Top 10 running back prospects

De'Anthony Thomas highlights the list of top RBs for the 2014 draft

Updated: August 29, 2013, 12:17 PM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider

De'Anthony ThomasStephen Dunn/Getty ImagesDe'Anthony Thomas is a versatile weapon for the Oregon Ducks on offense.
For years, I've tried to update the top five NFL prospects at each position, for both the junior and senior classes, each week from the beginning of the college football season right up until the draft. Enough of that. This year I decided to do something different. I'll now be ranking the top 10 NFL draft prospects at each position -- with all draft-eligible players included in the same ranking -- just a few times during the season.

For one, it's more helpful to see the juniors, seniors and occasional draft-eligible sophomores all together, just as you see them in the NFL draft. Second, trying to watch enough football and talk to enough evaluators to readjust the rankings every week just got ridiculous.

So here goes with the first version for the 2013 season. The Big Board, of course, will still be updated each week. Below you have the running backs.

Note that one asterisk denotes a junior; two asterisks denote a draft-eligible sophomore.


1. *De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon Ducks

Is he a running back? Well, he carried the ball 92 times last year, and averaged nearly 8 yards every time he did, so we know he's comfortable getting touches and will be productive when he does. Thomas also caught 45 passes, and he profiles as a multi-use offensive threat, splitting time in the backfield, slot and return game.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst