You've Been Lied To About This Running Back Class

NFL Combine
NFL Combine / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Throughout this year's draft process, I keep hearing draft analysts and draft fans alike repeating the same phrase; "This is a terrible running back class". I disagree wholeheartedly. This class is being severely overlooked.

While the 2024 NFL Draft running back class may not have a singular dominant running back prospect like Bijan Robinson or Jahmyr Gibbs from the 2023 class, it shouldn't be looked over. This group possesses some truly special athletes ready to make an impact at the next level. In my opinion, this is a better and deeper class than the 2022 draft that was headlined by Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker III.

Let's take a look at some of the running backs that make this class better than the narrative.

Jaylen Wright

Jaylen Wright
Tennessee v Kentucky / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

Leading the charge is Jaylen Wright (Tennessee, 5'11", 210 lbs). He is an absolute blur on the field, Wright clocked a blazing 4.38 40-yard dash at the combine but plays even faster than that. He uses his elite speed and sharp cuts to consistently find daylight, averaging a ridiculous 7.4 yards per carry in 2023. While he isn't quite the prospect that Gibbs was last year, he can be deployed in a similar way and add an explosive element to any backfield.

Almost every elite running back in the NFL has great speed, and Wright has a chance to join the club of top-backs in the league. While his vision could stand to improve, he still should be considered anywhere in the second round of the 2024 NFL draft.

Braelon Allen

Braelon Allen
Ohio State v Wisconsin / John Fisher/GettyImages

Make no mistake about it, Braelon Allen is an absolute freakshow. Braelon Allen is 6'2", 245lbs but don't let his massive size fool you – Allen has surprising agility and true home run speed. Allen is a downhill thumper who will run through you if you let him get a head of steam. The scariest thing about Allen? He just turned 20 years old. It's hard to imagine what he could look like after a few years in an NFL strength program.

Overall, Braelon Allen has all of the makings of a workhorse back in the NFL. It should surprise no one if he becomes a player similar to Jonathon Taylor or Breece Hall.

Trey Benson

Trey Benson
Florida State v Florida / James Gilbert/GettyImages

When I watch Benson, the first player that comes to my mind is Nick Chubb. They have similar builds, size, long speed and running styles. This redshirt junior posted an elite time of 4.39 in the 40-yard dash at the combine. Just like Chubb, one of Benson's greatest strengths is his ability to break tackles and gain yards after contact. He consistently runs through arm tackles and keeps his legs churning, making him a nightmare for opposing defenders.

And to continue driving the hype train, he tested as the 40th most athletic running back of all time (viamathbomb). There is no reason to think that he won't be a great lead back for an NFL team very soon.

Jonathon Brooks

Jonathon Brooks
BYU v Texas / Tim Warner/GettyImages

Jonathon Brooks has a very unique blend of size, hands, speed, elusiveness and contact balance that make him one of the most complete backs to come out in years. If it weren't for his season-ending ACL tear, he would have been, easily, the number-one running back in this class for most draft evaluators. His biggest strength is that he has no glaring weaknesses. What doesn't he do well?
Good pass catcher? Check. Proficient runner between the tackles? Check. Speed to capture the edge? Check.

Brooks' vision and patience are two of his greatest assets as a runner. He consistently finds the right hole and knows when to burst through it for big gains. Brooks also has excellent lateral agility, allowing him to make defenders miss in the open field. His combination of vision, patience, and elusiveness make him a dangerous runner who can excel in any offensive scheme.

These aren't new names to most of the draft community, but they are all elite athletes who can be full-time starters right away. So there is no reason to believe the lies that have been spread that this is some horrific draft class at the running back position. There are plenty of pro-bowl-caliber backs in this year's draft. Trust the tape and don't be a parrot for the evaluators who haven't done the work.