Behind Lattimore in terms of talent are Joseph Randle (RB, Oklahoma State) and Giovanni Bernard (RB, UNC). Randle is the heir apparent to the title of top running back in the draft as he is the total NFL-ready package; downhill runner, has played in big games, shows great in pass protection. However, he is still a junior, which could have an effect on his draft stock, however unlikely. If as the top prospect Randle is not projected to be a first rounder, he may opt to return to school for another year, and enter into the NFL a surer thing. In the same vein, Bernard is still only a sophomore and would be taking a very large gamble to come into the League so early.
Growing interest on draft boards as the third-rated back is Mike Gillislee (RB, Florida) who is having a solid senior year. Gillislee isn’t shattering any records, but his work ethic and overall drive is starting to impress scouts. A likely mid-to-late second round pick, Gillislee may not be day-one NFL ready, but he does have roughly the same draft value as Andre Ellington (RB, Clemson). Ellington may be taken right about the same time, but is a wholly different animal. A speedster, Ellington is a legit break-out threat, but at 5’10”, 190 lbs, he may require increased size at the pro-level to manage the same degree of productivity after first-contact.
At number five and a stark contrast to Ellington is Le’Veon Bell (RB, MichiganState). Bellis a bigger power back who at 6’2”, 238 lbs may be more akin to an old school NFL full back. A unique prospect, Bell is currently projected as late as the fourth round, but regardless, he’ll also have to declare for the draft as he is still a junior.
Remaining in the top ten in terms of talent, Eddie Lacy (RB, Alabama) and Knile Davis (RB, Arkansas) are also both under classman. Lastly and noteworthy, Montee Ball (RB, Wisconsin) who had an outstanding 2011 season, has been understated and over blamed for decreases in his game, which will likely result to his slipping to the fourth round despite being an NFL ready runner. However, if a lot of the aforementioned underclassmen return to school, his stock with sky-rocket and possibility over-inflate relatively quickly.