NFL Draft News & Analysis

2024 NFL Draft: Most elusive running backs in the draft class

2T87T4J LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: UCLA Bruins linebacker Carl Jones Jr. (4) and linebacker Grayson Murphy (12) try to chase down USC Trojans running back MarShawn Lloyd (0) during a college football game between the UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans on November 18, 2023, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

• USC's MarShawn Lloyd topped the charts in 2023: He forced 0.41 missed tackles per rushing attempt in his lone season with the Trojans, leading the country among draft-eligible rushers.

• Don't sleep on Richmond's Savon Smith and UNLV's Vincent Davis Jr., among others: They were among the most elusive backs in college football in 2023, both averaging 0.35 missed tackles per attempt or better.

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The rapidly approaching 2024 NFL Draft is chock-full of shifty running backs, headlined by USC's MarShawn Lloyd. Here were the 10 best rushers at forcing missed tackles on carries in 2023.

1. MarShawn Lloyd, USC: 0.41 Missed Tackles Forced Per Attempt

Lloyd rushed for 793 yards at South Carolina from 2021 through 2022, averaging 3.4 yards after contact and forcing 0.28 missed tackles per attempt. He had his best season at USC in 2023, leading all draft-eligible rushers in forced missed tackle rate and averaging 4.0 yards after contact. Lloyd rushed for 1,609 yards in college, with 65% of his yards coming after contact.

2. Tyrone Tracy, Purdue: 0.40 MTF/Att

Tracy rushed for 714 yards and forced 46 missed tackles in his first full season at running back. He led all Big Ten rushers in forced missed tackle rate and averaged 4.4 yards after contact (third).

Click here to see Tyrone Tracy's 2024 NFL Draft profile.

3. Savon Smith, Richmond: 0.38 MTF/Att

Smith generated a career-best 58 missed tackles in 2023, giving him 101 missed tackles forced over the past three seasons. Smith ranked top-10 among FCS runners in missed tackles forced and forced missed tackle rate (0.28) in that span while averaging 3.1 yards after contact.

4. Bucky Irving, Oregon: 0.37 MTF/Att

Irving ranked top-five in 2023 in missed tackles forced as a runner (69) and a receiver (21). He recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at Oregon and forced 136 missed tackles in that span (tied for fourth most). Irving averaged 4.2 yards after contact (third), with 63.2% of his yards coming after contact.

5. Vincent Davis Jr., UNLV: 0.35 MTF/Att

Davis rushed for a career-best 757 yards in his lone season at UNLV. He averaged 3.3 yards after contact and forced 51 missed tackles. Before that, Davis rushed for 1,842 yards in four seasons at Pittsburgh and averaged 0.28 missed tackles forced per attempt and 2.8 yards after contact.

6. Jonathon Brooks, Texas: 0.34 MTF/Att

Brooks was in the midst of a breakout 2023 season before tearing his ACL in Week 10. At the time of his injury, Brooks ranked third in missed tackles forced per attempt (0.36) with 60 missed tackles forced (second most). He finished the season with 732 yards after contact, at 3.9 yards per attempt, and forced 13 missed tackles as a receiver (tied for fifth most).

7. Isaiah Davis, South Dakota State: 0.34 MTF/Att

Davis led the nation in rushing yards (4,552) during his college career, finishing with back-to-back 1,400-yard seasons with 70-plus missed tackles forced. Davis ranks second in missed tackles forced since 2022 (151) and averaged 3.9 yards after contact in that span. He forced 11 missed tackles as a receiver on 23 catches in 2023.

8. Otis Weah, Lincoln (CA): 0.34 MTF/Att

Weah recorded 170 missed tackles forced across four seasons, including 42 in 2023. He rushed for 452 yards in 2023, averaging 3.4 yards after contact. All but 32 of his yards came after contact, giving him an after-contact rate of 92.9% (first).

9. Ja'Den McKenzie, Rhode Island: 0.33 MTF/Att

McKenzie spent three seasons at West Chester before transferring to Rhode Island as a graduate in 2023. He rushed for 847 yards, forced 43 missed tackles and averaged 4.2 yards after contact.

10. Terrell Jennings, Florida A&M: 0.33 MTF/Att

Jennings rushed for a career-high 673 yards and 40 missed tackles forced in 2023. He gained 83.4% of his yards after contact (third), averaging 4.6 after-contact yards per attempt (second). He was not used much as a receiver but did force four missed tackles on six catches. Jennings forced 87 missed tackles in his four-year career, averaging 0.26 missed tackles per attempt. He averaged 3.5 yards after contact and gained 72.5% of his yards after contact.

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