2023 RB Preview

August 10, 2022

A RB hasn’t been selected with a top 10 pick since the Giants took Saquon Barkley with the second pick overall in 2018. That could change this year, though, as Bijan Robinson of Texas is the top-rated back to come along in the past few years. He’s a powerful 225-pounder with a burst, although there are still some questions about his long speed that will have to be answered in pre-draft testing. To boot, Robinson is also an excellent pass receiver.

Robinson, though, currently looks to be the only first-round lock at the position for the upcoming draft, although there is some depth at the position including Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs, who comes over from Georgia Tech, Zach Evans of Mississippi, Auburn’s Tank Bigsby, Sean Tucker of Syracuse and Texas A&M’s Devon Achane, each of whom has at least some second-day potential, while early third-day candidates include Zach Charbonnet of UCLA, Kansas State scatback Deuce Vaughn, Travis Dye of USC, Kendall Milton of Georgia and Kentucky’s Chris Rodriguez. Rodriguez, in particular, likely would have been included in the second tier of backs, but his status, at least for the start of the season, is a little iffy after he was charged with a DWI in the spring.

The 2023 RB class also includes a number of intriguing sleeper types including Lew Nichols of Central Michigan, who led the country with 1,850 rushing yards last fall, while pro scouts will also be keeping close tabs on DeWayne McBride of Alabama-Birmingham and Marshall’s Rasheen Ali, both of whom had breakout years last fall when both ran for close to 1,400 yards. At the same time, the top FCS RB prospects include Montana State’s Isaiah Ifanse, who ran for over 1,600 yards last fall, second in the country to Pierre Strong, a 4th round pick by New England this past spring, and Isaiah Davis of South Dakota State.

Future file: As good a prospect as he is, Texas’ Robinson likely would have a battle on his hands for the top RB grade this coming April, if Ohio State sophomore TreVeyon Henderson were eligible in 2023, but as a true soph, NFL teams will have to wait until the following year to get a shot at him after he ran for 1,250 yards – at 6.8 yards per clip – while catching 26 passes as a true freshman last season. Henderson will likely battle Wisconsin bruiser Braelon Allen, another talented true soph RB, for the Big Ten rushing title over the next couple of years.

Top 20 RB prospects for 2023

April 3, 2023 9:34 PM

Bijan Robinson5-11, 2154.46cTexas
Jahmyr Gibbs5-9, 1994.36cAlabama
Zach Charbonnet 6-0.5, 2144.53cUCLA
Devon Achane5-8.5, 1904.32cTexas A&M
DeWayne McBride5-10, 2104.55Alabama-Birmingham
Tyjae Spears5-10, 2014.45Tulane
Kendre Miller5-11, 2154.45TCU
Chase Brown5-9.5, 2104.43cIllinois
Izzy Abanikanda5-10, 2164.40pPittsburghX
Sean Tucker 5-9, 2054.50Syracuse
Zach Evans5-11, 2024.45Mississippi
Tank Bigsby5-11.5, 2104.56cAuburn
Roschon Johnson6-0, 2204.58cTexas
Evan Hull5-10, 2104.47cNorthwestern
Mohamed Ibrahim5-8, 2034.55MinnesotaX
Tiyon Evans5-9,5, 2254.52cLouisville
Kenny McIntosh 6-0, 2054.62cGeorgia
Tavion Thomas6-0.5, 2374.74cUtah
Camerun Peoples 6-1.5, 2174.61cAppalachian State
Chris Rodriguez6-0, 2174.55KentuckyO
Eric Gray5-9.5, 2074.65pOklahoma
Chris Smith5-9, 2004.55Louisiana
Deneric Prince5-11.5, 2164.41cTulsa
Deuce Vaughn5-51804.45Kansas State
Keaton Mitchell5-7.5, 1804.37cEast Carolina
Jordan Mims5-11, 2054.55Fresno State
SaRoderick Thompson5-11.5, 2074.67cTexas Tech
Khalan Laborn5-10, 2104.50Marshall
Rasheen Ali6-0, 2104.55MarshallO
Travis Dye5-10, 2014.55Southern California X
Lew Nichols 5-9, 2204.58Central Michigan
Isaiah Davis5-11, 2254.55South Dakota State
Chris Tyree5-9, 1904.40Notre Dame
Jalen Berger6-0, 2054.55Michigan State
X Valladay5-11, 2004.55Arizona State
Miyan Williams5-9, 2254.55Ohio State
Brandon Thomas5-10, 2004.40Memphis
Anthony Grant5-10, 2054.50Nebraska
John Emery5-10, 2204.45LSU
Austin Jones5-9, 1954.50Southern California
Demarckus Bowman5-10, 1954.40Central Florida
Jirehl Brock5-11, 2154.45Iowa State
Noah Cain5-10, 2254.55LSU
Rodrigues Clark5-11, 2004.60Memphis

* e indicates estimated time; c indicates combine; p indicates pro day time

** X indicates player has an injury or illness issue; XX indicates serious injury or illness that could impact draft status; XXX indicates injury or illness that could be career threatening; O indicates off-field issue