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2024 Senior Bowl Preview: Running Back

The 2024 Senior Bowl is rapidly approaching, and over 100 prospects have the biggest on-field interview in their careers in front of every team.
The 2024 Senior Bowl is rapidly approaching, and over 100 prospects have the biggest on-field interview in their careers in front of every team.

The 2024 Senior Bowl is rapidly approaching, and over 100 prospects have the biggest on-field interview in their careers in front of every team. Once again, the Senior Bowl is going with a multiteam coaching setup, so these prospects must adapt quickly to a collection of new voices. Who will rise to the top and claim their place as early-round draft selections and become the future of the NFL? Which prospects have a chance to improve their stock as sleepers? We’ll be looking at each position by the team they were assigned to in most cases. The running backs get their time in the sun in this one.

If you missed the quarterback preview, you can find it below

Fanfield.io

Quarterback

American

Running Back

1. Emani Bailey | 5’9 200 | TCU

2. Ray Davis | 5’8 215 | Kentucky

3. Jawhar Jordan | 5’9 178 | Louisville

4. Cody Schrader | 5’9 214 | Missouri

5. Jaylen Wright | 5’10 205 | Tennessee

Top Prospect

Ray Davis

Davis is the best overall runner of a talented stable of runners on the American team. He has a lot of breakaway speed, plus the physical attitude to hammer it inside the tackles. The former Wildcat originally started his career at Temple before transferring to Vanderbilt and came to Kentucky highly regarded. He has posted consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns for the Commodores and the Wildcats. Statistically, 2023 was his best season as he nearly six yards per carry and ten yards per reception en route to over 1,400 scrimmage yards. He added 21 total touchdowns this past season as well. Kentucky had a runner with shifty dynamism to his game, paired with explosive acceleration. With a good week in Mobile, there would be very little doubt that he could emerge as a top-five back in the class. He earned a top-35 grade of 87.9 by PFF metrics.

Underrated Names

Cody Schrader and Jaylen Wright

Schrader and Wright are two SEC backs who were ultra-productive in their careers. Wright is the more explosive athletically of the pair, but Schrader is the better inside runner and has a lower center of gravity. The Tennessee runner tends to run too upright, presenting a bigger target profile for defenders to aim for. He has more burst in a linear way but not the vision. Teams would be wise to scheme him open like a secondary speed ballhandler like Rachaad White. He was productive during the past two seasons, running for 1,800 yards + 14 touchdowns. Missouri’s Schrader is more physical of the two, embracing the contact and relishing the hard-earned yards. He’s like a bowling ball of physicality who averaged over five yards per carry and ran for over 2,300 yards. Wright needs the bigger week of the pair to boost his stock.

At this point, CS is who he is and could be a hammer type of back in the right system on third downs and special teams. Wright is the more malleable of the pair as a prospect. Both runners can go in the late Day 2 to early Day 3 range due to their talent and production with solid offseasons. Wright was the higher graded of the pair with a 91.0 grade (11th overall), while Schrader was the 69th-best runner with a score of 83.2.

Potential Risers

Jawhar Jordan and Emani Bailey

Both prospects are electric athletes with the ball in their hands with the space to make something happen. Jordan was the more productive of the pair after transferring in from Syracuse. He was the leading rusher for the Cardinals in consecutive seasons. JJ truly broke out as a senior in 2023 with 1,128 yards and 13 touchdowns, leading Louisville to an ACC title game berth. He possesses great lateral agility and explosive acceleration due to his quick footwork. Bailey transferred from Louisiana, where he played for Billy Napier, to the running back factory in Fort Worth. He didn’t get going until his last season at TCU, backing up Kendre Miller and Emari Demarcado in 2022.

He’s another smaller scat-back type like Jordan with excellent bursts and lateral quickness to move away from defenders. Watch for both to light up the test track in Indianapolis. Bailey might be the better athlete of the pair, but it’s only by a smidge. They need good weeks in pass protection drills to prevent consternation about their lack of size in Mobile. Both guys certainly have the ability in the pass-and-run game to wow some people like De’Von Achane or Tyjae Spears. Jordan clocked in with an overall grade of 87.9, while Bailey scored 84.7 by PFF metrics.

National

Running Back

1. Rasheen Ali | 6’0 209 | Marshall

2. Isaiah Davis | 5’11 217 | South Dakota State

3. Dylan Laube | 5’10 203 | New Hampshire

4. Marshawn Lloyd | 5’9 215 | USC

5. Kimani Vidal | 5’8 218 | Troy

Big Name

Rasheen Ali

The Marshall product was sensational as a redshirt freshman, rushing for over 1,400 yards and 23 touchdowns before missing most of 2022 with injury. He returned to form in 2023 as a redshirt junior, rushing for 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns, cementing his spot for Mobile. Ali isn’t the fastest athlete, but he can accelerate quickly. He has some nifty footwork while managing the wash of the trenches. A home run hitter in open space from anywhere on the field. He has some of the best instincts and vision in the class and uses it well to glide through open holes.

Teams will be interested in his medical profile as he missed most of 2022 and parts of 2023 due to injury. Mr. Ali will need a big week in Mobile to shake some concerns and boost his stock into the early Day 3 range. With his cutting ability, he’s a throwback to the Shanahan zone-based run game.

Top Prospect

Isaiah Davis

Davis was the engine behind the Jackrabbits’ back-to-back national championship teams. He’s a name that everyone should know by the end of the draft process. The star runner has been very productive, averaging over 100 yards per contest for the past three seasons. He posted consecutive seasons of 1,400+ yards and 33 touchdowns in that time. Seeing how he does in a bigger setting like the Senior Bowl will be interesting. While he isn’t the fastest back, he makes up for it with great footwork and vision. The former Jackrabbit should do well next week and get on the radar as a possible Day 2 selection.

Sleepers

Marshawn Lloyd and Kimani Vidal

Vidal exploded onto the scene in 2023 with an impressive 1,600-yard and 14-touchdown effort for Troy. He’s a solid athlete but doesn’t have that breakaway gear. While that isn’t a hindrance for most runners like Vidal, it limits his ceiling. He has increased his production annually, so that’s a positive. He’ll need a solid week in the drills to get noticed on Day 3. PFF graded him as the sixth-best runner with a score of 92.4.

Speaking of former Trojans, Lloyd gets a little lost in the shuffle, thanks to the Caleb Williams hoopla. He isn’t the biggest back but makes up for it with effort in both blocking and as a runner. He actively looks to initiate contact instead of shying away from it. Lateral quickness is another major positive to his game. ML isn’t the fastest but has a ton of burst to accelerate away from defenders and a deep bag of feints and jukes to keep himself out of harm’s way. The former Gamecocks rusher transferred to USC for his final collegiate season and was productive. He ran for 800+ yards and nine touchdowns with 232 yards on 13 receptions. The passing game is where he shines quite frequently using his deep speed. He can cement himself as a top ten back in the class with a good week.

Joseph Yun

A Titans fan who loves the NFL, College Football (Go Ducks and Noles), along with the Braves, Las Vegas Aces, Red Wings, and Manchester United. Draft scout / analyst who has been credentialed to the best all star game of them all, the Senior Bowl. Follow me on Twitter for more good stuff!

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