The Cleveland Browns had a really promising 2018 NFL season. And it is now carrying over to the offseason with the incredible activity already done by Browns General Manager John Dorsey through free agency and trades. Even though the Browns do not have a first round pick anymore, the Browns will use the 2019 NFL Draft to continue the development of the team and hopefully catapult the franchise to even higher heights. They still hold eight picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, so there will still be a big opportunity to keep improving the roster.
Here at WFNY, we are going to get you ready for the upcoming draft. In particular, Joe Gilbert and John Colosimo have been examining each of the positions in the draft, giving their top five prospects in each position group, while also giving their thoughts on the overall class at each position.
The series continues with the examination of the running back class. Here is what Joe and John have to say about the top five running backs and the overall class of running backs in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Gilbert and Colosimo’s 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings Series: Safeties, Cornerbacks, Linebackers, Edge Rushers, Interior Defensive Linemen, Interior Offensive Linemen, Offensive Tackles, Tight Ends and Wide Receivers
|Joe Gilbert’s Top 5 Running Backs||John Colosimo’s Top 5 Running Backs|
|1. Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic||1. Derrell Henderson, Memphis|
|2. Elijah Holyfield, Georgia||2. Miles Sanders, Penn St|
|3. Josh Jacobs, Alabama||3. Alex Barnes, Kansas St.|
|4. David Montgomery, Iowa State||4. Mike Weber, Ohio State|
|5. Darrell Henderson, Memphis||5. David Montgomery, Iowa St|
Best of the Rest: Rodney Anderson (Oklahoma), Justice Hill (Oklahoma State), Benny Snell (Kentucky), Damien Harris (Alabama) and Trayveon Williams (Texas A&M)
Which running back do you feel stronger about than most people?
Joe: I love Devin Singletary of Florida Atlantic. I have him as my No. 1 running back in the class. He is the hardest back to tackle in the entire class, with the ability to beat defenders with power, agility, and speed. I do not care about his NFL Combine athletic testing because his film is just too good to overlook.
John: Alex Barnes, Kansas State. This is a guy I went back and forth on, but ultimately after his combine, I did a second round of his film and felt my first pass was too harsh. He is the most athletic back in this class and produced huge numbers last season for Kansas State.
Who is your No. 1 running back in the class and why do you believe he is the best running back?
Joe: As I said above, Devin Singletary of Florida Atlantic is my No. 1 running back in the class. He is always moving his legs and looking to gain more yards. He can win with power, speed, and agility. He avoids tackles well, but he can also take on contact and keep moving downfield. His balance is the key to his success. It is the best asset for any back in the class.
John: I’ll be honest, I really don’t know. I have Derrell Henderson as my top guy, but to me, the “No. 1 running back” in this class is probably just the one that ends up in the best offensive situation/system. I’ll explain below.
What are your thoughts on the overall running back class? How would you rate the class?
Joe: I think it is a solid class, but not one with elite talent. I think the group of top-tier running backs is grouped tightly together with no one heads and shoulders above the rest. This class is not even close to last season’s elite class of running backs. The depth and level of talent was so much better last season. But, this year’s group should produce some starting level running backs.
John: This is a very unexciting class of RB’s. I’d go so far as to say that a large portion of last years RB’s would be above this entire class. There are guys that can get the job done, but that’s about the weakest compliment you could give to a position that is largely dependent on the offense around them anyways. It is bar far the worst position group in this class. Its not close. If you are taking one before Day 3, I think you’ve made a gross miscalculation as a GM.
Who has the best single skill set and what is that skill set?
Joe: Devin Singletary’s balance is the best skill set in the 2019 class. He is able to take a lot of contact and remain upright to gain yards after contact. He can do some elusive moves, while keeping his balance to burst off the move and head upfield. He is just so tough to bring down.
John: Alex Barnes’ all-around athleticism is probably of the most stand out skill-set of this class. He is one of the better athletes to come out this decade at the position.
Who is a sleeper running back who you are keeping an eye on?
Joe: I think Mike Weber of Ohio State is a running back who you should keep an eye on. He has a nice build with a solid combination of vision and patience. His balance is a good asset in his game. He also adds value as a player who can produce as a receiver in the passing game.
John: Since I’ve already called out Barnes in multiple questions I have to copy Joe here, I think Weber could be a really nice pickup on day 3 for a RB-needy team, and he’s almost the forgotten man in draft coverage thus far. His better than expected combine may indicate he is healthier than he has been recently, and his vision on burst is underrated.
What is the impact of this running back class to the Browns?
Joe: Right now, the Browns have no need for a running back because of the stacked room of Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and Duke Johnson. But if the Browns decide to trade Johnson, the Browns could look to nab a running back later in the draft, who they could develop in the unit. They would probably look at a back who can be a productive player in the passing game.
John: Very little impact for the Browns, barring a trade of Duke johnson during the draft. I wouldn’t rule out a late pick being used on one as its usually good policy to pick up one in each draft, however, the room is a bit crowded with the pickup of Kareem Hunt, even if he wont be available until later in the season.