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Bijan Robinson Top 3 2023 running backs

College Football’s Top 3 Running Backs Heading into 2022

  • Keith Sanchez
  • June 15, 2022
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Leading up to this past year’s draft, there wasn’t a running back worthy of being drafted in the first round. That was the narrative, anyway. And while running backs like Iowa State’s Breece Hall and Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker strung together great seasons, when it came to the draft, that story line became reality. Hall was the first back selected and it wasn’t until the second round with the 36th overall pick.

But entering the 2022 season, there is a totally different narrative surrounding this coming class of running backs. Early on into my running back evaluations, there are three running backs that I believe to be in great position to be selected in the first round: Texas’ Bijan Robinson, Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs and Ole Miss’ Zach Evans.

RB Bijan Robinson, Texas

Robinson is the odds-on favorite to be the number one running back selected in this year’s draft and seems to be a slam dunk first-round selection as long as he can stay healthy. During Robinson’s sophomore season last year he earned First-Team All-Big 12 honors, rushing for over 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns, while also being an active in the pass game catching game to the tune of almost three hundred yards and four touchdowns. Robinson is an explosive back that has the vision and natural running back instincts to score from any spot on the field. His home run ability combined with his strength and power has all of the NFL community asking not if Robinson goes in the first round but how high he will go.

RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama

Gibbs is a transfer running back from Georgia Tech who was without a doubt the best player on the Yellow Jackets team and since he arrived on campus as a freshman, he had been making spectacular plays that showcased just how special of an athlete he is. At Georgia Tech, a lot of Gibbs’ potential production was muzzled simply because of the lack of talent around him and the flat-out mismatches that would occur when his offensive line would attempt to block defensive lines like Georgia or Clemson. But I believe that the transfer to Alabama will allow Gibbs to showcase his skillset in front of all of college football running backs. Gibbs is an electric runner with the ball in his hands whose speed just jumps off the film. He has the speed to outrun angles and the smooth lateral cuts to be a true weapon in the open field. Gibbs also shows to be a mismatch coming out of the backfield and could be used as a reliable receiver in the Tide’s offense. Combining Gibbs skillset with this Alabama offense that already operates at a high level should produce a great season for Gibbs. I’m expecting him to make some spectacular plays and by the end of season to have first round buzz attached to his name.

RB Zach Evans, Ole Miss

Evans is a junior transfer from TCU. But he isn’t just any TCU transfer. Coming out of high school, Evans was a five-star running back who was offered by every top program in the nation before choosing TCU. Watching his film as a Horned Frog, it is immediately evident that Evans is a natural runner of the football. He understands how to press holes and then bounce them on zone run plays and once he is on the second level, he has the natural speed and explosiveness to break off big runs. Evans is also a stout runner that doesn’t mind running in between the tackles and lowering his pads when necessary. Taking his skillset and placing him in this Ole Miss offense that provides natural spacing for running backs should provide big returns. I’m expecting Evans with a bigger platform to gain momentum throughout the season and should be mentioned as a potential first round back by the end of 2022.

The narrative surrounding this draft class is much more positive compared to last year and

it is much deserved. This running back trio has already caught my eye during my initial evaluations and I’m expecting more backs to emerge throughout the year. So, teams who

need a running back in this upcoming draft should get excited because they should have plenty of talented backs to choose from.

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Keith Sanchez