Rushing production is highly dependent on the blocking ahead of the ball carrier, but running backs can add value on top of good and bad run blocking with their ability to force missed tackles and gain yards after contact.
Here’s a list of the top-five draft-eligible FBS running backs with at least 150 carries in forced missed tackles per attempt in 2018.
[Editor’s Note: To view more of Pro Football Focus’ advanced stats and grades for draft-eligible players, check out our 2019 NFL Draft Guide. All EDGE and ELITE subscribers already have access to the guide, and for those who don’t, you can get your copy for as low as $9.99!]
1. David Montgomery, Iowa State (0.39)
Iowa State’s David Montgomery didn’t wow scouts in Indy with his 4.63 40-yard dash, but his long speed isn’t nearly as valuable as his ability to make defenders miss. He led all qualifying FBS backs in forced missed tackles per attempt (0.39) and ranked inside the top-15 in yards after contact per attempt (3.5) this past season.
2. Devin Singletary, FAU (0.36)
Dubbed “Little Motor” at FAU, the 5-foot-7, 203-pound Devin Singletary makes up for what he lacks in size with his forced missed tackle production. He finished just behind Montgomery in total forced missed tackles (96) and forced missed tackles per attempt (0.36) on the ground, but Singletary did beat out Montgomery in yards after contact per attempt with his 3.9 average on the year.
3. Darwin Thompson, Utah State (0.32)
A self-proclaimed underdog in this class, Utah State’s Darwin Thompson has been overlooked his entire football career despite high-end production on the field. The 5-foot-8, 200-pounder forced 48 missed tackles and gained 765 yards after contact across his 151 carries in 2018, ranking third in forced missed tackles per attempt (0.32) and second in yards after contact per attempt among qualifiers in 2018.
4. Darrell Henderson, Memphis (0.27)
Memphis’ Darrell Henderson is a big play waiting to happen. Only Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams had more carries of 10-plus yards in 2018, and by no means was it easy sledding for Henderson. He forded 41 missed tackles across his 55 carries of 10-plus yards, the most of any draft-eligible FBS running back in 2018. He also ranked fourth among qualifying backs in total forced missed tackles per attempt at 0.27.
T-5. Bryce Love, Stanford (0.26)
Bryce Love didn’t have the year he wanted to have when he returned to Stanford in 2018, but he still put on a show from a forced missed tackles perspective. He ranked tied for fifth in forced missed tackles per attempt (0.26) and tied for 13th in yards after contact per attempt (3.5).
T-5. Nico Evans, Wyoming
Wyoming’s Nico Evans is flying a bit under the radar in the 2019 class, but the 5-foot-9, 211-pound Calif. native brings quite the resume to the table when looking at his advanced stats. He shares the No. 5 spot on this list with Love, forcing 53 missed tackles across his 201 carries in 2018. He also ranked just ahead of Love in yards after contact per attempt at 3.7.