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NFL

2022 NFL Draft: Hall and Walker the top two prospects at running back

The latest generation of running backs isn’t the most talented ever produced, but includes players with the ability to make an impact in the NFL.

Ariel Velázquez
Update:
Los fans de los Tennessee Titans durante el NFL Draft en Nashville, Tennessee.
Frederick BreedonAFP

Although offences in football have become more focused on passing plays in the last few decades, running backs remain an important part of each team’s setup.

2022 Draft may not see first-round RB picks

Because there is an abundant supply of players in this position, only the very top talents are considered for selection in the first-round of the NFL Draft. It’s unlikely that a franchise will focus its early interest on a running back, unless it’s a prospect that really stands out from the crowd, as was the case when the Pittsburgh Steelers picked Najee Harris last year.

Many analysts believe that the 2022 Draft doesn’t have an equivalent to Harris, so there isn’t a huge amount of optimism that a team will go for an RB on the first day of the selection process, which is to be held in Las Vegas from Thursday to Saturday.

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However, while there may not be any truly elite running backs on offer this year, there are plenty who will make a useful addition to a team’s offensive options. RBs with a wide variety of characteristics are available.

Related: Remembering Tom Brady’s draft pick

There appear to be two leading the race to be the first running back selected in the 2022 Draft: Breece Hall of Iowa State, and Kenneth Walker III of Michigan State.

1. Breece Hall, Iowa State

During his time in college football, Hall caught the eye for his ability to evade defenders and explode into space. One moment he’s the man you’ve turned to to gain a couple of yards, the next he’s making the most of his speed to hit open grass. His physical attributes may well help him to develop into a dependable NFL running back. The 20-year-old is expected to be picked either at the end of the first round, or in the second round.

2. Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State

Walker’s incredible season for the Spartans has shown that he’s one of the most complete running backs in his class. He has speed, balance and an excellent ability to read defences. For teams that have come out of the NFL free agency period still in need of a dependable alternative that would offer young, fresh legs, Walker is the ideal choice.

3. James Cook, Georgia

Many feel that James Cook isn’t strong and powerful enough to emulate his older brother, Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. However, he’s got the kind of searing pace that would make him a good backup RB. It’s difficult to argue with the Bulldogs’ track record when it comes to running backs: Todd Gurley, Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, D’Andre Swift… Cook is expected to be selected in the second or third round of the Draft.

4. Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M

With his ability to break through tackles, Isaiah Spiller is built to be a physical NFL running back. There are concerns over whether he has the speed to escape from defenders, but he can get a team the yards it needs for a first and 10. He’s likely to be picked late on in the third round.

5. Brian Robinson, Alabama

Brian Robinson is the latest player to come out of Alabama with the potential to establish himself as a strong running back. He’s no Derrick Henry, but he has the tools to carry the ball in a range of offensive structures.

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