1. CARLOS HYDE, Ohio State (6-0, 232, 4.61, 2) – Came off a three-game suspension for off-field trouble to start 2013 and had his finest season. “Complete player,” one scout said. “Stud. He’s powerful. Great athlete. Great run feel. Catches the ball very well. He’ll block. Picks up all the protections, even calls some protections. He’s a good-hearted kid but he needs mentoring.” Finished with 523 carries for 3,198 yards (6.1) and 37 touchdowns, and 34 receptions. Carried 53 times for 372 (7.0) to help overpower Michigan the past two seasons. “He doesn’t have the burst or acceleration to be a difference-maker,” said another scout. “He doesn’t have much juice.” Scored extremely low (9) on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test before improving to 13 at the combine. “It’s the overall type person,” said a third scout. “When you meet him you don’t totally buy in. They don’t sell him at the school as your eat-sleep-drink football type. He enjoys the night life. Not as big on the work ethic during the week. Loves Saturdays. Doesn’t really put in the time. Kind of plays on talent.” From Naples, Fla.
2. JEREMY HILL, Louisiana State (6-0½, 233, 4.65, 2) – Third-year sophomore declared after rushing for 1,401 yards in 2013 and averaging 6.9, breaking Garrison Hearst’s Southeastern Conference record of 6.8 set in 1992. “He’s a complete back,” said one scout. “He can be an every-down player and carry the load. He’s really good in the passing game, too. Smooth runner. Natural run instincts.” Pleaded guilty in January 2011 to carnal knowledge of a juvenile in a high school incident, was given two years probation and redshirted. Finished with 345 carries for 2,156 yards (school-record 6.3) and 28 TDs, and caught 26 passes. “That big (expletive) is faster and a better athlete than Hyde, and he catches the (expletive) out of it,” another scout said. “Damn right I like him as a starter.” Wonderlic of 22. From Baton Rouge, La. “I don’t like his makeup and the way he runs,” a third scout said. “He’s soft for a big guy. Some people say he’s strong. He’s not at all. He’s got athletic talent and he’s big, but he’s a soft runner.”
3. BISHOP SANKEY, Washington (5-9½, 209, 4.53, 2) – Third-year junior. “He’s got a little bit of Emmitt Smith in him,” said one scout. “He’s like a poor man’s Emmitt Smith. He can run everywhere. He’s just not a real burner. But he’s got quickness and vision, and he’s a hell of a kid. He’s tougher than (expletive).” Gained 1,870 yards last year, breaking Corey Dillon’s school record. Finished with 644 carries for 3,496 yards (5.4) and 37 TDs, breaking Napoleon Kaufman’s school mark of 34. “Napoleon Kaufman was much more straight-line than Sankey,” said a second scout. “This guy has more moves and more pure speed. He’s not as strong as Emmitt but looks the way Emmitt looked when he came to the Cowboys. I just don’t think he will be big enough to take the every-day pounding.” From Spokane, Wash. “He’s pretty damn good,” said a third scout. “He’s not dynamic but the kid’s got great feel and is quick as hell. Real similar to Giovani Bernard.”
4. TRE MASON, Auburn (5-8½, 206, 4.48, 2-3) – Third-year junior. “I think he’s built for the league the way it is now,” one scout said. “Now it (his size) is fine. He’ll be a great screen runner but he’ll make his carries, too.” Saved his best performances for the last three games; broke Bo Jackson’s school record for yards in a season (1,816) on his final carry. “He maximizes all the talent he’s got,” another scout said. “Runs hard. Gives you everything he’s got. Knows how to run.” Finished with 516 carries for 2,979 yards (5.8) and 31 TDs, and caught 19 passes. Sixth in Heisman Trophy voting. “He fumbles left and right,” a third scout said. “I like his grit, and he’s tough as hell. But I don’t think he’s going to last. They’ll beat the hell out of him.” His father, Vincent, is a hip-hop artist for the influential early rap group De La Soul. From Palm Beach, Fla. “He’s not real elusive,” a fourth scout said. “Doesn’t break enough tackles.” The doctors for two teams said he needs wrist surgery.
5. ANDRE WILLIAMS, Boston College (5-11½, 230, 4.52, 2-3) – Compared by one scout to Shonn Greene. “Really tough kid,” one scout said. “If you want somebody to carry the ball 25 times a game between the tackles this is your guy. He’s an old-time running back. He would do better without a rotation just wearing people down. Not real elusive, but once he gets out there he just makes plays.” Blossomed when BC switched from a zone to power ground game in 2013 and led the nation with 2,177 yards and finished fourth in the Heisman voting. “Lacks twitch, elude,” said a second scout. “Strong, tight, downhill, straight-line runner. Needs a lane.” Finished with 704 carries for 3,754 yards (5.3) and 28 TDs. Didn’t catch a pass as a senior and had merely 10 in career. “Worst hands I’ve ever seen,” said a third scout. “I never even saw them pitch it to him. You would be crazy to pitch it to him. It’s so bad, you feel bad for the kid. I saw a game and the pregame was atrocious. He’s working on it, but it’s, like, ‘What have you been doing for four years?'” His inadequacies as a receiver were keenly evident in combine drills. Highest Wonderlic (23) of leading backs. From Allentown, Pa.
6. TERRANCE WEST, Towson (5-9, 225, 4.56, 3) – Was working selling shoes after high school graduation in Baltimore when he hopped on two different buses each day to try out at nearby Towson. “He made it that way,” one scout said. “He has a little bit of an edge. He’s a real street kid. But the guy has some hunger and football’s important to him.” Carried 802 times, most by one of the top backs, for 4,849 yards (6.1) and 84 TDs to go with 36 receptions. “Dominated I-AA football,” the scout said. “He’s not a blazer but he’s a 4.5 guy. He’s a yoked-up 225. Good feet. Knows how to play. Good hands. For a guy that was the back of I-AA football, pretty good pass pro guy. He’s been the king of his level and school.” Turned off one scout with what he described as a know-it-all attitude. “Doesn’t take coaching,” he said. “You might as well not even waste your time.” Fourth-year junior.
7. DEVONTA FREEMAN, Florida State (5-8, 205, 4.54, 3) – First 1,000-yard rusher (1,016) for Seminoles since Warrick Dunn in 1996. “He’s a tough guy and he does everything,” said one scout. “He’s just not big. That’s the problem. He tries in blitz (pickup), but that will be an issue.” Third-year junior with 404 carries for 2,255 yards (5.6) and 30 TDs to go with 47 catches. “Love him,” another scout said. “Not high (in the draft) but love him. That (expletive) is a football player.” From Miami. “Pretty exciting little player,” said a third scout. “Very focused. This kid will never be a problem.”
8. CHARLES SIMS, West Virginia (6-0, 214, 4.49, 3-4) – Graduated in May 2013 after a successful career at Houston, his hometown school, and joined the Mountaineers. “He did the same thing in one year at West Virginia he did at Houston,” one scout said. “He’s got a little more juice than some of these senior backs. He’s got the quickness and catches the ball well.” Finished with 592 carries for 3,465 yards (5.9) and 40 TDs to go with a whopping 203 receptions for 2,108 yards (10.8) and 11 TDs. “I’m not a fan,” another scout said. “I see a guy that isn’t very tough and isn’t strong. For as big as he is he doesn’t break a lot of tackles and doesn’t get a lot of yards after contact. He has no run instincts. His vision is bad. I see a guy that will battle for like a practice-squad job.”
9. KA’DEEM CAREY, Arizona (5-9½, 208, 4.69, 4) – Third-year junior with tremendous two-year production in coach Rich Rodriguez’s spread attack. “He’s a power guy,” one scout said. “He’s got vision. He runs inside pretty well. He’s got some off-the-field stuff that you need to check into.” Was ejected from a basketball game on campus in January 2013 following an altercation. Wonderlic of 9. “Then he verified his lack of speed at the workout,” another scout said. “I just didn’t think he had that extra spurt. That offense really helped him a lot.” Carried 743 times for school-record 4,239 yards (5.7) and 48 TDs to go with 77 catches. “Doesn’t thrill me,” a third scout said. “Not a particularly skilled runner. Picks up some yards but takes a lot of hits.” Endured a dreadful gauntlet drill trying to catch the ball at the combine. From Tucson, Ariz.
10. STORM JOHNSON, Central Florida (5-11½, 214, 4.58, 4-5) – After one season he decided to transfer from Miami to UCF following an incident on campus and then sat out ’11. “Quick, athletic, fast,” said one scout. “Good pass catcher. He’ll be a starter.” Carried 335 times for 1,765 yards (5.3) and 19 TDs to go with 40 receptions. Also fumbled eight times in last two seasons. “He’s got to be consistent and stop putting the ball on the ground,” another scout said. “A lot of that comes from flagging and trying to shake people. Not a burner but he’s got good speed. He’s got quick feet and can catch out of the backfield.” Fourth-year junior from Loganville, Ga. “He’s run of the mill,” said a third scout. “He’s a big back that runs like a small back and doesn’t have really good balance. Dime a dozen.”
11. LACHE SEASTRUNK, Baylor (5-9½, 200, 4.45, 4-5) – Five of his 19 TDs were longer than 68 yards. Played better in 2012. “His problem this year was he was dinged up,” said one scout. “You’re talking about a guy who can fly. He’s better than all the (small) backs.” Posted the best vertical jump (41½ inches) and broad jump (11-2) of the leading RBs. Fourth-year junior had 289 carries for 2,189 yards (7.6) and 18 TDs but caught just nine passes (none in ’13). Wonderlic of 9. “He’s dynamic,” another scout said. “Rare speed. Not very powerful. His deal is he had no receptions. Nine test, lost in protections. Cannot play in the pass game.” Began career at Oregon in 2010 but transferred after being embroiled in recruiting violations. From Temple, Texas.
12. DE’ANTHONY THOMAS, Oregon (5-8½, 174, 4.39, 4-5) – “He’s like a subpackage subpackage guy,” one scout said. “There’s only going to be so much what you can do with the guy.” Third-year junior from Los Angeles. “He doesn’t play with any strength at all,” a second scout said. “He’s pure speed and quickness but he gets swept off his feet. If they get an arm on him down low he’ll go down. He’ll have the same problem in the NFL that all little returners have. Those big linebackers pull him apart and there goes the ball.” Rushed 243 times for 1,890 yards (7.8) and 26 TDs to go with 113 receptions for 1,296 (11.5) and 15 TDs. “Name me an Oregon running back that has played in the NFL,” a third scout said. “They can’t play. They’re too small.” Wonderlic of 14. Nicknamed “The Black Mamba.”
OTHERS: Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern; James White, Wisconsin; Tyler Gaffney, Stanford; Alfred Blue, Louisiana State; Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky; David Fluellen, Toledo; Damien Williams, ex-Oklahoma; Ladarius Perkins, Mississippi State; Lorenzo Taliaferro, Coastal Carolina; George Atkinson, Notre Dame; Isaiah Crowell, Alabama State.
1. TREY MILLARD, Oklahoma (6-2½, 247, 4.65, 5-6) – Four-year starter. “He was the best one,” said one scout. “Pretty good at everything. Really good special-teams player. Can catch it. Runs with it OK. Above average blocker…not a hammer in there. Just a good football player.” Blew out his ACL in Game 8, affecting draft status. Carried 98 times for 538 yards (5.5) and six TDs, and caught 70 passes. “He’s not special but he does everything,” a second scout said. “He’s a tough guy.” Wonderlic of 33. From Columbia, Mo.
2. JAY PROSCH, Auburn (6-1, 254, 4.74, 6) – Started at Illinois in 2010-’11 before transferring closer to home (Mobile, Ala.) after his mother developed a fatal brain tumor. “He’s got the build of a weightlifter,” one scout said. “He’s a little more athletic than you’d think. He’s got some stiffness. He catches the ball adequately. Great, great kid.” Started two more seasons for Auburn, finishing with 14 carries for 47 yards (2.7) and two TDs to go with 11 catches in complete career.
3. J.C. COPELAND, Louisiana State (5-11, 271, 4.97, 6-7) – From LaGrange, Ga., where he prepped as a defensive lineman. Shifted to FB upon arrival in 2010 and started 19 of 48 games. “Not bad hands for a big ol’ guy,” one scout said. Carried 36 times for 92 yards (2.6) and seven TDs to go with seven receptions. “He’s a big load,” said another scout. “He runs decently on the goal line.”
OTHERS: Ryan Hewitt, Stanford; Kyle Williams, Utah; Ray Agnew, Southern Illinois; Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest; Kiero Small, Arkansas.