It's Saturday and that means College Football. So with that in mine, let's take a look at some runningbacks the Raiders could target in the first or second round in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Todd Gurley is the best runningback I have seen in college football since Darren McFadden. Gurley is Marshawn Lynch 2.0 as he can run a sub 4.5 40-yard dash but has a powerful frame at 6'1", 232 pounds. What makes him special is his ability to simply run defenders over like a bulldozer. It is rare when the first defender brings Gurley down.
"I don't know if I've faced a back of Gurley's capability and is big, strong, fast, can run around you, can run over you, breaks a lot of tackles, has great hands out of the backfield," South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said of Gurley. "I can't say that I've faced a complete back like Gurley."
Gurley entered the 2014 season with 2,374 career rushing yards on 387 carries and 27 touchdowns. And in only five games this season, Gurley has rushed for 773 yards (8.2 avg.) and 8 touchdowns.
After week five, Gurley was suspended for possibly the rest of the season for signing autographs for money. This will actually increase his NFL draft stock. In his three years at Georgia, Gurley has a total of 481 carries. That is a lot and could limit his durability in the NFL. But with the suspension, Gurley will be saved from more carries and enter the NFL with a fresher body. Durability is the only concern with Gurley, and his suspension will help prevent the risk of injury.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
I think Todd Gurley is the best runningback eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft, but Melvin Gordon is right behind him. These two studs are the best runningbacks I have seen since Adrian Peterson and Darren McFadden. They are different prospects as Gurley has the body and playing style of Marshawn Lynch and Gordon resembles Jamaal Charles.
While Gurley had 222 carries his freshman year, Gordon had the luxury of sitting behind Montee Ball his first two seasons. As a result, Gordon has taken less hits than Gurley and is projected to have better durability in the NFL. Last season as a redshirt sophomore, Gordon carried the ball 206 times for 1,609 yards and 12 touchdowns. His yards per carry (7.8) was amazing considering how many rushing attempts he had.
This season, Gordon is having an even better year having rushed for 1,046 yards (7.9 avg.) and 13 touchdowns in only 7 games.
The two most impressive attributes Gordon has are his acceleration and his vision. He is a threat to score every play because he can hit full speed so quickly. Gordon does a great job of finding holes in the defense and often cuts back when the opportunity is there.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Gordon will probably run close to a 4.4 40-yard dash. That is crazy considering his is 6'1" and 210 pounds. He has the body of a prototypical NFL runningback.
Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana
Coleman is leading the nation with 1,192 yards (8.8 avg.) and 11 touchdowns. While the only top defense he has faced was Michigan State, he tore them apart with 132 rushing yards on only 15 carries. Nobody runs like that against Michigan State.
Last season, Coleman finished the year with 958 rushing yards (7.3 avg.) and 12 touchdowns.
At 6'0" and 210 pounds, Coleman has a solid frame that should help him in the NFL. He runs hard and is not afraid to lower his shoulder. What impresses me the most about Coleman is his vision. He does a great job following his blockers which helps him get in space. He is also effective running between the tackles. From a talent perspective, he reminds me of Darren McFadden. But he has way better vision and runs harder than DMAC. He should be an early to mid-second-round pick.
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
While Telvin Coleman is leading the nation in rushing yards, Abdullah is right behind him. On 161 carries, he has rushed for 1,024 yards (6.4 avg.) and 14 touchdowns.
Last year as a junior, Abdullah finished with 1,690 yards (6.0 avg.) and 9 touchdowns. As a sophomore, he had another 1,000 yard season racking up 1,137 yards (5.0 avg.) and 8 touchdowns.
So while Abdullah has had incredible production, it has come at a price which is his biggest negative. In his career, Abdullah has an incredible 710 carries. That number could reach 800 by the end of the year. And because of his small frame (5'9", 195 pounds), his durability will be a major question mark.
Abdullah has great vision and is the shiftiest of the runningbacks on this list. He is stronger and runs with more power than his size would suggest. Another area where Abdullah excels is cutting. By keeping his body low to the ground, he can change directions very quickly. Because of his size, Abdullah will be a limited blocker in the NFL.
I think Abdullah can be a great runningback in the NFL because of his instincts, agility and vision. But I am not sure how long he will last, especially because of the beating he has taken at Nebraska.