There are plenty of athletes that will turn heads this year or make an impact on their team in the college game. There are guys who will be excellent college players, but in Devy leagues, we are looking for the guys who will be making impacts at the NFL level. We want the guys that will have their skills translate to the next level. For this series, I will be taking a more detailed look at the top 5 of each position and give a little write-up for each player. I recently tweeted a thread of these guys, but this is a little more in depth. I will be releasing a top 25 for each position soon. As for now, here are the top 5 guys at the running back position, If there is anything you can take from this article, it's that you should try your hardest to leave with at least one of these guys on your Devy squads.
1) Bijan Robinson, Soph., University of Texas, 6'0 222 lbs
My number one running back in Devy right now is the monster from Texas. Bijan has the size to carry a workload and I fully expect Sarkisian to use him to his full potential. Looking at the numbers of what he did last year, efficiency is something that he has done really well. Bijan is efficient on the ground and in the air. It seemed like every time he touched the ball, he was making an explosive play. Bijan shows great vision and feel for the game. He accelerates well and can burst through holes and erase pursuit angles. He has great balance and is able to keep his feet underneath him. He has the wiggle too to make people miss with minimal effort. His dead leg move consistently has defenders stumbling. In the video below, you can see the defense just whiff in real time. However, when they switch to another angle, you can see a subtle and quick jab step that was enough to force the miss. That's what he does best, his little quick moves make it hard for defenders to bring him down.
One knock is that he can be impatient at times. He plays so fast that he sometimes makes a decision before the play develops. I do expect this to correct as he learns develops. He isn't the fastest back in his class, but he has plenty of speed to make explosive plays. Remember, he's only 18 years old. The future is bright and I expect Bijan to solidify his name as the next great Texas running back.
2) Breece Hall, Junior, Iowa State University, 6'1 216 lbs
Makes his money with patience. Willing to sit back and let the play develop around him and read what's going on. I wouldn't say this as his comp, but watching his patience kind of reminds me of a Lev Bell with the Steelers. One of my favorite things about Hall is that while he waits for the play to develop, he continuously checks where the play and the hole is going to be. His eyes are looking at the second level while he assesses his blocks. In this clip, we can see he shows a little patience. He steps up, sees the cut back lane, and bursts through. He then makes a guy miss with a dead leg move and bursts for a big gain.
One thing that I think he can work on is pass protection. He just doesn't seem to care much about blocking. I know that in college these guys aren't asked to block a lot, but if he showed a little more effort in that regard I think he would be hard to take out of 3rd downs at the next level. Does not shy away from contact, but would rather make a move to make defenders miss. Great burst when he sees a hole. Great dead leg move. Likes to use a spin move in traffic. Has great burst to erase pursuit angles. Im really excited about him and his skills for the next level.
3) Isaiah Spiller, Junior, Texas A&M, 6'1 225 lbs
The distance between Breece and Spiller is close. More of a 2A/2B situation than one being better than the other. They have a different skill set, but are both going to be awesome at the next level. Spiller shows great receiving skills. He catches with soft hands and can make people miss. He gets what he can take when running the ball and doesn't try to do too much or lose yards. He doesn’t search for contact, instead he will try and make a move to gain more. Great vision and feel for the hole. Receiving is his best asset. Wasn't used for pass pro, instead he was sent out of the backfield on routes and lined up all around the field. In the tweet below, you can see what I mean. The first play he sees the hole and hits it. Nice solid run of about 5 or 6 yards. He doesn't over think or try to do too much, he just does his job and gets the yards. On the reception, it looks like a busted play, but he's smooth with the catch and run.
4) Jahmyr Gibbs, Soph., Georgia Tech, 5'11 200 lbs
Jahmyr Gibbs is a guy that can move up my draft board really quickly. He's got the frame that I like in running backs and his running style is smooth. My buddy and fellow dev guy, Logan (@LDixon_22 on twitter) has said that Gibbs reminds him of Kamara in the way they run the ball. He is very efficient with his moves. Rare;y gets tackled on the first attempt. I love his receiving ability. He knows how to adjust his body to catch passes and attacks the ball. He is also a nice route runner. Now, watching the video in the tweet below we can see two plays. In the first clip, we can see him read the block by the right guard and turn upfield for a nice 6-7 yard gain. He didn't try bouncing outside or extend the play. In the second clip we can see him release from the backfield and make a nice catch. He secures the ball and prepares to get hit. This is a guy that has a lot of upside and I am excited to see what he can do.
5) Zach Evans, Soph., Texas Christian, 5'11 195 lbs
Now this is a ranking that many may not agree with. I know people love Tank Bigsby and feel he should be deserving of a top 5 ranking. I am a Texas guy however, and I was able to watch Zach Evans and that Northshore team. Evans dealt with some maturity issues that saw his recruitment change. He landed at TCU and I was excited to see the top two RBs in this class for years to come. Evans is a little less refined than some of the other RBs. But what he lacks in technique, he makes up for it with raw skill. Evans is physical and will punish defenders. He is also pretty quick and elusive. He has a jab step that he employs that is devastating to defenders. One knock I have is because he is less refined, he tends to run into the backs of his OL. He needs to develop more patience and allow the holes to open up. In the play below, we can see that he found the hole and hit it. He was grabbed by a defender but was able to shake off the tackle. He then was able to make a nice juke to make the next defender miss and this opened up the play for a big gain. I expect him to be more patient this season and would not be surprised if he shoots up everyone's rankings. I am planting my flag this season for Zach Evans.
There you have it, an in-depth look at my top 5 RBs. I hope you can make it out of your dev drafts with some of these guys and I look forward to releasing my other positional rankings soon. If you like the content, follow me on twitter @PsychoBo15!