UA Senior Bowl: Running Back Rankings

The practice sessions in Mobile are winding down and the prospects at the running back position have been intriguing.'s Chris Steuber ranks the eight running backs in Mobile based on their performances in practice this week.

1. Matt Forte, Tulane

Why? Forte helped his draft stock as much as any prospect in Mobile. He’s a patient runner who runs hard between the tackles. He has good vision, finds openings and attacks the opposition. He’s deceptively quick and is able to get around the end to pick up positive yards. A really impressive aspect of his game has been his pass-catching ability. He possesses soft hands and is a true weapon out of the backfield.

2. Chris Johnson, East Carolina

Why? Although Johnson is out of the Under Armour Senior Bowl with a sprained shoulder, he showed great elusiveness earlier in the week. He’s a game-breaker who possesses elite speed and elusiveness, and is able to break through the smallest seams. Johnson is also a very good receiver out of the backfield and displayed sure hands when he was on the field.

3. Chauncey Washington, USC

Why? Washington isn’t the fastest back, but he has nice size and showed good vision this week. He runs well between the tackles and has the ability to get around the end. But he has to improve his hands and become more productive as a receiver. He’s done a nice job of chipping defenders and positioning himself in the flat.

Georgia Tech RB Tashard Choice in the Gator Bowl versus West Virginia.
Marc Serota/Getty Images

4. Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech

Why? Choice has had an up-and-down week at the Under Armour Under Armour Senior Bowl. He runs well between the tackles, but lacks the explosion to get outside. He has quick feet and is able to weave his way through the line. He has good hands and sets up well in the flat.

5. Justin Forsett, California

Why? Forsett is the smallest player in Mobile, and in many ways that helps him get through the line. He’s a fast, patient runner who’s able to hide between the trees. He displays a solid burst and is sneaky around the end. He has above average hands and is shifty in the open field. Durability is a concern, due to his size.

6. Dantrell Savage, Oklahoma State

Why? Savage is a quick, scat-back who possesses an all-around game. He’s another runner who hides between the trees and hits the hole quickly. He’s fast around the end and makes defenders miss. He has sure hands and is a a factor in the receiving game. Size is an issue with Savage, and he will be a situational back at the next level.

7. Rafael Little, Kentucky

Why? Little hasn’t stood out in workouts. He’s been a bit inconsistent this week. He has shown good speed, but hasn’t shown the explosion that’s been expected. He’s a solid straight line runner and possesses good vision. He’s a good receiver and displays impressive hands.

8. Jacob Hester, LSU

Why? Hester isn’t the most athletic player in Mobile, but it’s easy to see why he’s a successful player. He has a non-stop motor and gives maximum effort on every play. He’s the ultimate tweener. He isn’t fast enough to be a featured back, and he isn’t big enough to be a fullback. But, he’s a solid player who will find his way onto an NFL roster.

A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.

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