The following runningback prospect rankings are courtesy of CBS Sports. I decided to take their rankings and compare them each to a player in the NFL today, and explain in a few short sentences why i believe it.
1. Trent Richardson - Adrian Peterson
I personally believe Adrian Peterson is the best back in the game. Why? He's complete. There's not a hole in his game. He's fast, quick, elusive, smart, and tough. He can catch, he can block, he's fixed his fumbling problems and for the most part he's a relatively healthy player. Richardson has all those qualities, although he could perhaps use some work on his receiving game.
2. Doug Martin - Matt Forte
When I see Doug Martin run, it's like I'm watching Matt Forte in a different uniform. While Forte is used more in the receiving game than Martin is, once the ball is in their hands, they're styles are extremely similar. Neither of them are big, heavy, between the tackles runningbacks. However, neither of them are opposed to taking a hit either. They're both shake-n-bake, make-you-miss type runners who rely mostly on speed and quickness.
3. David Wilson - Cedric Benson
Watch tape of Wilson, and the first thing you realize is that he runs upright, a no-no for NFL scouts. Watch tape of Cedric Benson and you'll notice the same thing. Apart from that, both of these guys are significantly faster than they appear and also pack a punch with the ball in their hands. They both look to dish out punishment and draw contact.
4. Lamar Miller - Jahvid Best
Speed, speed, and more speed. It's Lamar Miller's weapon and it's Jahvid Best's weapon. Without their elite speeds, neither of these backs present much threat to the opposition. They're both always viable to take it to the house on any given play, and that's what makes each of them so dangerous. They're also somewhat comparable in size as well.
5. Chris Polk - Steven Jackson
If Chris Polk had dreads, it'd be very easy to mistake him for Steven Jackson wearing a Washington helmet and jersey. Jackson runs a bit more upright than Polk, but their styles are virtually the same. Polk isn't the fastest back in the world, but he uses his quick decision making to make elusive cuts to the outside. When that fails him, he makes his defender pay. Both Polk and Jackson are difficult to bring down thanks to their hard, downhill running.
6. Isaiah Pead - DeAngelo Williams
This one's tricky...Pead doesn't resemble many players in the NFL, at least not to an obvious degree. Pead and Williams both have similar speed and mechanics, in that I noticed they have a very comparable stride length. They both hold the ball up to their chests and are typically good about ball security. They're also both very good out of the backfield for screens. The biggest difference in their games is that Williams has much better instincts and is a bit quicker.
7. LaMichael James - Darren Sproles
Easy. Lightening in a bottle. James and Sproles are the same player, they just play on different teams. They're small but explosive, and despite their size they both find ways to be productive. James and Sproles share a unique skillset not often found in the NFL. At Oregon, James used both the speed he possessed as well as football intelligence to become a college superstar. Like Sproles, James is a speed-first back with quick feet and good hands for the receiving game.
8. Bernard Pierce - Arian Foster
The first thing I noticed when I watched Arian Foster is that there's no obvious intangible as to why he's so productive, he just
sort of goes out there and runs his brains out. Then I realized it...footwork and vision. Bernard Pierce and Arian Foster are identical sizes and they both possess, in my opinion, elite footwork and vision. Pierce knows how to get what he can out of the assigned hole, and when his instincts tell him there won't be a hole, he's excellent at bouncing to the outside and striding down the field for big gains. His legs move in unison to Foster's and his running style is a carbon copy of the stud Texans halfback.
If you would like to give me your opinion on these eight runningbacks' most comparable NFL player, I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Thank you for reading and feedback!