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Ranking 15 running backs for the Eagles in the 2023 NFL Draft

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 02 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Full disclaimer: as some of you may know, I am from England, so I do not watch any college football during the season and I go into this process with absolutely no preconceptions about who I’m about to watch. I watch at least three games of each player I rank, but I cannot share any film with you here because sharing college All22 online is dangerous and I do not want to be blocked!

These rankings are based on how I think these prospects would fit the Eagles' scheme or who I want the most based on who the Eagles already have at a certain position. This is very important, so please keep this in mind! Therefore, sometimes I may have one player above another, even if I think the other player is a better overall prospect. If a player isn’t on this list, I haven’t watched them yet! I have also put them into tiers because sometimes there isn’t a lot of difference between prospects, and I find the tiers useful to separate players.


Tier 1

1. Bijan Robinson, Texas

This may sound weird but I was blown away by Robinson’s consistency more than anything else. I just don’t see a real weakness, he can do everything well. Robinson is a very consistent runner, who has great elusiveness and can make defenders miss like a smaller back, despite being 220 lbs. He is as shifty as they come and has elite stop/start acceleration which he uses to glide past defenders. He’s a 3-down back from day one who excels in the passing game as well. He’s going to be very good at the next level, although I would probably rank him slightly below the elite over the past few years (such as SaQuon Barkley) as I don’t think he has the ‘very elite’ top-end speed or power. But he might be a more consistent overall back.

Eagles Thoughts: I don’t think the Eagles intend to ever take a running back in the 1st, but if Robinson is there in the middle of the 1st round and they trade back, you almost certainly have to consider him. This offense is elite already but an actual top running back could take it to another level. I would not say no...

Tier 2

2. Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama

Gibbs profiles an explosive modern-day NFL running back who you want to give 10-14 carries and 6-8 targets to a game. He’s extremely creative and can drop his weight and stop on a dime with quick footwork to make defenders miss in space. He wins in the passing game and will be a nightmare for linebackers to handle in coverage. He’s not your prototype 3-down back and won’t run over many NFL defenders but he’s good enough to find a significant role on an offense.

Eagles Thoughts: The Eagles don’t seem to target their running backs a lot but I think some of that is due to personnel. Gibbs would be an upgrade on Kenny Gainwell as a change of pace back and he would fit with a lot of the zone-run stuff the Eagles do and would be tempting at the back end of the 2nd if he is there.

3. Zach Charbonnet, UCLA

I seem to like him a lot more than others do but I am never sure if that’s a good or bad thing! He has good size, is quick enough and although he is not ever going to be explosive enough to be elite he does everything well with good contact balance. He’s a tough physical runner but there are also I have seen concerns over the quality of tackling in the PAC12! He’s not going to be special but has patience, and power and looks like an NFL back.

Eagles Thoughts: Backs that don’t look ‘special’ rarely go that early in the NFL draft, so I wonder if Charbonnet could fall lower than people think. I have around a 2nd-round grade on him and whilst it may not be the best use of resources, I would love the Eagles to grab him in the 2nd/3rd round and pair him with Penny this year. He could then step in and start next year and also replace Penny when he is inevitably injured. In fantasy, I will be targeting Charbonnet high if he goes to a good spot.

Tier 3

4. Devon Achane, Texas A&M

Achane should find a fit in the NFL as a role player who can provide an offense with some explosive plays on limited touches. He is legitimately fast and shows it on special teams. The film is really good and he shows good vision, good contact balance, and is excellent as a receiver out of the backfield. Hopefully, he lands with a team who will give him touches as a back, receiver, and on special teams.

Eagles Thoughts: I really like him as a player who could help the Eagles out on special teams and as a role player on offense. The 3rd round feels perfect for Achane, but I expect him to go in the 2nd because speed wins in the NFL.

5. Tyjae Spears, Tulane

Spears is a tough evaluation as the production looks like a starter but the size makes him look more like a rotational back with upside as a starting back depending on team and scheme. His film is really, really fun but the injuries do scare me a little. He is explosive back in the open field though. Spears is a good back with good vision, and breakaway speed and is a very competitive runner. The issue he will face is a lack of reps on special teams and a lack of receiving opportunities, despite being an undersized back. He fits more of an RB2/3 early while he develops as a pass catcher.

Eagles Thoughts: I like Spears, but the injury history scares me. I also worry about running backs with an injury history. Still, I would take Spears in the 3rd round because I think the talent outweighs the risk. But I wouldn’t go any higher, despite the fact I really liked the film.

Tier 4

6. Zach Evans, Ole Miss

I didn’t see it as much as others on Zach Evans. He’s a talented runner with good size but I had a few concerns too. He’s a fast, tough runner with big-play ability but I had a few concerns with his vision. He ran into the back of his lineman too often and he has to get more patient behind the line of scrimmage. He didn’t look comfortable catching and looks more like an early-down running back only. He’s a north-south runner who has to work on quite a few areas.

Eagles Thoughts: Based on what I’ve read online, Evans is going to go a lot higher than I have him ranked. I’ll be honest, Evans is a player I had ranked lower than this, but the numbers and athletic profile have bumped him up for me. The numbers such as YCO/ATT and explosive run % are really good so whilst I still think Evans is a huge risk, I think the upside is worth a shot in the 3rd or 4th round.

TaxAct Texas Bowl - Texas Tech v Ole Miss Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

7. Kendre Miller, TCU

Miller is one of the most interesting backs in this class. He has great size and contact balance but doesn’t play like a power-back. He is really elusive and isn’t easy to bring down, but I wanted to see a little bit more physicality from him. He wasn’t used much in the passing game but he seemed comfortable when asked to catch the ball. He won’t blow anyone away with his long speed but his acceleration is really good for a bigger back.

Eagles Thoughts: I really like Miller’s profile as a runner, but I’m not sure I can spend a day 2 pick on a back who isn’t used much in the passing game unless they are special. I would have interest in Miller in round 4 as I think he has high upside, especially as he is only 20 years old. The film as a runner is fun!

8. Chase Brown, Illinois

Chase Brown is a very interesting prospect in this class due to his elite speed and acceleration and big play ability. He has shown he can handle a volume and touches and is a threat to take it to the house at all times. He has an issue bouncing plays outside and won’t break as many tackles as he did at the next level. He also has limited 3rd down value and a career-fumbling issue, but the upside is worth a shot on day 3.

Eagles Thoughts: Brown makes a lot of sense as an early down runner at the start of day 3 because he can use his speed to create some big gains behind an elite offensive line. I have a lot of interest in Chase Brown as a fit for this offense because of his athletic profile.

9. Tank Bigsby, Auburn

Tank Bigsby plays like a power runner but I’m unsure if he has the profile and physicality to be successful with this style. He has good contact balance, good acceleration, and burst but he looks a little tight-hipped and upright to me at times. He is a highly competitive runner who can fight through contact but looks like someone to me who gets what is blocked, rather than being able to create for himself. I am worried about his production profile too.

Eagles Thoughts: Bigsby looks more of a one-cut outside zone runner and I’m not sure he can do everything the Eagles will want him to do. He would be a good backup as an early down back to Penny as he is explosive, but I wouldn’t look his way until day 3. I do think he has upside and I think an NFL team will take him on day 2.

10. Roschon Johnson, Texas

Johnson has a lot of upside in the right situation. He is a bigger back and he plays a bit upright and doesn’t have elite acceleration or lateral quickness. But he has good physicality and can break through arm tackles. He is straight line fast with good contact balance. He feels like more of an RB2 who will provide some power to a backfield. He would provide some physicality to a backfield.

Eagles Thoughts: I like Roschon as a power back and a good pass protector, which the Eagles may feel they need as a backup to Penny depending on what they think of Trey Sermon. I’m not sure he’s a great fit in an offense where Hurts almost acts like the short-yardage back. I wouldn’t take a running back who isn’t explosive until day 3 and see Johnson as a 4-5 round guy, but I do really like him and will be targeting him in fantasy if he lands in a good spot!

11. DeWayne McBride, UAB

DeWayne McBride is a pretty tough evaluation due to playing in a small school. He was an extremely productive runner but was basically never thrown the ball so looks like an early down-back only. He has positives, such as his competitiveness and contact balance, but the weaknesses stack up too. The lack of catching, poor pass pro, lack of top-end speed, and fumbling issues make him more of a project than a safe bet. The film is really, really good I just don’t know how to evaluate him when considering his competition!

Eagles Thoughts: I like McBride another to consider him in the 4th round, but I can’t spend a day 2 pick on a RB who doesn’t catch and came from a small school where he dominated a poor conference. He has upside though, the film as a runner is excellent.

Tier 5

12. Kenny McIntosh, Georgia

McIntosh feels like more of a change of pace back at this point with the upside to be a very useful role player. He wins out of the backfield which means he will have a role on a lot of offenses. He has some work to do as a runner and can be a little upright which means he doesn’t have the natural power that a back his size should have. Still, he is a good height, weight, and speed back who can catch the ball out of the backfield which leaves him with feature-back potential.

Eagles Thoughts: The Eagles didn’t throw a lot to their RBs last year, but McIntosh might provide a different role to the other backs they have. I would consider him a decent pick around the 4th/5th round, as he does flash potential in the receiving game.

13. Sean Tucker, Syracuse

Tucker is an explosive north-south runner who will succeed behind a good offensive line. He runs hard and is agile in tight spaces, with good feet, and looks very well built for the position. He plays like a guy that is bigger than he actually is and that may show up at the next level. He’s an early-down back who doesn’t look comfortable catching the ball and won’t break as many tackles as he did in college in the NFL.

Eagles Thoughts: Tucker would make sense as an early down back as the Eagles didn’t throw it much to their running backs on early downs. He’s another day 3 back with talent but won’t be a starter anytime soon.

14. Isreal Abanikanda, Pittsburgh

Israel Abanikanda looks a decent early down back who is still quite raw in a number of areas. If he wants to play on 3rd down he needs to improve his hands, but he has a really good combination of size and speed that some NFL teams will love. The potential to be a good back is there but he’s quite raw in a number of different areas but at only 20 years old, he could end up as an excellent mid/late-round pick.

Eagles Thoughts: I have a fair few concerns with Abanikanda, but if he lasts towards the back end of day 3 I would certainly consider him around round 5.

15. Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota

Mohamed Ibrahim feels like a bit of a boom/bust late-round pick. He will be 25 in September and has a worrying injury history that has clearly impacted his play. He is a very creative runner with excellent vision, good contact balance, and good power. He could be an excellent early down runner but the injury history and impact on his explosiveness is worrying. He’s not worth a day 2 pick but may be a good flier at the back end of day 3.

Eagles Thoughts: I’m not sure I’d draft someone like Ibrahim until the very end of the draft, but he could be worth a flier at the very end of the draft.

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