2022 NFL Draft: Ranking the Top 5 Running Backs

The 2022 NFL Draft is just weeks away, and NFL teams are starting to put the finishing touches on their big boards. Hundred of college football‘s brightest stars got the opportunity to show their stuff throughout the process, from the Senior Bowl to the Scouting Combine to pro days.

Now, it’s crunch time, as front offices around the league are compiling their draft strategy. Several teams will be in the market for a running back this time around. While the shelf life for the position isn’t as lengthy as others, it’s undoubtedly one of the most important on the football field.

The upcoming class features multiple big-time talents who can contribute from Day 1. These players are the cream of the crop in the 2022 NFL Draft.

NFL Draft Honorable Mention: Rachaad White, Arizona State

Rachaad White is one of the fastest-rising players in the 2022 NFL Draft. The former three-star recruit enjoyed a breakout senior season at Arizona State. He rushed for 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns on 182 carries. He also caught 43 passes for 456 receiving yards and another score.

The Sun Devils star is one of the most versatile backs in the class. His pass-catching ability could make him an every-down back at the next level. However, he’s not great in pass protection, and his size could limit him in the power ground game. Still, a team with a savvy offensive coordinator could turn him into a star down the road.

2022 NFL Draft prospects Isaiah Spiller and Breece Hall pose during college football games
Texas A&M running back Isaiah Spiller before game against New Mexico | Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images; Iowa State running back Breece Hall celebrates a touchdown against Oklahoma State | David K Purdy/Getty Images

5. Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama

Brian Robinson Jr. doesn’t get enough credit, but what’s new? People have overlooked him throughout his career. He played behind several talented running backs at Alabama before finally getting his chance to shine.

Robinson carried the workhorse role during the 2021 season. He racked up 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns on 14 attempts. The Crimson Tide standout held up through a 14-game season while getting a massive workload. That’s promising for a team looking for a starter.

Given his size, Robinson projects best in a power-run offensive scheme. He’s a downhill runner who forces defenders to often make business decisions. On the flip side, he doesn’t offer as much upside in the passing game. While he caught 35 passes in 2021, that’s not his game. He’ll need to develop more as a receiver, but he could be an immediate contributor as a short-yardage back.

4. Dameon Pierce, Florida

Dameon Pierce is a player who has the potential to be the best running back in the 2022 NFL Draft class when it’s all said and done. He didn’t have the most productive college career, but some things started to click during his senior year at Florida. He rushed for 574 yards and 13 touchdowns on 100 carries. Pierce added 19 receptions for 216 yards and three scores.

Pierce didn’t receive the heavy workload that some of the other guys on this list did. However, it wasn’t for lack of talent. At 5-foot-10, 218 pounds, the Gators tailback has a compact build that allows him to run through initial contact.

One of Pierce’s most redeeming qualities is how he runs the ball with a sense of urgency. There’s no hesitation in his game, but he also displays good vision when finding running lanes. He’s not overly quick, but he’s a solid combination of size and speed. He could be an excellent short-yardage NFL running back with room to grow.

3. Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M

Some NFL draft analysts are torn on Isaiah Spiller’s ceiling, but the kid is a football player. The Texas A&M product was an impact player from the moment he stepped foot in College Station. He racked up 2,993 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns across three seasons. He posted a career average of 5.5 yards per carry.

Spiller is another player who handled a sizable workload in college, which will translate well to the NFL. He possesses a well-built, sturdy frame, perfectly lending to his physical running style.

The junior running back wasn’t very productive as a passer, so the lack of intrigue as a pass-catcher could cause him to slide a bit. However, he does have soft hands, so it’s not like he’s not capable of developing into a receiving threat. Spiller doesn’t possess elite quickness, but he should excel as a playmaking power back at the next level.

2. Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State

Kenneth Walker III was one of the best players in college football during the 2021 season, regardless of position. The Michigan State stud running back gashed opposing defenses throughout the year. He finished with 1,636 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns in 12 games.

Walker arguably should’ve been a Heisman Trophy finalist based on how dominant he was against Power 5 competition. The Spartans star is a powerful runner at heart, but he also exhibits breakaway speed to elude defenders in the open field.

Walker shined at the Scouting Combine, running a 4.38 40-yard dash. His explosiveness and knack for finding the end zone make him will make him one of the most sought-after running backs in the 2022 NFL Draft. He didn’t offer much in the passing game in college, but that’s something he could potentially at to his package.

1. Breece Hall, Iowa State

Iowa State’s Breece Hall is the most complete running back in the 2022 NFL Draft. Many NFL teams are looking for versatility, and he offers just that. Hall enjoyed a highly productive collegiate career at Iowa State. He finished with 3,941 rushing yards, 734 receiving yards, and 56 combined touchdowns in three seasons.

The Cyclones standout possesses the ideal combination of size, speed, and power. He has excellent instincts and vision as a ball carrier. Hall is also an explosive runner who can beat a defense at all three levels. He’s a solid receiver out the backfield, so he’s more than capable of being a three-down NFL running back.

The name of the game is to outscore the opponent, and Hall knows a thing or two about reaching pay dirt. He was a focal part of Iowa State’s offense, so volume won’t be an issue. His biggest area of opportunity is in pass protection. If he can improve in that department, he can be the best running back to come out of the NFL draft class.

All stats courtesy of College Football Reference

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