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2023 NFL Draft Watch List: Tiering the Best College Running Backs

Best College Running Backs

The conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft means that teams and fans alike can start looking forward to next year’s crop of players. While it is far too early to have conclusive opinions on where each player will rank due to a full season of games and the player development ahead of us, this tier ranking previews how these players go into the season ranked against their position group. These tiers are subject to change but give a quick outlook on the expectations of these players.

Read our 2023 NFL Draft Quarterback Tier List Here

​​Tier 1: The Top Talents

Bijan Robinson | Texas

Devon Achane | Texas A&M

Tank Bigsby | Auburn

Tier 1 of this position group is considered to have more of a complete game when you look at the role of a running back. They have shown good production in relation to their touches and high-end physical traits. Players like Tank Bigsby and Devon Achane have dominated in the tough SEC. Bijan Robinson is a physical specimen who was a playmaker in both phases of the game. This tier has a combination of production, high-end physical traits, and a well-rounded game to have multiple uses in an NFL scheme.

Tier 2: Likely Off the Board on Day 2

Zach Charbonnet | UCLA

Jahmyr Gibbs | Alabama

Sean Tucker | Syracuse

Tier 2 of the running backs still have plenty of talent when considering next year’s draft class. They show a certain combination of good vision, physicality, or footwork but might be missing some burst or passing game impact to really break plays at the next level. Their roles will most likely have to expand this upcoming season in order to elevate their draft stock to a tier 1 category. Becoming a 3-down back or high-end 1st-2nd or 3rd down player will be key to becoming more valuable. These players are talented and have to prove they belong with the top names.

Tier 3: Likely Draft Picks

Chris Rodriguez Jr. | Kentucky

Mohamed Ibrahim | Minnesota

Zach Evans | Ole Miss

Tier 3 is a combination of players who have question marks going into the season but have the talent to get drafted in 2023. Mohamad Ibrahim started the 2021 season very strongly but ended up suffering a season-ending injury early in the year. He will look to rebound and show he still has the same quickness and burst to play at a high level. Zach Evans shows promising talent but has not been given a lot of touches yet. Ultimately this tier boils down to whether or not these players can either maintain or increase their productivity through new circumstances this season.

Tier 4: Next Year’s Sleepers

Eric Gray | Oklahoma

Kendall Milton | Georgia

Jalen Berger | Michigan St.

Chris Tyree | Notre Dame

Kenny McIntosh | Georgia

Tier 4 focuses on the players who are now stepping into starting or key rotational roles in the 2022 season. Players leaving for the NFL draft or transfer portal have opened up touches at some of the top programs in the country. This year will be pivotal on how the foundation of their draft grade is formed. Most of these players have draftable traits in one facet or another but will need to produce in their new circumstance.