Saturday is a premier day at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine with quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers participating in on-field workouts. Let's take a look at some of the plethora of running backs worth paying attention to.
A running back has not been selected in the first round of the draft since Trent Richardson (third overall, Cleveland Browns), Doug Martin (31st, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and David Wilson (32nd, New York Giants) in 2012. There are two players who could crack the first round are Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin and Todd Gurley of Georgia.
Scott Wright of Draft Countdown wondered aloud during a recent conversation if the Giants would consider a running back with the ninth overall pick. "Would they look at a Melvin Gordon," Wright asked.
That seems unlikely. Perhaps in Round 2, and some think the 6-foot-1, 226-pound Gurley could still be available due to the torn ACL he suffered last season. Gurley reportedly won't run at either the Combine or the Georgia Pro Day.
The 2015 draft class is supposed to be a deep one at the running back position. Even if Gurley is long gone by the time the Giants pick at No. 40 in the second round there should be a number of talented players available.
"This is gonna be a really strong crop of running backs," Wright said. "There is going to be value at running back."
CBS Sports has second- to third-round grades on 10 running backs.
Here are the top five backs according to Mike Mayock's positional rankings:
1. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
2. Todd Gurley, Georgia
3. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska [prospect profile]
4. Duke Johnson, Miami (Fla.) [prospect profile]
5. Tevin Coleman, Indiana [prospect profile]
Colin Linsday of Great Blue North Draft Report is especially high on both Coleman and Johnson.
Of Coleman, Lindsay said:
"Good-sized with world class speed and real big-play ability could very well have been a dark horse Giants candidate at No. 9 if he didn't have a foot problem."
Coleman said that Miami's Johnson reminds him of former Giants great Tiki Barber, and thinks he would be excellent value at 40th overall.
Other players with Day 2 grades we have talked about include David Cobb of Minnesota [prospect profile], David Johnson of Northern Iowa [prospect profile] and Mike Davis of South Carolina [prospect profile].
Jay Ajayi of Boise State and T.Y. Yeldon of Alabama are also players to watch.
With so many quality backs available, it is entirely possible some of the aforementioned players are still on the board when the final day of the draft begins. There are a few other players to watch on Saturday, as well.
Terrence McGee, LSU -- We know Jerry Reese loves players from LSU. Wright says McGee, who carries a fourth- or fifth-round grade, "flew under the radar at LSU."
Karlos Williams, Florida State -- Has had some character issues due to a November 2014 domestic violence incident, which flies in the face of the way the Giants have drafted recently, but has intriguing size at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds and athleticism.
SB Naton's Dan Kadar thinks Williams is a player who will shine at the Combine:
"Williams isn't going to get drafted high -- he could even be an undrafted free agent considering the position depth and character issues -- but there are tools there. He's bigger than most backs and has shown good top-end speed on longer runs. Relative to his 6'1, 225-pound frame, he should test well in several drills. If teams can get past his rawness and determine he's not a character risk, they could have a solid project running back who should be able to be worked onto coverage duties."