The 2023 NFL Draft is right around the corner and it's time to take a closer look at the top running back prospects who will be starring in fantasy football lineups soon enough. As the NFL offseason rolls along, dynasty fantasy football is still very prevalent as we all focus on the incoming NFL rookies and top 2023 NFL Draft prospects. Knowing about the best NFL Draft running back prospects is key, whether you're participating in fantasy football best ball drafts, dynasty fantasy football leagues, or fantasy football mock drafts. Bijan Robinson headlines this year's rookie RBs and is a popular name in 2023 NFL mock drafts. We also have intriguing prospects like Jahmyr Gibbs, Zach Charbonnet, and Devon Achane who may rise up fantasy football rankings as rookies. Let's now dive into the top 2023 NFL Draft Running Back prospects ahead of the first round on April 27th.
If you missed it, check out more positional scouting reports for the 2023 NFL Draft:
2023 NFL Draft Top Running Back Prospects
Bijan Robinson, Texas
If you’ve been checking out NFL mock drafts lately, you know that Bijan Robinson is this year’s clear-cut top RB prospect. There’s a chance the former Texas Longhorn gets drafted in the top 10, but he’ll no doubt be a first-round pick. Robinson boasts the ideal NFL bell-cow combo of being a physical, power back with elite-level vision, elusiveness, and patience. He’s the complete package and a proven workhorse back while also having receiving skills out of the backfield. Robinson should be the top rookie RB in dynasty fantasy football drafts and, depending on the landing spot, could even be a second-round pick in redraft leagues. Not to over-hype him, but Bijan has legit superstar potential and reminds you of Ezekiel Elliott or Saquon Barkley at his best. Check out Robinson's game tape from last year's late-season performance vs Kansas when he broke off a season-high 243 rushing yards with 9.7 ypc and four TDs.
Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
Alabama has a strong history of producing top-tier NFL running back draft prospects and Jahmyr Gibbs is the next in line. However, Gibbs is a different type of RB than fellow Crimson Tide products like Najee Harris, Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs, and Brian Robinson of recent years. At 5-foot-9 and 200 pounds, he’s a smaller-bodied back but a big play waiting to happen any time he touches the ball. Gibbs has tons of agility with a quick-burst and stop-start shiftiness to elude tacklers and break off long gains. He’s an electric athlete in the open space and reminds you of Chris Johnson when he explodes through a hole or catches a quick pass out of the backfield. Speaking of pass-catching, Gibbs is a great receiver who even lined out wide and in the slot for Alabama last season. There are shades of Alvin Kamara all over his skillset. The only knock is his size and lack of power running, which could prevent Gibbs from being a true three-down back in the NFL.
Zach Charbonnet, UCLA
Charbonnet was very productive in a workhorse role for Chip Kelly’s UCLA offenses over the past two years. At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, he’s a power back and downhill runner who consistently plays with aggression and physicality to break tackles. Even at his bigger size, Charbonnet has the acceleration, cutback ability, and vision to burst through holes and force missed tackles while breaking off long runs. He has the ideal combination of size, power, and speed that NFL teams look for in a reliable running back starter. Charbonnet’s biggest weakness is his lack of elite-level agility or top-notch speed like other RB prospects Jahmyr Gibbs and Devon Achane.
Devon Achane, Texas A&M
If you want pure speed in a rookie running back, Devon Achane is your guy. His 4.32 40-yard dash time was the third-fastest among all players at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine and he was an All-American track athlete at Texas A&M. The short-burst agility, breakaway speed, and elusiveness are evident every time Achane touches the ball – which is why he was plenty involved as a rusher, receiver, and returner last season at A&M. In fact, he earned first-team All-SEC honors at both running back and all-purpose back. At 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds, Achane is a bit undersized to be an every-down NFL back. Still, his acceleration and shiftiness will make him an excellent change-of-pace RB right away – similar to Tony Pollard with the Dallas Cowboys over the last few seasons.
Tyjae Spears, Tulane
Tyjae Spears broke onto the national radar this season as the AAC Offensive Player of the Year and a star for Tulane’s Cotton Bowl-winning squad. Spears has tremendous instincts and vision as a runner to hit holes or bounce it outside and make plays in a variety of ways. His experience in Tulane’s RPO-based offense will translate well to the NFL. Plus, Spears showed that he can take direct snaps at RB and read defenses to make the most out of every touch. Though he doesn’t possess elite-level speed, Spears does have the short-burst and cutting ability to run away from defenders and rack up yards after contact.
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Related NFL Links:
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- 2023 NFL Free Agent Tracker
- 2023 NFL Offseason Recap
- 2023 NFL Draft Top Quarterback Prospects: Bryce Young & C.J. Stroud Headline the Rookie QB Class
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