Top 10 Running Backs For the 2014 NFL Draft

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2014 Top 10 Running Backs

NFL Draft
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

There might be no other NFL position that is more undervalued and underdrafted than the running back position. It seems that every year the NFL draft focuses heavily on positions like quarterback and offensive tackle, but the league as a whole seems more than content to wait on running backs no matter how talented they are.

Obviously there are those occasions where a player is so special that they defy the odds and make their way into the 1st round, but these cases are rare. So for a draft analyst, the job has to be to grade players based on their talent and how they project to the NFL. When you consider where they will be drafted, however, you have to take into account that in almost every case they will likely be drafted a round or two after where that talent would indicate.

Looking ahead to the 2014 NFL draft class of running backs, it’s a mixed bag but sadly not a group to get really excited about. Obviously there is a lot of football to be played in 2013, but early indications are to me that there isn’t that special talent in this group. There are some fascinating prospects and players with some outstanding physical gifts, but for the most part this is a group that has a lot of really good players and no really great ones. I am hopeful that outside of this top 10 there are some players, most likely underclassmen who step up and have huge seasons in order to make this a much more exciting group.

Curt covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL draft, and college football for Rant Sports. Connect with Curt on Twitter @nfldraftboard.

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1-Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona

NFL Draft
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Carey is a fascinating prospect, because his size and skill set are absolutely first round caliber. He's got quickness and acceleration that rivals any back in the country and can literally take over a game. But Carey has some character concerns, and as we have seen the NFL will forgive but it could push him out of the first round.

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2-Lache Seastrunk, Baylor

NFL Draft
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Seastrunk is a confident and dynamic athlete. And at a new 210lbs with legit mid 4.3 speed, he's a threat to score every time he touches the football. With that dynamic Baylor offense Seastrunk can use his vision and acceleration to find seams to run through, and once he gets to the second level there are few who can catch him.

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3-De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon

NFL Draft
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas is next in line among the top tier of backs, and he might be the most versatile back in the group. Thomas' role in the NFL and his placement in the draft could depend greatly on whether or not a team considers him more running back or wide receiver and just how he can be used. But regardless his position, Thomas is a touchdown maker and can eat up yards in a hurry.

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4-LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State

NFL Draft
Spruce Durden-USA TODAY Sports

I expect big things from Perkins this season. He runs like a back much larger than he is and isn't afraid to mix it up between the tackles. He's also a very good receiver out of the backfield and provides a nice all-around offensive weapon.

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5-Damien Williams, Oklahoma

NFL Draft
Kevin Lalraj-USA TODAY Sports

In the Oklahoma offense, Williams really doesn't get a chance to showcase his skills, but at times, when they line up in a more traditional set, you can see his vision and acceleration. He looks like a very good zone blocking back as he's patient and can find a crease and get through the hole quickly.

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Running Backs 6-10

NFL Draft
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

This next group of backs are all less dynamic and explosive than the top 5, but they all have lots of potential and promise. I expect big seasons out of many of these backs in 2013.

6-John Hubert, Kansas State

7-Alfred Blue, LSU

8-Michael Dyer, Arkansas Baptist

9-James Wilder, Florida State

10-Carlos Hyde, Ohio State