.

Performance: Chubb has rushed 146 times for 691 yards and five touchdowns so far this season, averaging 76.8 yards per game. In a 27-24 win over Kentucky this past weekend, Chubb had 85 yards on 21 carries.

Farrell’s take: Chubb was only two spots away from a fifth star as a recruit. Based on the way he has played in Athens, despite the scary injury last season and some injuries this year, Chubb has clearly been a five-star college back. His injuries this season don’t have anything to do with the knee issue last season, so that’s good news, but he will have to answer questions about durability and his lack of production this year will be flagged even if it is mainly due to an awful offensive line. He could be highly coveted yet highly scrutinized as well if he comes out, and his first round status has been dropped a bit by most.