2024 NFL Draft: 10 draft-eligible running backs to know

Memphis, TN, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks running back Raheim Sanders (5) rushes in the first quarter against the Kansas Jayhawks in the 2022 Liberty Bowl at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

  • Michigan’s Blake Corum: He earned a 96.2 grade last season, the highest by a Power Five player in the PFF College era. 
  • Ohio State’s TreVeyon Henderson: He returns from a foot injury and will try to recapture his true freshman form.
  • Arkansas’ Raheim Sanders: Despite being a bigger back, “Rocket” is a big play waiting to happen.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

In the 2023 NFL Draft, Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs both were selected within the first 12 picks — the first time that two running backs were selected in the top-15 since 2017, when both Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey went in the top 10.

Will any running backs in 2024 go that high? Here are the 10 backs to watch as we head into the 2023 season. 

Other position groups:

QB | WR | TE | OT | IOL


Blake Corum, Michigan

Corum was arguably the best player in college football last season. His 96.2 grade didn’t just lead all players in the country, it was the best PFF has ever seen from a Power Five player.

Highest-graded seasons by a Power Five player in PFF College era (since 2014)

Name School Position Season Grade
Blake Corum Michigan RB 2022 96.2
Kyle Pitts Florida TE 2020 96.0
Chase Young Ohio State EDGE 2019 96.0
Quinnen Williams Alabama DI 2018 96.0

Corum’s 96 rushing first downs/touchdowns were second-most in the country, behind only Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim, who received 72 more carries. He’s not the tallest at 5-foot-8 but has a strong frame at 210 pounds and possesses elite lateral agility and quickness for the position.

Raheim Sanders, Arkansas

They don’t call him “Rocket” for nothing. Sanders totaled 16 carries that went for 20-plus yards this season, tied for the second most in the Power Five. It’s fair to say that he was elevated a good bit by his offensive line. The sophomore’s 3.4 yards before contact per attempt led the Power Five and ranked third in the country. Sanders is a bigger back at 6-foot-2, 237 pounds but has good speed at that size.

Bucky Irving, Oregon

Irving was one of the most electric backs in the country last season. The sophomore forced a missed tackle on 43% of his attempts, which was second in the country. It was also the fifth-best single-season mark in the PFF college era (more on that later). 

It remains to be seen how Irving fares on an increased workload. The Minnesota transfer’s 157 attempts were tied for 67th in the nation and were only 17 more than his teammate, Noah Whittington. With Whittington also returning, Oregon will likely once again employ a committee approach to its backfield next season. 

Braelon Allen, Wisconsin

Allen has no issues with his workload. His 415 carries and 2,500 rushing yards over the last two seasons lead all returning Power Five running backs. Those also happen to be his first two seasons of college football.

The sophomore's elusiveness can still improve, as his 22% forced missed tackle rate in 2022 tied for 47th among Power Five backs. He is a true workhorse, though, at 6-foot-2, 235 pounds. He will enjoy seeing lighter boxes this season in new offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s Air-Raid offense. Not to mention, he’ll be 19 years old all of his junior season.

TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State

Henderson was dominant as a true freshman, rushing for 1,251 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2021. A broken bone in his foot caused him to miss five games this past season, and he finished with a 73.9 grade. He’s a natural pass-catcher who caught 27 of his 29 targets in 2021 for 312 yards. If he can bounce back in 2023, he could be the top back in this class.

Trey Benson, Florida State

Benson was historically dominant as a tackle-breaker this season. The redshirt sophomore’s 51% forced missed tackle rate didn’t just lead the country, it set the PFF College record.

Like Irving, Benson didn’t see as much of a workload as others on this list. The Oregon transfer failed to crack 1,000 rushing yards after only receiving 154 carries. Even with that low number of attempts, his 79 forced missed tackles were still third in the Power Five to Bijan Robinson and Chase Brown. Both of those players had over 100 more carries than Benson.

Miyan Williams, Ohio State

Williams took the reins as the Buckeyes' top back in 2022 with Henderson battling a foot injury.

Among Power Five running backs, Williams was fourth in forced missed tackle rate (38%), yards after contact per attempt (4.4) and first down/touchdown rate (38.3%). While only 5-foot-9, Williams is a human wrecking ball at 225 pounds.

Donovan Edwards, Michigan

Despite being overshadowed by Corum, Edwards is a star in his own right. The sophomore led all Power Five running backs this season with 7.1 yards per carry. His 87.0 grade was tied for fifth in that same group. When Corum went down with a knee injury late in the season, Edwards stepped up when it mattered most. Against Ohio State, Purdue in the Big Ten Championship Game and TCU in the College Football Playoff semifinal, he ran for a combined 520 yards and averaged 7.4 yards per carry. 

Will Shipley, Clemson

Shipley was very productive as a sophomore for Clemson in 2022, rushing for a combined 71 first downs and touchdowns, eighth among Power Five running backs. He’s not going to break a ton of tackles, as his 17% forced missed tackle rate tied for 57th in the Power Five as well. He’s a decisive runner, though, with good vision.

Frank Gore Jr., Southern Miss

Frank Gore is a future Hall of Fame running back, as his 16,000 career rushing yards trail only Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton all-time. 

His son’s 91.9 grade this year trailed only Corum, Bijan Robinson and DeWayne McBride among FBS running backs. Gore’s 83 forced missed tackles were also the third most in the country. He saved his best for last as well, rushing for an FBS bowl record 329 rushing yards against Rice. He’s a smaller back at 5-foot-8, 195 pounds and plays lesser competition in the Sun Belt, but Gore has the bloodlines and production that makes him worth keeping an eye on.


Safety worth way more than 2 points. Help protect your family with fast, free will.
Sponsor
NFL Draft Featured Tools
Subscriptions

Unlock the 2023 Fantasy Draft Kit, with League Sync, Live Draft Assistant, PFF Grades & Data Platform that powers all 32 Pro Teams

$31 Draft Kit Fee + $8.99/mo
OR
$89.88/yr + FREE Draft Kit