2024 NFL Draft RB Rankings, Grades, and Profiles

Apr 17th 2024

Hayden Winks

The NFL continues to tell us that running backs are the least important position, aside from special teamers. Just look at the 2025 projected franchise tag: QB ($42M), WR ($25M), OL ($25M), EDGE ($24M), DT ($22M), CB ($20M), S ($19M), TE ($14M), and RB ($13M). Saquon Barkley signed for $12.5M/year this offseason. Mediocre slot WR Darnell Mooney and low-end X receiver Gabe Davis signed for $13M/year. It's hard to get an early Round 2 grade or higher even for the stud RBs ... and in this class, there just isn't that high-end talent.

That said, we might be underrating the mid rounds of this RB class. The production profiles are historically bad, but on tape, I saw functional role players. There's a very clear weakness for every player, yet I can see some traits translating to a power-only or speed-only role. That's okay with most teams committing to a tandem backfield. Here are my rankings, grades, comps, and projected roles for the 2024 RB NFL Draft Class.

RB1 Jonathon Brooks (Grade: Late Round 2)

  • RB Model: 84th percentile

  • Comps: Matt Forte, Melvin Gordon, Trey Sermon

A 4-star recruit out of high school, Brooks waited patiently behind Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson before breaking out as a junior at Texas (88th percentile age and team adjusted production). Brooks has bellcow traits with light feet and soft hands for a 216-pounder. He caught 28-of-32 career targets, mostly on screens, which led to 81st percentile receiving yards per game among drafted RBs since 2005. There were some one-handed snags mixed in, but more importantly, Brooks has nice pass pro identification and technique. He has average to above average long speed but still breaks off plenty of big runs because of his impressive cutback vision and ability to pick up his feet in traffic. This translates in the screen game, too. While taller than many backs (6'0"), Brooks still can make defenders miss with finesse. He was 3rd in PFF's elusiveness rating and can shed arm tackles because of his size (3.9 yards after contact), but the Longhorn is not a downhill runner with only 8 career under center carries that totaled 1 yard. One!!! His skillset translates more to a zone scheme, where he can dance on the outside or let his vision take over. He was 1st in rush yards over expected on zone runs and was 3rd in SIS's points earned on off-tackle runs. If he can finish runs a little harder and can return from his November ACL tear without hiccup, Brooks can be a three-down player in the NFL immediately with the baseline traits of the classic Round 2 prospect. Pre-draft reports suggest he'll be back for training camp.

RB2 Trey Benson (Early Round 3)

  • RB Model: 77th percentile

  • Comps: Travis Etienne, Lamar Miller, Rashaad Penny

The 4-star high school recruit started his career at Oregon, but a complete knee dislocation and competition for touches sent him into the transfer portal. During his two years at Florida State, Benson was stuck in a committee, maxing out at just 13.5 touches per game as a redshirt junior. Analytically, Benson's 49th percentile age and team adjusted production is worrisome, but his tape, size (6'0"/216), and athleticism are that of a traditional RB1. He's built like an NFL running back with a massive lower half that generates a ton of burst for a 216-pounder. He averaged 5.8 YPC on 3.5 yards after contact last year with multiple 50 yard scores throughout his career. Some came on runs to the perimeter, some on runs up the middle, and some on catches in the screen game. Benson has more power and contact balance than most big-play RBs, but 67% of his carries went towards the outside to take advantage of his 4.39 speed, which is 92nd percentile when weight adjusted. The Seminole isn't overly shifty in his style (22% missed tackle rate), usually opting to win with burst and strong leg drive. It led to the 2nd-best rushing yards over expected on zone runs. In general, Benson's big-play hunting is worth it, but his below-average 42% success rate won't be for everyone, especially with just 13 career under center carries. Benson is fine in the receiving game (58th percentile receiving yards per game) with a few careless drops out in the route, but he was a liability in pass protection because of his blitz diagnosing. For every positive, there seems to be a negative. With only 349 collegiate touches under his belt, Benson still has room for development as long as his knee holds up.

RB3 Audric Estime (Round 3)

  • RB Model: 75th percentile

  • Comps: Chris Carson, David Montgomery, Damien Harris

The impressively built 4-star recruit shined as a true sophomore and junior in Notre Dame's pro style offense. Estime is a powerful rusher who sheds arm tackles while running downhill. Only 37% of his runs came off-tackle and unlike most backs in the class, Estime has experience running under center. His no non-sense style leads to finished off runs and high efficiency; his 54% success rate and +0.24 points earned per carry are the 2nd best in the class. For a 5'11/221 framed back, Estime was able to break off explosives at an impressive rate, partially because he has this weirdly successful jump at the second level to dodge in-hole LBs and crashing DBs. His power and surprising finesse led to a very solid 28% missed tackle rate and 4.3 yards after contact. While not asked to run many real routes, Estime has a perfect catch rate on his 26 career targets. The 20-year-old early declare has a lot to like statistically, including 86th percentile age and team adjusted production, but the big red flag is his timed speed. While not fast on tape, Estime's 4.71 forty (17th percentile) caught me by surprise. He had an 81st percentile vert and 79th percentile broad jump, then ran a 4.61 forty at his Pro Day, however. His 10-yard split at the NFL Combine was in the 45th percentile, too, so it's really his 3rd-level speed that's an issue. That's a weakness I can live with, especially with more teams trending back towards gap runs in the NFL. Grinding out physical yards when linebackers get smaller could be a nice combination.

RB4 Blake Corum (Round 3)

  • RB Model: 71st percentile

  • Comps: Kyren Williams, Zeke Minus 20 lbs, Clyde Edwards-Helaire

A 4-star high school recruit, Corum had three very productive years at Michigan, finishing top-10 in Heisman voting as a junior and senior during their elite CFP runs. His efficiency (4.8 YPC) and big play ability was zapped as a senior after returning from a torn meniscus, but Corum chugged along in the box score. His 91 total yards per game only sits in the 26th percentile, though his 1.8 scores per game is in the 96th percentile. Ultimately, his up-and-down final season is in the 59th percentile when age (23.5 years old) and team adjusted. Corum played behind a strong offensive line under coach Jim Harbaugh, but his vision is seriously unmatched. He plays confident, has almost zero wasted movement, and can find open field multiple lanes over. He's one of the only backs in the class with experience running from under center and can bang in obvious rushing situations. He scored 27 touchdowns because he runs with low pads (5'8"/205) and a north-south style (83rd percentile BMI). Only 5 of his TDs came from more than 5 yards away, but Corum's long speed looked better pre-injury and he at least ran a 4.53 forty at the NFL Combine. Even if he's not a big play threat, Corum projects as a reliable starter to football purists, next to a flashier back. His 10% broken tackle rate and 2.4 yards after contact are quite bad -- the context being he faced 8+ defenders in the box at the highest rate in college football, resulting in 3.5 YPC on 109 attempts -- but there's a chance his elusiveness improves another season removed from knee surgery or in a more diverse offense. He's the only back to average 1.0+ rushing yards over expected on gap runs, gap-pulling runs, and zone runs. His 88th percentile agility drills also have me relatively optimistic, and it helps that everyone seems to love him. Based on his knee injury, heavy collegiate usage, and age, Corum does profile as a rookie contract only player. That's okay at this position.

RB5 Marshawn Lloyd (Round 3)

  • RB Model: 62nd percentile

  • Comps: Unproven Kenneth Walker, D'Andre Swift, Dameon Pierce

Playing at both the fake (South Carolina) and real (Southern California) USCs as a 4-star high school recruit, Lloyd operated as a violent downhill rusher in a primarily gap system out of shotgun. His play style is chaos, which created the highest boom rate of runs in the class but also got him in trouble. Lloyd only hit the designed hole on 57% of his Trojan runs per SIS. When he makes the correct read, he's dynamite. He led the class in yards after contact (4.3) and missed tackles forced (37%) because he has light feet in the cut and power at the contact point. Lloyd's body mass index (5'10"/220) is in the 97th percentile, and he mostly knows how to use it. Unfortunately, his thiccness hasn't played into protection. His career 36 touches to fumble rate flirts with unplayable if it continues, and Lloyd is generally inexperienced in pass pro. These on-field negatives and 26th percentile final college season fantasy points per game are concerns because he's a 23-year-old prospect, but his athletic traits (83rd percentile speed score) are tantalizing if they can be guided in the correct direction. As a rookie, Lloyd will likely have to earn the trust of his coaches and may be limited to an early-down role only. With better poise, he can be a go-to starter.

RB6 Jaylen Wright (Late Round 3)

  • RB Model: 74th percentile

  • Comps: Raheem Mostert, Lamar Miller, Elijah Mitchell

An undersized 3-star recruit out of high school, Wright had a mini breakout season as a sophomore before his 96 total yards per game junior year (43rd percentile age and team adjusted production). He's the Jalin Hyatt of this year's RB class because the Vols offense was so unique that it's sometimes difficult to tell if Wright is really good or if the system is setting him up for success. He routinely faced light boxes and ran right up the middle against them, leading to multiple explosive runs (7.4 YPC). In fact, only 18% of his carries came with 7+ defenders in the box, compared to 26% with 5 or fewer. He was only hit at the line of scrimmage on 33% of his runs. Insanity! On film, he plays with an upright style but can run past angles with ease. He has a decent jump cut in the open field (21% missed tackles forced), but Wright doesn't play with a lot of violence and can be indecisive with his vision. Even though most of his runs were gap runs up the middle, Wright has the classic traits of an off-tackle runner with capabilities on passing downs. He caught plenty of quick-hitting swing passes against man-coverage LBs, saw a few screens as a WR, and was fine enough in pass protection. Wright maxed out at 13.25 touches per game in college but at least weighs 210 pounds with a 38th percentile BMI. It's unclear if he can handle a big workload or run from under center (7 career under center runs), but Wright's 4.38 speed and 99th percentile broad jump was felt in almost every game in college. The early declare averaged 4.3 yards after contact during his age-20 season.

RB7 Will Shipley (Late Round 3)

  • RB Model: 58th percentile

  • Comps: Rachaad White, Kenyan Drake, Ty Chandler

A 4-star recruit out of high school, Shipley received offers from Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and other top schools before committing to in-state Clemson. He started as a freshman, operating as both their goal-line and pass-game running back on top of being a team captain. He kept that all-around role for all three seasons before declaring early as a 21-year-old. Shipley's production tanked as a junior (25th percentile total yards per game) behind PFF's No. 56 out of 72 Power 5 run blocking line. He only ran the ball on the perimeter on 9% off his carries, too, so his yards after contact (2.6 per carry), missed tackle rate (17%), and yards per carry (5.0) look very underwhelming. Shipley has below-average contact balance and his 4.44 forty time doesn't always translate to the field, but he has a well-rounded skillset that likely transitions to passing downs. He ran every route out of the backfield with success, including swings to the flats, angles routes against LBs, and even the occasional downfield wheel route. Shipley's receiving production was in the 67th percentile among drafted RBs, and his Pro Day results (4.44 speed, 38.5 vert, and 63rd percentile speed score) suggest more efficiency at the next level. Shipley still needs some development, however. He needs to get stronger (17th percentile BMI at 206 pounds) to absorb contact better and scan blitzers better in pass protection before graduating beyond a simple pass-catching role. It doesn't hurt that Shipley can return kicks and graduated in three years with a 4.0 GPA.... jk NERD!

RB8 Tyrone Tracy Jr. (Early Round 4)

  • RB Model: 24th percentile

  • Comps: Tony Pollard, Antonio Gibson, Chris Evans

If he hits, Tracy will be a total outlier, but he has my attention. The 24.5-year-old prospect played 6 seasons, and he didn't convert to running back until his super senior season at Purdue. Tracy has classic RB size (5'11"/209) with a fantastic athletic profile. His 4.48 speed is nice, but he lit it up in the other drills; 96th percentile short shuttle, 92nd percentile vert, and 89th percentile three cone. His elite shiftiness translates to his manufactured touches. There are swing passes and screens in his profile if he's stuck in this passing-down only role, but Tracy was a dynamic rusher on his limited opportunities (113 carries). He was 2nd in EPA per carry on a solid 49% success rate because he had a 30% forced missed tackle rate (3rd best in the class). Tracy can float in his cuts and has just enough density and burst to shed some arm tackles at the second level. His running style is a bit chaotic with the potential for development considering his complete lack of experience at the position. That's a pro and con given his elderly draft status. At the very least, Tracy is a unique talent with very fresh legs and the right attitude. His interviews were great and the NFL seems more open to this style player right now in their committee era.

RB9 Braelon Allen (Early Round 4)

  • RB Model: 66th percentile

  • Comps: Less Physical James Conner, Less Shifty Najee Harris, A.J. Dillon

Drafting young early declares (and Wisconsin RBs) has been a winning strategy over time, and Allen checks those boxes. He was an absolute workhorse in different styled offenses (power in 2021-22, then zone in 2023). Allen averaged 106 yards per game as a 17-year-old freshman in the old school Badgers offense, then declared as a 20-year-old after 101 total yards per game and a career-high 28 receptions as a junior. That's 78th percentile age and team adjusted production. His 6'1"/238 frame suggests he's a downhill-only rusher, which he was before 2023, but Allen was put in shotgun on 99% of his junior season carries, many of which were pointed to the perimeter. In fact, his 121 carries attached to an RPO were 4th highest in college football per Sports Info Solutions. On tape, Allen has solid power with just enough burst to get to the 2nd level when an open lane presents itself. He plays lighter on his feet than most in the 97th percentile weight class but also doesn't run with that game-breaking physicality. His long speed is below average and he doesn't offer much agility in the open field. His ceiling seems capped if he stays at this size, but he can eat touches in both rushing schemes and is one of the youngest prospects of the decade. Allen caught 28 passes, too, but almost all were quick throws to the flats or tiny flicks within the backfield. Passing downs aren't his strength, and his pass protection is a weakness. I truly couldn't believe how bad he was at it for a player of his size.

RB10 Bucky Irving (Late Round 4)

  • RB Model: 43rd percentile

  • Comps: Kyren Williams without pass pro, Dion Lewis

We have another addition to Short King SZN, but Oregon used Irving (5'9"/192) on power runs as their lead back. He has a versatile profile because he ran with a little more pop than what his size would indicate. Irving led the draft class with a 56% success rate while running behind the Ducks' strong OL. He has quality stop-start ability that worked in college (34% missed tackle rate), but his burst (3rd percentile vert), long speed (4.55 forty), and open-field shiftiness are below-average compared to NFL passing-down backs. He was still hyper productive as a receiver (85th percentile receiving yards per game) and can run real routes out of the backfield. He just can't hold up in pass protection because of his lack of mass. Irving can play on all three downs and in most situations, but his weekly touch volume is likely held back by his size. Ultimately, he's a Power 5 early declare with 78th percentile adjusted production and a career 6.2 YPC. That's a great bucket to be in. He'll just have to overcome the following: I don't have a single RB prospect in my database since 2000 who was under 200 pounds with a 4.50 forty to go before the 5th round.

RB11 Ray Davis (Round 5)

  • RB Model: 47th percentile

  • Comps: Khalil Herbert, Ke'Shawn Vaughn

The 24.6-year-old played at three programs (Temple, Vanderbilt, Kentucky), allowing him to establish a well-rounded skillset. His breakout season happened as a redshirt junior with Vanderbilt, where he trudged to 1,042 yards on a 4.5 YPC with 29 receptions. Davis was far more efficient at Kentucky last year (5.7 YPC). He had 71st percentile fantasy points per game and 77th percentile receiving yards, but there isn't a standout trait on tape. His stocky, low-centered build creates power on occasion, though 71% of his carries went to the outside so results were mixed. A 43% success rate is cause for concern, especially paired with 6th percentile short shuttle time. He plays more smooth than he does shifty, leading to mediocre 25% missed tackle rate and 3.8 yards after contact. Davis' combination of pass-game work (33 receptions as a senior) and thick build provide more paths to playing time than most without a standout trait.

RB12 Isaac Guerendo (Round 5)

  • RB Model: 53rd percentile

  • Comps: Joseph Addai, Ben Tate, Israel Abanikanda

Off the radar until he ran a 4.33 forty at 223 pounds (99th percentile weight adjusted speed), Guerendo is an inexperienced 24-year-old prospect originally stuck as a backup at Wisconsin. He averaged 76 total yards per game as a redshirt senior at Louisville while again stuck in a committee. His indecisiveness at the line of scrimmage and high pad level at the contact point make him a less dynamic athlete on tape compared to his rare NFL Combine results. He averaged 4.1 yards after contact still while running through some arm tackles. Guerendo can be given home-run threat touches on outside zone carries and pitches to maximize his athleticism, but he's not a go-to player with a well below-average broken tackle rate (19%). There's manufactured touch potential as receiver via screens and swings to the flats, even if his hands are just okay. It's hard to overlook his bottom 4th percentile age and team adjusted production. His explosiveness makes him a flier, especially because he has special teams experience.

RB13 Kendall Milton (Round 5)

  • RB Model: 21st percentile

  • Comps: Brian Robinson Jr., Alfred Blue, Qadree Ollison

A 4-start recruit with offers from every national championship contender, Milton stayed patient at Georgia behind multiple NFL starters. His senior year was his most productive (14 TDs) but still only led to 121 carries and 4 receptions, partially because of a midseason knee injury. Milton has been stuck in an early-down committee role, which would be a massive con if he wasn't at Georgia. The good news is he led the class in EPA per carry, first down rate, and avoided "bust" runs according to Sports Info Solutions. Milton majored in runs to the perimeter (class-high 72% outside the tackle rate), often after pressing the hole to create more space on the outside. His burst and agility looked better before his injury, though his long speed was average at best throughout his career. He's completely inexperienced in the pass game and will have to pass medical tests before competing for carries. Milton is a one cut runner in the open field but has clean feet in tight spaces at the line of scrimmage. Hopefully he can run lower with more wiggle when healthier. In the meantime, his size and power are enough for fall forward yards. His 4.2 yards after contact were 2nd best in the class.

RB14 Jase McClellan (Round 6)

  • RB Model: 15th percentile

  • Comps: Damien Harris, Jordan Howard, Spencer Ware

Stuck behind multiple top-100 picks in Alabama's backfield, McClellan operated as Jahmyr Gibb's power complement as a junior before being the lead back as a senior. He dealt with a foot injury throughout the season and was unable to showcase big play ability. McClellan only had 8% of his carries go for more than 15+ yards and 26% of his carries go for a first down. When he's healthier, he can run with power behind his 82nd percentile BMI (5'10/221), finish off runs forward, and occasionally turn the corner with fine enough burst. McClellan has experience in both schemes but will typically run between the tackles (only 36% of his runs were off tackle). There's nothing sexy about his play style and profile (31st percentile age and team adjusted production), but most Alabama backs hang around the NFL because of their physicality and pedigree. The 4-star recruit didn't have athletic testing due to injury and will have to contribute on special teams to make a roster. McClellan did just that throughout his Crimson Tide career.

RB15 Dillon Johnson (Round 6)

  • RB Model: 17th percentile

  • Comps: David Montgomery, Benny Snell, Isaiah Spiller

He opened his collegiate career in Mississippi State's air raid offense, leading to 36, 65, and 58 reception seasons. His profile flipped at Washington, where he showcased a physical rushing style on 233 carries. Johnson's agility is below average, but he runs with low pad level at the contact point and can finish short-yardage runs well. His vision is his best trait. He can run with patience when needed but more importantly shows no hesitation on cutbacks, helping him earn a strong 52% rushing success rate as a senior. Johnson is comfortable with his hands and in pass protection, even if he's not a dynamic player in space. His 19% broken tackle rate is slightly below average in this class. Overall, Johnson's profile is similar to Kyren Williams, who would struggle in some roles and excel in others.

My Historical RB Grades

My write-ups from the 2022 class and 2023 class are here.