It is time to cast our eyes on our favourite 2022 NFL Draft running backs. Two heard their names called in April: Alabama’s Najee Harris and Clemson’s Travis Etienne. Others, like Javonte Williams and Michael Carter, had to wait a while longer to find their home in the NFL. Who will hear their names called by Roger Goodell on Day One of the 2022 NFL Draft?
Breece Hall, Iowa State (Junior, 6′ 1″, 215 lbs)
Unanimous All-American Breece Hall was the star of the Cyclones offence in 2020. He led the FBS in rushing yards with 1,572 from 279 touches and 21 TDs.
Hall was Iowa State’s bell cow running back, accounting for 67% of the team’s rushing yards, and 61% of all carries. He showed an ability to carry a team to victory when his quarterback is struggling to make plays.
He is an explosive athlete with the ability to make big plays at any moment. Hall’s quick step bamboozles opponents and exploits gaps when they appear. He is also a rare running back prospect in that he is equally proficient on inside and outside zone runs. Wherever the space is, Breece Hall will find it.
At the time of writing, Breece Hall is the clubhouse leader entering the 2021 college football season. If he can put up the numbers he enjoyed in his sophomore year, he could well be a a leading picks of the 2022 NFL Draft running backs.
Zamir White, Georgia (Junior, 6′ 0″, 215 lbs)
Zamir “Zeus” White bounced back from a devastating knee injury in his freshman year in 2020. He managed 779 rushing yards in 10 games in his sophomore year.
Although he led the team in carries, it was just 38% of the team’s total. He was a productive runner, with 44% of the Bulldogs’ overall rushing yards.
White is a punchy power back with the ability to barrel through defensive linemen. For that reason, Zeus is the ideal short yardage back. There is nobody in college football that you’d want to see pound the rock on First and Goal.
Highly rated sophomore Kendall Milton is expected to play a bigger role in the Bulldogs’ rushing attack in 2021. Senior James Cook is also returning to Athens. Zamir White will have to work hard to keep himself on the field and boost his 2022 NFL Draft stock.
Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M (Junior, 6′ 1″, 225 lbs)
Many consider Isaiah Spiller the best running back in the 2022 NFL Draft class. Many predict he will demand First Round draft capital in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Aggie put up good numbers in his freshman year (2019), and showed clear signs of improvement in 2020.
Spiller is the heaviest back in this early stable of frontrunners for next April’s Draft. He reaches top speed quickly, and is devastating in the open field. Spiller uses his size well against contact, but avoids it when he can with a quick step and devastating agility. He has impressive contact balance and is a useful blocker in pass protection.
Spiller is yet to be used reliably in the passing game, with just 20 receptions in 2020. He did however enjoy 193 yards (9.6 yards per reception) on those throws.
If Isaiah Spiller is able to make yet another leap in his Junior year, then expect him to demand attention from draft analysts and NFL franchises alike in the run up to the 2022 NFL Draft.
Kyren Williams, Notre Dame (Junior, 5′ 9″, 195 lbs)
The Fighting Irish enjoyed a successful stint in the ACC in 2020. One of the most eye catching aspects of their season was the emergence of Kyren Williams at running back.
He carried the ball just four times in his freshman year. Fast forward to 2020, and Williams finished his sophomore season with 1,467 yards and 14 scores.
Williams is a smaller back with impressive speed. He is also a useful weapon catching passes out of the backfield. Williams ended his second year in college football with 313 yards and one touchdown. Receiver Javon McKinley and Tight End Michael Mayer were the only players on offence with more receptions than Williams (35).
Mobile QB Ian Book, who was second behind Williams in rush attempts, has entered the NFL. This should open up the opportunity for increased touches in the run up to the 2022 NFL Draft. He will however have to share some of these carries with Chris Tyree, who was utilised sparingly in his freshman year.
Jerrion Ealy, Ole Miss (Junior, 5′ 8″, 190 lbs)
Jerrion Ealy enters his junior year with two solid years of consistent production for Ole Miss. He saved his best performance of 2020 for the home defeat to eventual national championship winners, Alabama. He ended the day with a season-best 120 yards from 19 arrives, running in two scores.
You may expect a running back of his size to be a pass catcher. That’s not necessarily what Ealy offers. He had a season high 3 receptions in the opening week defeat to Florida. He had only one receiving touchdown all year, which came in the win over South Carolina.
It is safe to say that Ealy plays bigger than you would expect for a player of his size. He is no stranger to running through the gut of a defence and fighting through contact. Ealy also has the ability to make oncoming defenders look silly with an effective cut move. It can take him some time to reach full speed, but Ealy has impressive quickness once he hits his stride.
That’s it for our favourite 2022 NFL Draft running backs. Find us on Twitter @5YardCollege and ask about our new Discord channel!