As your New Orleans Saints prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft, we take a look at the top 10 ranked players at various positions. The 2021 NFL Draft big board rankings are reflective of Bucky Brooks' top five 2021 NFL Draft prospects by position 1.0 and ESPN's NFL Draft "Best Available" list.
Here are the top 10 ranked draft prospects at running back:
2021 NFL Draft prospects - Running back | #1 Najee Harris | Alabama
Overview: Harris is a versatile threat that was a rare case of a backfield rusher who played all four seasons at Alabama. A tall and upright runner, Harris is a blend of power, determination, and versatility as both a between-the-tackles runner and perimeter rushing threat. A comfortable pass-catcher out of the backfield, Harris made strides in his pass-catching ability every season.
2021 NFL Draft prospects - Running back | #2 Travis Etienne | Clemson
Overview: Etienne enters the NFL after a productive college career that resulted in him being the ACC's all-time leading rusher. His burst and contact balance make him a big-play back that is capable of taking it the distance from any part of the field. While he's an explosive back, Etienne is disciplined and doesn't try to do too much and put his team in bad positions. He's grown wonderfully as a receiver and is a nightmare matchup for linebackers in coverage.
2021 NFL Draft prospects - Running back | #3 Javonte Williams | North Carolina
Overview: Williams enters the NFL as an ascending prospect that increased his production every year in college and became one of the most dynamic runners in the nation in 2020. A big, physical, and powerful runner, Williams complements his bruising style with compact elusiveness which leads to frequent broken tackles and production after contact. An every-down threat, Williams is very good in pass protection and as a receiver out of the backfield.
2021 NFL Draft prospects - Running back | #4 Michael Carter | North Carolina
Overview: Carter has terrific vision, burst, elusiveness, receiving skills, and decision-making as a runner that makes him so productive. While he is on the leaner side, Carter is a good inside and outside runner. He does well to make intelligent and timely cuts while blending patience with decisiveness, making his blocks right, and running to daylight.
2021 NFL Draft prospects - Running back | #5 Trey Sermon | Ohio State
Overview: Sermon is one of the hottest running back prospects in football on the heels of an offensive explosion amid the Ohio State Buckeyes' run to the National Championship game. Sermon wrangled the primary ball-carrier duties after splitting the load for much of the season with Master Teague III and has made the most of his opportunities; shredding two high-profile defenses in high-profile games.
2021 NFL Draft prospects - Running back | #6 Rhamondre Stevenson | Oklahoma
Overview: Stevenson originally started his career at Cerritos Junior College (California) where he became one of the top JUCO recruits in the country. A main contributor during his first season in the Sooners offense, he proved to be a viable option. He's a rusher that is an aggressive tempo-setter. He can switch up his approach as a rusher. He can show off his physicality with stiff arms, but also has the nimbleness in short areas to make tacklers miss.
2021 NFL Draft prospects - Running back | #7 Chuba Hubbard | Oklahoma State
Overview: Hubbard is a patient and confident runner that runs well behind his pads. Keeping a low center of gravity, he's a one cut and accelerate runner that's had lots of success in the wide-open Air Raid offense. With adequate vision and the athleticism to take advantage of small spaces, he's a threat that could thrive in a zone-based blocking scheme that leverages angles and relies on quick cuts from rushers.
2021 NFL Draft prospects - Running back | #8 Kenneth Gainwell | Memphis
Overview: Gainwell has good vision, elusiveness, footwork, pass-catching ability, and a surprising amount of power given his build. Memphis featured him as both a runner and receiver and his pass-catching skills should be a big part of his role in the NFL. The Tigers got him involved in the screen game and from the slot, where he features good route-running skills, reliable hands, and creativity in space.
2021 NFL Draft prospects - Running back | #9 Chris Evans | Michigan
Overview: Evans has all of the physical skills necessary to be an impact ball-carrier, but his pathway to the NFL has been marred by some bumps in the road along the way. Evans missed the entire 2019 season due to academic suspension and his return in 2020 was him only used sparingly—so there's a two-year gap between his high-impact play and when an NFL team will need to make an investment in him. But Evans offers the density, contact balance, and cutting ability.
2021 NFL Draft prospects - Running back | #10 Larry Rountree III | Missouri
Overview: Rountree III offers a reliable approach to the position and an effective NFL build to endure the wear and tear of carries against pro defenders, but he's a one-speed runner whose ability to create chunks after contact appears to only be modest. Rountree III doesn't offer a lot of value in the passing game and therefore his ability to serve as a niche back appears to be limited as well.