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NFL

2014 NFL Draft: Preseason Running Back Rankings

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2014 NFL Draft Running Back Rankings

NFL Draft
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 college football season is only a few weeks away, but the NFL draft season never ends. I have used the past few weeks to go back and study as much as I can on draft eligible prospects from 2012 and creating my initial positional rankings for each position. As the 2013 season progresses, these rankings will be updated and change because they are obviously fluid. As players show more or less about their games, they will move up and down. It’s important to keep in mind that simply because one player is ranked third and another eighth, the distance between those players might not be so great as the gap between the eighth and 10th-ranked player. Once the season winds down, I will provide more in-depth looks at my player rankings.

Also, keep in mind this list includes underclassmen, and those included are just based on my opinion on who is most likely to declare. Again, this will be fluid as juniors and redshirt sophomores make their intentions known. For now, I have included the top underclassmen at each position where I think they fall compared to the top seniors.

This round we are taking a look at the running backs. This is a position that is traditionally under valued and under drafted. It's a rarity to see more than one or maybe two running backs in the first round, and it seems that every year players drafted later are having huge impacts for their teams' running games. And from the looks of things that's not likely to change in 2014. This group is lacking a true elite talent or franchise back, but it does have several players who could find spots on rosters where they can be part of very efficient and effective running games. None of these backs have a 1st round grade at this point, but I am still hopeful that we get a sleeper or two to step up with a huge season.

Curt covers the NFL draft for Rant Sports. Connect with curt on Twitter @nfldraftboard or on Google+.

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5-Damien Williams, RB Oklahoma

NFL Draft
Kevin Jalraj-USA TODAY Sports

Williams is a very good all-around running back, probably best suited for a zone blocking scheme in the NFL. He doesn't have any aspects of his game that stand out, but he does everything well.

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4-LaDarius Perkins, RB Mississippi State

NFL Draft
Spruce Durden-USA TODAY Sports

Perkins had a modest 2012 season but showed real flashes of ability. He's got quick feet and a nice burst in the open field, he just needs more opportunities.

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3-James Wilder, RB Florida State

NFL Draft
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Wilder might have the best physical tools of any back in this draft. He just needs more touches to show that he can be more than just a part time back. Wilder runs with an excellent forward lean and never gives up on a play. But the question will be if he can shoulder a full load of a run game.

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2-Lache Seastrunk, RB Baylor

NFL Draft
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Seastrunk is bold and arrogant, but he has the talent to back it up. We should see more of Seastrunk in the offense this year, and he's playing a bigger role which should give him a chance to put up very big numbers in 2013.

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1-Ka'Deem Carey, RB Arizona

NFL Draft
Mark Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Carey is as close as the total package as there is in this draft. He has nice speed, excellent quickness and balance, and he runs every play hard, refusing to give up. He's shown he can carry the load in the run game, and if he can repeat last season he should be the first running back off the board.

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Running Backs 6-12

NFL Draft
Josh Holmberg-USA TODAY Sports

6. Charles Sims, West Virginia

7. Bishop Sankey, Washington

8. Dri Archer, Kent State

9. James White, Wisconsin

10. Carlos Hyde, Ohio State

11. John Hubert, Kansas State

12. Alfred Blue, LSU