The 2017 Running Back Class is Turning Into Elite Status

Photo: © Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Plenty has been said about drafting running backs in the first-round and while opinions about it remain mixed, the one thing that has remained constant is that teams are still going to do it no matter the depreciation of value as they continue on into the mid-to-late portions of their careers. There isn't a position that's proven to be more disposable, but for the time being, the NFL is in great hands as far as talent entering and sticking into landing spots.

Thus has been the case with the 2017 crop, the draft value has been glorious in some spots. Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, and Leonard Fournette are three of the top six rushers in the NFL. Alongside, Aaron Jones and Austin Ekeler, who have been pleasant surprises for their teams.

Christian McCaffrey

In what seems like a record setting performance every week, his season to date has been nothing short of incredible. Already up to 1,059 rushing yards and 517 receiving yards this year, he has already become one of the more explosive options in the NFL. Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner has schemed the offense around him and catered it strictly the needs of his talented rusher. With the injuries piling up along the teams offensive line, that hasn't phased him one bit and he continues to put the teams offense on his shoulders.

Dalvin Cook  

After battling injuries during the first two seasons of his career, Dalvin Cook is back and better than ever. Explosiveness is the trait that pops off of the screen with him and he's a threat to take it the distance within the blink of an eye. In Kevin Stefanski's new zone running scheme and with the help of former Super Bowl winning head coach Gary Kubiak, the two have formed a formidable duo. Cook is more successful on outside runs as opposed to ones in between the tackles, but the best trait about him game is his field vision and the ability to shift gears.

Aaron Jones 

After being continuously lost in the shuffle and seeming to be in the doghouse of former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, the new man in charge in Matt LeFleur has found many different ways to incorporate the rusher. His comfort in the passing game has been a welcome addition and an area that many didn't see coming into the season. Jones' ability to anticipate the happenings of plays in front of him is a trait that has helped him scratch towards his overall potential.

Written By:

Jordan Reid

Senior NFL Draft Analyst

Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-Founder of Former QB and Coach at North Carolina Central Univ.