- Todd McShay, Scouts Inc.
Running back is typically among the positions most impacted by underclassmen and this year's crop is no different. Darren McFadden, the top-rated prospect on our draft board, is one of eight early entries to bolster a weak group. In fact, don't be surprised if the first five running backs selected in April's draft are juniors. McFadden is a likely top-five pick, followed by Rashard Mendenhall, Jonathan Stewart, Felix Jones (McFadden's backfield-mate at Arkansas) and Jamaal Charles.
Mendenhall and Stewart are very similar prospects. Each is powerfully built with outstanding burst for his size and underrated versatility. Mendenhall is a bit bigger and stronger as an inside runner, but Stewart is a bit more explosive in the open field as a runner, receiver and kickoff return specialist.
Jones and Charles need to add bulk and strength in order to carry the load at the next level, but you can't coach the type of world-class speed each brings to the table.
Darren McFadden highlights a solid group of juniors who provided an infusion of depth and quality to the 2008 running back class.