The Cleveland Browns had a disappointing season where it began with so much promise and hope but ended with just more dysfunction and change. With the poor season, the Browns completely remade their coaching staff and front office, bringing in Kevin Stefanski at head coach and Andrew Berry at general manager to lead this franchise into the future. The Browns still have a lot of work to do this offseason to fix the roster and get this team back into the mix of contention. The biggest opportunity of improving this roster is through the 2020 NFL Draft.
WFNY is here for you to get you familiar and ready for the 2020 NFL Draft. With this in mind, I will be examining each of the positions in the draft, giving my top five prospects at each position group, while also giving my thoughts on the overall class for each position.
The series began with the most important position on the roster, quarterbacks. I am now turning my attention to their backfield partner, running backs. Here are my top five running backs and my overall thoughts on the running back class in the 2020 NFL Draft.
2020 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings: Quarterbacks
2020 NFL Draft Best Individual Skill Sets: Quarterbacks
1. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
2. J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
3. D’Andre Swift, Georgia
4. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU
5. Lamical Perine, Florida
Best of the Rest: Eno Benjamin (Arizona State), Ke’Shawn Vaughn (Vanderbilt), Cam Akers (Florida State), Zack Moss (Utah), Anthony McFarland Jr. (Maryland) and A.J. Dillon (Boston College)
Which running back do you feel stronger about than most people?
I feel stronger about Lamical Perine (Florida) than most people. I like him so much that he is my No. 5 running back in the class. He offers a three-down back package with strong receiving skills. But, his running ability is what pushes him up my list. He shows solid vision paired with good burst and strong contact balance.
Who is your No. 1 running back in the class and why do you believe he is the best running back?
Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin is my No. 1 running back because he has everything you want in a running back. He possesses exceptional vision and patience to let the blocking develop and then find the hole. He is a great athlete with a combination of size and homerun speed to take a handoff the distance. He shows good contact balance and elusiveness. Taylor also adds solid receiving skills to be a factor in the passing game.
What are your thoughts on the overall running back class? How would you rate the class?
This running back class is excellent. It has great top tier talent at the top with, I believe four backs who separate themselves from the rest. They are Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin, J.K. Dobbins of Ohio State, D’Andre Swift of Georgia, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire of LSU. But, the class also has good depth. Teams will be able to get a solid back in the middle to late rounds.
Who has the best single skill set and what is that skill set?
There are a lot of strong skill sets in the class, but I believe Jonathan Taylor’s vision and patience are the best individual skill sets in the class. He knows his blocking well and is able to stay patient to allow it to develop in front of him. He can also find small creases and has a very wide vision to see the whole field, leading to more opportunities to find space.
Who is a sleeper running back who you are keeping an eye on?
Besides Perine, who I talked about earlier, I think Ke’Shawn Vaughn of Vanderbilt is a bit underrated and a sleeper to this point. He has good speed to break big runs. His cutting ability may be his biggest strength. He pairs his elusive cuts with a strong balance to take on contact and still remain upright and going forward.
What is the impact of this running back class to the Browns?
The Browns may be seriously in the market for a running back if Kareem Hunt leaves in free agency. But, even if Hunt is back next year, the Browns would be smart to grab a running back late in the draft to develop for the future. The depth of the class will allow the Browns to wait later to grab one.