2022 NFL Draft rankings: RB (Part 2)

·16 min read



Editor’s Note: Now, all our premium tools for Fantasy, DFS and Betting are included in one subscription at one low price. Customers can subscribe to NBC Sports EDGE+ monthly ($9.99) or save 20% on an annual subscription ($95.88). And don't forget to use promo code SAVE10 to get 10% off. Click here to learn more!

Statistical rankings below courtesy of PFF and Football Outsiders. Team run block ranking* based on 70 draft-eligible FBS RBs in my database (sub-divisions not included). All other rankings are based on 80 draft-eligible players with PFF grades.

*This is a metric of mine that combines various tools – including FOA’s average line yards, opportunity rate, power rate, and stuff rate, and PFF’s run-blocking grades – to give an all-encompassing depiction of 2021 blocking quality received. This can help show which prospects were in advantageous and disadvantageous collegiate situations (in this case only, the lower the ranking, the better).

14. Tyler Goodson | Iowa | 5093/202

DOB: 11.10.00
RAS: 9.53
2021 PFF grade: 69 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 73
PFF receiving grade: 14
PFF pass blocking: 36
YCO/A: 73
Team run block rank: 42 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 24
2021 zone runs: 226

Goodson flashed immediately after signing as a three-star recruit out of Georgia in the 2019 class, posting 804 yards from scrimmage with 24 receptions as a true freshman. Goodson is a space player, and the getting was good in that regard in 2019. Circumstances would soon conspire against him.

In 2019, Iowa’s starting offensive line featured four NFL players, Alaric Jackson, Tyler Linderbaum, Tristan Wirfs, and Cole Banwart. After that season, Wirfs left to become a first-round pick of the Bucs. The offensive line naturally regressed a bit, but remained solid. But after Jackson and Banwart left following the 2020 campaign, the group around Linderbaum cratered.

Longtime Hawkeyes beat writer Scott Dochterman of The Athletic said Iowa’s 2021 guards and tackles were the worst they’d been in at least 20 seasons. This is how you explain how Iowa had the highest-graded PFF center of all-time in 2021 and still finished with a below-average FBS offensive line overall.

After WRs Ihmir Smith-Marsette (and to a lesser extent Brandon Smith) left for the NFL, opponents no longer respected the ability of Iowa’s receivers to win downfield. Not that Iowa’s accuracy-averse pocket-passing quarterback rotation could get them the ball deep anyway. Iowa’s coaching staff, and I say this with love, failed Goodson through a lack of imagination.

In short: Last year, Goodson was a marked man playing behind a porous line in circumstances where it felt like the defense was receiving play calls in advance. For all Goodson’s skill, he lacks play strength and will go down on first contact. But man is it hard to get your hands on him if you arrive without help. Goodson makes defenders look silly in open space, breaking ankles with violent cuts, and sending would-be tacklers into orbit with his patented spin move.

Goodson is very dangerous in a zone system like Iowa’s -- as long as there is competent offensive line play. He has the short-area twitchiness to cut into developing holes and make the first man miss, and the explosion and long speed to threaten house calls if you make the mistake of letting him find the open field. Goodson improves his odds of reaching that outcome by shrinking the tackling strike zone on defenders and throwing them a knuckleball assortment of faints and direction changes up to the collision point.

When Goodson finds a runway, he's a blur, with 4.42 speed (88th percentile) accessed within his first few steps (86th-percentile 10-yard split). Goodson runs higher in the open field than he does between the tackles, with a narrow base and his shoulders back, like a sprinter. Goodson has a deep grab-bag of moves in the backfield, but downfield it's more of a track meet than a high-speed car chase, because Goodson believes he has the speed to win a race to the end zone against anyone on the field at all times. In college, he was usually right.

There are two things that transcend Goodson beyond most other air backs in this class. He has all-day NFL athleticism, submitting a 95th-percentile size-adjusted RAS composite to the NFL, and he’s one of the best passing-down backs in the class. Most aren’t going to appreciate the breadth of his skill in this area because they'll have difficulty unspooling Goodson from his college situation.

But it’s all there on tape. Goodson is a natural pass-catcher, so much so that you can comfortably line him up in the slot or out wide (a tick more than 12% of Goodson’s career snaps came deployed as an actual receiver). He adjusts to poorly-thrown balls on the fly. Spears balls outside of his frame. Finds soft spots against zone coverage and makes himself available. Consistently separates against man coverage and shows his quarterback his hands.

So very dangerous after the catch. These are Goodson's favorite scenarios, when he’s able to turn up-field with the ball, plot out the quickest-possible path to the end zone, and get-to scootin'. Last year, Goodson caught 31-of-38 targets with only one drop. In the NFL, with a creative offensive staff, this area of his game is going to play up.

Goodson is an extremely underrated pass blocker. He’s written off in this area because of his size, and that’s a mistake. Goodson may lack play strength, but he doesn’t shy from contact and will sacrifice himself to shield the quarterback like Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard. Goodson lacks the muscle for some assignments, but he’ll complete the tasks he’s physically capable of. And it feels like at least once a game he's standing up a stunned blitzing linebacker who has knifed through a gap.

I nicknamed Goodson “Spin Shady” at Iowa because his early-career analytics, when he was playing behind a quality line, suggested a potential LeSean McCoy-trajectory, and because Goodson has the filthiest spin move in this class. Goodson told reporters that, as a kid, his father choreographed footwork and would have him practice spinning off tackling dummies.

Goodson is one of the RB class’s biggest sleepers. He will be better in the pros than he was in college. Goodson has immediate and long-term utility as a receiving-downs back. That's going to get him on the field for half his team's snaps, minimum. And on a zone-blocking team with a good offensive line, I wouldn't put it past Goodson to eventually become a little more than that.

Comp: Chase Edmonds

15. Tyrion Davis-Price | LSU | 6000/211

DOB: 10.20.00
RAS: 8.28
2021 PFF grade: 37
Elusive rating: 51
PFF receiving grade: 47
PFF pass blocking: 1
YCO/A: 56
Team run block rank: 44
2021 gap runs: 105
2021 zone runs: 105

Davis-Price didn’t play much as a true freshman on LSU’s 2019 title team behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire after signing as a four-star recruit. He entered an RB committee formed to replaced CEH during the COVID-shortened 2020 season and split touches. Davis-Price then broke out as a junior when he seized a larger market share, rushing for 1,004 yards. After the conclusion of the season, he declared for the NFL Draft.

Davis-Price is a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust throwback. But he's more interesting than recent garden-variety plodders to enter the NFL like Qadree Ollison because he also possesses legitimate deep speed. Davis-Price ran a 4.48 forty in the pre-draft process that was good for a 79th-percentile Speed Score. Davis-Price slimmed down 10-15 pounds for testing, but typically plays in the 225-range. This hurt his Speed Score percentile a little, but make no mistake, that blazing forty time wasn't a parlor trick. Davis-Price's speed stands out on tape.

I don't rank Davis-Price in the same area where I had Rhamondre Stevenson last class. But I'll put him one level below Rhamondre as a thumper who runs wrapped in electric fencing when he gets rolling downhill. Davis-Price puts a jolt into defenders at the contact point and paints chalk marks around defensive backs who approach high and eat his stored-up speed-to-power.

Davis-Price possesses the one-cut ability to get into the hole, and he does an admirable job getting small during those uncomfortable moments working through congestion. The worst parts about Davis-Price's game are a sluggish approach to the line, a lack of wiggle, and zero receiving utility. He posted a strong 8.28 RAS due to his size/speed combination, but Davis-Price ducked the agility drills. Davis-Price’s game is built on following his blocks and looking for a runway downfield to build up to top-speed.

You can't trust him as a receiver. Davis-Price is tentative on routes beyond the line of scrimmage, and balls have a tendency of gobbling him up and kissing his chest plate. Luckily, you can still squeeze a good amount of passing-down utility out of Davis-Price because he’s one of the class’s best pass blockers, if not the very best. Assignment-sound, looks for work, more than happy to throw his body around.

Davis-Price profiles as an early-down NFL grinder. He’ll get what’s blocked for him, knock the silly out of a few unsuspecting defenders per game, occasionally rip off an explosive run, and provide money-in-the-bank reliability in pass protection. If everything breaks right with his development, he might even hold down a starting NFL job for a few years.

Comp: Devontae Booker

16. Jerrion Ealy | Mississippi | 5081/187

DOB: 08.19.00
RAS: 6.07
2021 PFF grade: 18
Elusive rating: 5
PFF receiving grade: 2
PFF pass blocking: 77
YCO/A: 8
Team run block rank: 28
2021 gap runs: 39
2021 zone runs: 91

Scatback with syrupy-sweet feet that runs with surprising conviction and power for his size. Ealy shows patience behind the line, allowing his blocks to set up. Has a natural feel for veering into creases and hitting the Ant-Man button to get small. Slippery and swivel-hipped. Usually leaves the first man grasping air.

Ealy sets up defenders, stringing together combinations of moves and baiting them into committing too early. Has the lateral agility and burst to bounce it outside. Cuts clean corners around the edge to cancel linebackers out of the play who got sucked too far up-field in initial pursuit. Has a knack for leading defenders into areas where pursuit paths are filled with human wreckage, turning them into Keystone cops when Ealy makes his escape downfield.

Ealy runs low to the ground. Ricochets away from off-angle attempts and keeps the feet churning. His feet are like an assortment of hard breaking pitches, consistently drawing weak contact from hitters. And you aren't taking down Ealy unless you hit him square. Ealy ranked No. 5 last year in this RB class in elusive rating, and No. 8 in yards after contact per attempt, an eye-opening number for a space player.

Ealy has more receiving ability than he had the opportunity to show in college, a hands catcher and a clever route-runner who keeps defenders guessing. He didn't get the usage he probably should have, in part due to play-calling, and in part because Lane Kiffin needed to get Snoop Conner and Henry Parrish Jr. work.

Comfortable testing down the field when deployed as a receiver. Has the ball skills to reel in throws over the shoulder. Ealy has labored to improve as a pass-blocker over the past few years and has made progress, but he lacks the muscle for the job in the NFL and should be kept from this work as much as possible.

Ealy profiles as a change-of-pace NFL RB2. I doubt he'll ever carry the load for an NFL offense, but he has enough receiving skill and rushing utility to carve out a long-term complimentary role.

Comp: Myles Gaskin

17. Tyler Badie | Missouri | 5080/197

DOB: 02.07.00
RAS: 6.34
2021 PFF grade: 19
Elusive rating: 40
PFF receiving grade: 23
PFF pass blocking: 66
YCO/A: 32
Team run block rank: 21
2021 gap runs: 94
2021 zone runs: 174

Missouri plucked the three-star Badie out of New Orleans in the class of 2018. In hindsight, it’s surprising LSU wasn’t more aggressive in identifying Badie as a direct replacement for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Badie is a similar player. A nifty receiver who wins in space.

A four-year contributor, Badie didn't step into the starting lineup until last season, after Larry Rountree had left for the NFL. Badie proved he could stay on the field while handling a starter's workload. He finished No. 3 in the FBS with 1,604 rushing yards and was Mizzou’s leading receiver with 54 catches, good for second-team Associated Press All-American honors.

Badie is very quick and elusive in congested quarters. If he finds his way out of them -- and he'll pull a rabbit out of his hat to do so -- he can scoot downfield quickly with 4.45 wheels. He’s on the smaller side, but that forty showing during the pre-draft process allowed him to finish with an above-NFL-average 100.5 Speed Score that ranks No. 16 in this RB class.

Badie has the agility to create from nothing and enough burst to consistently steal the corner, a skill he showed off early and often at the Senior Bowl. This part of his game will translate to the NFL. Badie runs like his pants are on fire and broke myriad shoddy collegiate tackle attempts. This part of his game likely won't due to Badie's lack of play strength. You could see that in the SEC in pass-pro, where Badie had the requisite heart for the job but not the muscle.

In the NFL, Badie projects as a sure-handed third-down receiving back with special teams utility as a return man. His utility as a runner will play down in the NFL, but at the very least, he's evasive and takes extra-care of the ball (only two fumbles over 513 career carries).
Comp: Michael Carter

18. Kyren Williams | Notre Dame | 5092/194

DOB: 08.26.00
RAS: 4.52
2021 PFF grade: 29
Elusive rating: 14
PFF receiving grade: 5
PFF pass blocking: 45
YCO/A: 16
Team run block rank: 35
2021 gap runs: 99
2021 zone runs: 103

A two-year starter, Williams topped the 1,000/300 receiving marks each of the past two campaigns. He was a Doak Walker semifinalist for his breakout work in 2020 as a second-year freshman. Williams elected to declare for the NFL Draft after this past season as a redshirt sophomore.

Versatility and polished skills are Williams’ two calling cards. He can return kicks, and he’s a technician as a receiver. Williams gives you your money's worth on routes out of the backfield. And he's a legitimate receiver deployed out of the slot. Last year, Williams took 53 snaps in the slot along with 16 out wide. He worked out as both a running back and a receiver at Notre Dame's pro day.

I might even suggest giving him a shot as an NFL slot, but I'm not sure his athletic profile will allow it. At his NFL Combine podium session, Williams told reporters he likens his game to Alvin Kamara’s and could be a similar player in the NFL. After Williams face-planted the athletic tests the next day, it became apparent that he was more like Demetric Felton.

At 194 pounds (19th percentile), Williams ran a 4.65 (38th) with sub-50th-percentile jumps. That showing destroyed his stock, dropping Williams from a possible Day 2 pick into a nebulous draft-stock gray area. As a runner, Williams’ best attributes are burst, agility, and contact balance, with a natural low-center-of-gravity style. Despite his poor testing profile, Williams was able to provide empirical proof of the former two, with a 79th-percentile 10-yard split and a 62nd-percentile three-cone.

Lauded for his effort, technique, and identification skills in collegiate pass-pro, Williams showed out in this area in multiple nationally-televised games in 2021, with -- are we allowed to say this about pass-pro? -- flashy reps against Florida State, Virginia Tech, and USC. Per PFF, over 34 pass-pro reps in those three games, Williams executed all 34 assignments for 100% efficiency. But Williams was tagged for three pressures allowed over a three-game stretch in November against Navy, Virginia, and Georgia Tech.

In part because of his 75.0% pass-pro efficiency in that sample, Williams finished a mere No. 45 out of 80 qualifiers in this RB class in PFF pass-pro grade last year. A quick processor with an encyclopedic recall for assignments and formations, you know he's going to make correct snap-judgements when bullets are flying and get after it. But it's fair to wonder if this area of his game will translate apples-to-apples to a level where his size, play strength, and athletic limitations will be more pronounced.

Williams might have the brains and heart of an NFL starter, but he doesn’t have the build to shoulder a full-time load, nor the athleticism to justify it. Williams is a Day 3 flier for a team that already has a meat-and-potatoes lead back on the roster and is willing to sacrifice big plays for blue-collar reliability at air back.

Comp: Demetric Felton

19. D'Vonte Price | FIU | 6010/210

DOB: 06.02.99
RAS: 9.7
2021 PFF grade: 45
Elusive rating: 23
PFF receiving grade: 75
PFF pass blocking: 40
YCO/A: 36
Team run block rank: 41
2021 gap runs: 49
2021 zone runs: 77

Intriguing small-school prospect with high-octane blend of size and speed. Price ranks No. 5 in this RB class in Speed Score after blazing a 4.38 at 210 pounds. He added sensational splits and above-average jumps, but Price declined the agility drills. This wasn’t a surprise.

Price has an upright, narrow-based, long-strider style. He struggles to quickly change directions without losing speed. That's not his game, but I wish he'd toggle speeds more to provide different looks to defenders. Price is a one-note runner looking for one thing, a clean runway downfield that he can use to build up to top-gear en route to the end zone. When Price breaks tackles, it’s typically because he's run through an arm tackle at or near top-speed.

You can dream on Price a little, picturing him adding weight to his frame while retaining his top-gear. And you know that he'll provide special teams coverage utility early in his career while you develop him. But Price's ceiling is capped because he offers very little on passing downs – unrefined as a receiver and mediocre in pass-pro – and doesn’t make enough defenders miss to truly allow his size/speed combo to shine.

He's a Day 3 dice roll on traits, and I gave his ranking a little bump on the off-chance the light turns on. But Price's self-actualization involves running with a degree of power and conviction we haven't seen yet. He'd also need to improve his patience and vision behind the LOS, a malady for which some doctors, including those who treated Kalen "Mr. Magoo" Ballage, claim there is no cure.

Comp: J.R. Redmond

20. Isaih Pacheco | Rutgers | 5102/222

DOB: 03.02.99
RAS: 8.81
2021 PFF grade: 47 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 78
PFF receiving grade: 32
PFF pass blocking: 24
YCO/A: 53
Team run block rank: 69 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 77
2021 zone runs: 83

Comp: Kylin Hill

Pacheco scouting report

21. Zonovan Knight | North Carolina State | 5107/209

RAS: 5.75
2021 PFF grade: 53 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 12
PFF receiving grade: 28
PFF pass blocking: 28
YCO/A: 28
Team run block rank: 31 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 36
2021 zone runs: 103

Comp: Khalil Herbert

Knight scouting report

22. Hassan Haskins | Michigan | 6017/227

DOB: 11.26.99
RAS: N/A
2021 PFF grade: 2 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 45
PFF receiving grade: 15
PFF pass blocking: 17
YCO/A: 45
Team run block rank: 18 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 186
2021 zone runs: 83

Comp: Gus Edwards

Haskins scouting report

23. Kennedy Brooks | Oklahoma | 5105/209

DOB: 10.08.98
RAS: 5.9
2021 PFF grade: 8 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 8
PFF receiving grade: 71
PFF pass blocking: 46
YCO/A: 9
Team run block rank: 13 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 93
2021 zone runs: 103

Comp: Bilal Powell

Brooks scouting report

24. Max Borghi | Washington State | 5093/210

DOB: 04.23.99
RAS: 7.46
2021 PFF grade: 9 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 18
PFF receiving grade: 52
PFF pass blocking: 27
YCO/A: 29
Team run block rank: 66 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 66
2021 zone runs: 74

Comp: Eno Benjamin

Borghi scouting report

25. Ty Chandler | North Carolina | 5112/203

DOB: 05.12.98
RAS: 8.82
2021 PFF grade: 17 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 19
PFF receiving grade: 48
PFF pass blocking: 37
YCO/A: 13
Team run block rank: 26 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 76
2021 zone runs: 96

Comp: Xavier Jones

Chandler scouting report

26. ZaQuandre White | South Carolina | 6001/215

DOB: 12.21.98
RAS: 4.03
2021 PFF grade: 25 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 2
PFF receiving grade: 18
PFF pass blocking: 55
YCO/A: 2
Team run block rank: 55 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 38
2021 zone runs: 47

Comp: TJ Yeldon

27. Snoop Conner | Mississippi | 5101/219

DOB: 08.01.00
RAS: 6.99
2021 PFF grade: 50 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 69
PFF receiving grade: 21
PFF pass blocking: 67
YCO/A: 68
Team run block rank: 29 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 51
2021 zone runs: 78

Comp: Alexander Mattison

28. Keaontay Ingram | USC | 5115/220

DOB: 10.26.99
RAS: N/A
2021 PFF grade: 11 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 28
PFF receiving grade: 41
PFF pass blocking: 74
YCO/A: 17
Team run block rank: 10 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 61
2021 zone runs: 89

Comp: Chris Ivory

29. Jashaun Corbin | Florida State | 5111/203

DOB: 08.20.00
RAS: N/A
2021 PFF grade: 51 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 35
PFF receiving grade: 42
PFF pass blocking: 14
YCO/A: 3
Team run block rank: 59
2021 gap runs: 100
2021 zone runs: 42

Comp: Deon Jackson

30. Sincere McCormick | UTSA | 5084/205

DOB: 09.10.00
RAS: 3.86
2021 PFF grade: 23 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 71
PFF receiving grade: 50
PFF pass blocking: 22
YCO/A: 66
Team run block rank: 36 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 109
2021 zone runs: 185

Comp: Devin Singletary

Thor's recent NFL Draft work:

Coming Thursday: RB rankings (Part 3)