Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

2022 NFL Draft rankings: RB (Part 4)

Breece Hall

Breece Hall

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Statistical rankings below courtesy of PFF and Football Outsiders. Team run block ranking* based on top-70 draft-eligible FBS RBs (sub-divisions not included). All other rankings are based on 80 draft-eligible players with PFF grades.

*This is a metric of mine that combines various tools – including FOA’s average line yards, opportunity rate, power rate, and stuff rate, and PFF’s run-blocking grades – to give an all-encompassing depiction of 2021 blocking quality received. This can help show which prospects were in advantageous and disadvantageous collegiate situations (in this case only, the lower the ranking, the better).

1. Breece Hall | Iowa State | 5112/218

DOB: 05.31.01

RAS: 9.96

2021 PFF grade: 15

Elusive rating: 31

PFF receiving grade: 6

PFF pass blocking: 51

YCO/A: 54

Team run block rank: 58

2021 gap runs: 75

2021 zone runs: 175

Hall ended the RB1 debate for me at the NFL Combine. He’d always been an underrated athlete, going back to high school, but I didn’t realize just how much I’d personally undersold him. Hall’s 40-yard dash, broad jump, and vertical jumps all finished in the 91st-percentile or above.

A two-time first-team Associated Press All-American, two-time Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, and two-time top-10 finisher in the Heisman voting, Hall dominated in Ames despite being a marked man in non-ideal circumstances. He played behind a poor offensive line, beside a quarterback who couldn’t stretch the defense vertically.

Hall was a heaven-sent gift for that offensive line. He’s patient behind the LOS, allowing his blocks to set up, never forcing the issue. Emphatic one-cut authority into holes. Plays cat-and-mouse games with linebackers behind the LOS, coaxing over-commitals or indecision that erase them from plays.

Pedal-to-metal accelerator when the opportunity presents itself. Hall gets through holes and into the second level faster than any 210-plus pound runner in the class. Decelerates just as suddenly. So many collegiate defenders were on his door-step but got a fist-full of nothin’ because of Hall’s stop-start machinations and short-area footwork.

A tackle-breaking power runner with outstanding balance, Hall runs through arm tackles and absorbs contact without losing his equilibrium. He had rampage plays in college where he decided he wasn’t going down and broke tackles at every level en route to the end zone. A headache at the collision point for anyone. Hall chooses violence, accelerating into contact with bad intentions. Rarely takes the worst of it.

Not only a ludicrously productive bell-cow runner, Hall is also one of the best receiving backs in the class. He caught an incredible 82-of-93 collegiate targets (88.2%). After dropping three balls as a true freshman, Hall cleaned up this area of the game and dropped only two over 66 targets the ensuing two seasons. He’s not as versatile in this area as he is as a runner, though.

Hall doesn’t scare the defense lined up out wide, and he doesn’t threaten downfield. Hall caught only three balls 10-19 beyond the LOS in college, and none 20-plus yards downfield. Some of that was usage, but he didn’t appear as comfortable adjusting for balls upfield in his limited looks. On short targets, he aggressively makes plays for the ball, uses his body to shield defenders, and spears balls clean. The deeper downfield you go, the less aggressive and smooth he is, with balls descending on him quickly, and his hands used to corral and control instead of cleanly pick.

That’s more of a nitpick – don’t put him into those situations and it goes away. Hall’s pass-blocking is the only legitimate quasi-weakness in his profile. He’s engaged and willing, but can become tentative with his assignment when defensive fronts get exotic and blitzes come from unexpected directions. He also has a bad habit of getting over his skis and lunging forward at pursuers.

Hall is a reliable bellcow who’ll add value to an NFL passing game if used correctly. He piles up enormous all-purpose yardage in college while taking care of the ball, with only one fumble every 200 touches. Projecting as an immediate three-down difference-maker in the NFL, Hall has a shot to breach late-Round 1. If not, his name will be called very early on Friday night.

Comp: Matt Forte

2. Kenneth Walker III | Michigan State | 5092/209

RAS: 9.24

2021 PFF grade: 7

Elusive rating: 3

PFF receiving grade: 53

PFF pass blocking: 56

YCO/A: 5

Team run block rank: 38

2021 gap runs: 84

2021 zone runs: 177

Walker began his career in Wake Forest’s slow-mesh RPO system, the most uniquely wonky offense in the FBS today. Stuck in a timeshare in a scheme that wasn’t showcasing him doing NFL work, Walker decided to transfer in the offseason.

He’s one of the great success stories in the transfer portal’s short history. Running behind a lead blocker in a more traditional offense last year, Walker won the Walter Camp Player of the Year and Doak Walker award (top RB) after running for 1,636 rushing yards on 6.2 YPC. Michigan State improved from 2-5 to 11-2.

As with Breece Hall, Walker dispelled any concerns about his athletic profile at the NFL Combine. Walker’s 4.38 forty drew a lot of chatter in Indianapolis. Along with a 95th-percentile 10-yard split and a 75th-percentile broad jump, Walker almost assuredly guaranteed himself the honor of being one of the first-two RBs off the board later this month.

Walker has a slalom-skier running style. He changes directions violently and suddenly, buckling the ankles of defenders. Twitchy mover, elite lateral agility. Explosion out of cuts helps free him from danger. Cutback king who thrives in chaos. Walker’s style keep defenders guessing, and can disconnect them from their teammates and glitch their mainframes. He is constantly moving the goalposts, turning group pursuit into an every-man-for-himself exercise.

What separates Walker from other jukestick agility backs from recent years is the speed/acceleration combination in a muscle-bound frame. Walker has very good field vision and makes sound decisions behind the line. He detonates through holes and accesses his top-gear quickly. Physical when he needs to be, especially at the end of runs, dropping his shoulders and barreling through contact.

Walker is a rancid pass blocker, and Michigan State knew it, holding him to 66 reps. Walker got tagged with five pressures and four hurries responsible-for, anyway. He makes business decisions and doesn’t put himself in harm’s way. As a receiver, Walker is a last-resort dump-off guy who doesn’t run routes. Over his three-year career, Walker was targeted beyond the LOS a mere eight times, and he converted only four into catches.

As a pure runner, Kenneth Walker stands alone in this class, a proven workhorse with high-end NFL athleticism and a deep grab-bag of tricks for defenders. But he loses out to Breece Hall for RB1 because I’m doubtful Walker will provide anything to an NFL passing game. It speaks to Walker’s specialness as a runner that he’s entering a passing league without passing-game utility as a top-50 overall prospect at a devalued position.

Comp: DeAngelo Williams

3. Isaiah Spiller | Texas A&M | 6003/217

DOB: 08.09.01

RAS: 5.61

2021 PFF grade: 22

Elusive rating: 7

PFF receiving grade: 8

PFF pass blocking: 59

YCO/A: 22

Team run block rank: 30

2021 gap runs: 49

2021 zone runs: 129

Three-year workhorse at Texas A&M that averaged a tick over 1,000 rushing yards per season. The Aggies’ backfield was loaded throughout his time but nobody challenged Spiller’s spot at the top of the pecking order. In contrast to Hall and Walker, Spiller’s stock took a hit during pre-draft testing. He ducked the 40-yard dash, and probably should have ducked the rest. Spiller posted sub-10th percentile vertical and broad jumps.

Athleticism isn’t his game. All-purpose, every-down reliability is. You sacrifice home run plays for situation-controlled efficiency. Spiller is a fluid tempo-runner with a Terminator-like wide-angle field of vision. Works in concert with his line, following their push. Bursty accelerator through creases.

Spiller doesn’t have Walker’s ankle-breaking agility, but he makes guys miss with his quick cuts. Will string together footwork combos that disarm pursuers. One of his best attributes is the ability to make these cuts without losing speed, forcing a lot of off-angle tackle attempts. Spiller, who runs with good pad level and a wide, fortified base, brushes those off like mosquitoes.

The jury is out on Spiller’s passing game utility. But he could ultimately turn out to be a plus in this area. His pass-blocking needs a lot of work, but he’s shown enough promise in that area to be worth the developmental effort. Spiller takes the work seriously and tries to be of service, but he prioritizes initial force of impact more than technique and keeping a sturdy base, and he can get caught zeroing in on one area of the line while missing a newly-emerging threat elsewhere.

As a receiver, Spiller made a ton of progress on campus. After dropping six balls his first two seasons, he caught 25 passes with zero drops in 2021. As is the case with him as a runner, he’s not a big-play threat after the catch, but Spiller’s vision, footwork, and power lead to reliable YAC yards.

Spiller may not be one of the first-three backs off the board due to his disappointing testing. And he may ultimately have to settle for Round 3 instead of Round 2. But he’s going to be an immediate starter for his NFL team. If his untapped passing-down upside is realized, Pro Bowls are in his future.

Comp: Deuce McCallister

4. Zamir White | Georgia | 5117/217

DOB: 09.18.99

RAS: 9.81

2021 PFF grade: 10

Elusive rating: 34

PFF receiving grade: 24

PFF pass blocking: 78

YCO/A: 23

Team run block rank: 7

2021 gap runs: 82

2021 zone runs: 77

Entered the pre-draft process in the mid-Day 3 range but left the NFL Combine very much in the Day 2 discussion. Zamir White’s athleticism was vaunted as a top-20 overall recruit. But after he tore his right ACL in the 2017 high school playoffs, and then tore his left ACL less than a year later in summer practices at Georgia.

White didn’t start his career as the same sort of back he’d been advertised as. He was Georgia’s designated early-down grinder, and brought to the work consistent physicality, block-following discipline, and a penchant for making the right decisions. We saw more flashes of his upfield explosion over the last-half of his career, when his knees were healthiest.

White keeps a wide base and advances with quick-chop steps. Sudden cuts, with smooth feet and a springy lower-half. This is his evasion card. White otherwise is a straight-line swinging hammer who can’t change directions without toggling down the gears. Runs ticked-off and drops the hammer on contact. He has some of the best contact balance in the class, keeping his feet while eating direct shots.

The biggest concerns with White are durability – NFL medical staffs will need to be comfortable with each of his knees – and a lack of passing-down utility. White has very little experience in this area after Georgia justifiably gave James Cook passing-down work. White has never looked comfortable in either pass-pro or as a receiver. But due to his one-cut authoritative style and tackle-breaking power, NFL teams with zone-blocking offenses figured to be interested somewhere between picks 50-75.

Comp: Cam Akers

5. Rachaad White | Arizona State | 6006/215

DOB: 01.12.99

RAS: 9.87

2021 PFF grade: 3

Elusive rating: 27

PFF receiving grade: 1

PFF pass blocking: 44

YCO/A: 31

Team run block rank: 2

2021 gap runs: 70

2021 zone runs: 111

White wasn’t just overlooked as a recruit, colleges flat missed him. He redshirted for a year at Division II Nebraska-Kearney and then skipped down to JUCO for a showcase opportunity. A two-year stop culminated in a JUCO first-team All-American nod, ultimately leading him to Arizona State.

He got there during the COVID offseason with decreased practices, and ASU’s 2020 season was cleaved by more than half. But White flashed in four games, leading the FBS with 10.0 YPC. Last season we saw the entire package, with nearly 1,500 all-purpose yards despite playing through a leg injury and opting-out of the bowl game.

White’s receiving chops pop off tape. He’s the best receiving back in this class. White is comfortable lining up wide or in the slot. Defenses don’t regard him as a running back playing receiver out there, they regard him as the legitimate weapon that he is. White’s electric feet naturally create separation, and his ball skills stretch to all three levels.

Natural hands catcher. Hold on through contact. Bails out poor throws, picking them off the carpet, going up for overthrows, and adjusting to placement mistakes by snaring outside his frame. He moves too well in the open field to trust most linebackers with the coverage assignment. Elite athlete in a well-built package. Problem in the open field due to his sports car acceleration and long speed, and ability to make multiple defenders miss. In space, he sees the field really well and veers through traffic with a plan.

He’s not the natural as a runner that he is as a receiver. The athleticism and leg-drive plays, and opens up the possibility of explosive plays. But White can rush things and serve himself up to the post-snap stalemate instead of waiting out blocks. While White is well-built, he doesn’t absorb contact as well as my other top prospects. Leave the short-yardage work to someone else. The lack of play strength also shows in pass-pro, where White tries but misses keys and gets knocked backwards.

Because White got a late start in college football and stuck around five years for his full-season opportunity, he’s 23, a year or two older than some others. But he’s still improving and has the projectability and diverse skillset to assume more of that is coming. If used correctly, in the niches he excels in, White will bring big-play-waiting-to-happen fireworks to an NFL offense without taking much off the table.

Comp: David Johnson

6. Abram Smith | Baylor | 5115/213

DOB: 09.14.98

RAS: 6.54

2021 PFF grade: 6

Elusive rating: 41

PFF receiving grade: 59

PFF pass blocking: 53

YCO/A: 10

Team run block rank: 16

2021 gap runs: 25

2021 zone runs: 229

An overlooked recruit ranked outside the top-50 RBs in his class, Smith originally intended to go to Tulsa. But after Matt Rhule got involved in his process upon taking the Baylor job, Smith flipped. Smith tore his ACL and MCL in spring practice three months after signing (his second ACL tear following a high school injury), forcing a redshirt year. Smith received only 12 carries over the next season-and-a-half before Rhule decided to move him to LB mid-season 2019.

Rhule left for the Panthers prior to the COVID-shortened 2020 season, and new HC Dave Aranda kept Smith at LB. Smith began to show aptitude after entering the starting lineup for the last four games, averaging 11.5 tackles per game over that stretch. Baylor’s lack of running back depth precipitated Aranda’s staff asking Smith to move back to offense for his fifth-year senior campaign. Smith seized the starting job out of camp and went on to set a school-record with 1,601 rushing yards on 6.2 YPC.

Smith is an upright-running power-back with an ideal NFL build. What stunned me about his 2021 season was how quickly he looked like a veteran running in Baylor’s wide-zone system. Smith picks down the line patiently, follows the flow of his blockers, finds the hole, and cuts with physical authority into it. Very good vision and sense for timing. Profit-taking runner that’s rarely finished behind the line.

Extremely physical. Used to be a linebacker and wants opposing linebackers to know it, relishing the opportunity to knock them backwards. Ricochets off contact and keeps moving. You need a finishing-shot to get him on the ground, and he’ll claw for every last inch until his knee hits the ground.

Smith a little stiff in the lower half and lacks joystick agility, along with high-end speed. His fighter’s mentality as a runner could stand to be modulated with more nuance, such as toggling speeds and stringing together cuts to try to side-step confrontations instead of seeking them out. Smith was one of the nation’s best backs after contact last season, so I don’t want to nitpick this area too much. But there are times it would serve him to try to delay first contact longer.

Smith isn’t going to contribute much as a receiver, so you’ll need a satellite back. And it’s hard to say what kind of pass blocker he’ll become. In his first extended work last year, Smith brought his tone-setting physicality to the task, stopping a few blitzing linebackers in their tracks, but his inexperience shone through, chasing shiny objects, looking for kill shots, and forgetting his base. But even if he rarely plays on passing downs, you can’t say he lacks versatility: Smith has a lot of special teams experience and will contribute to several units in the NFL.

There’s a lot to work with here for zone-running teams. Smith should be a tone-setting early-down thumper for years, he’s a value-add to your special teams, and you might just make a standout pass protector out of him yet.

Comp: DeMarco Murray

7. Dameon Pierce | Florida | 5095/224

DOB: 02.19.00
RAS: 7.04
2021 PFF grade: 1 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 4
PFF receiving grade: 3
PFF pass blocking: 12
YCO/A: 21
Team run block rank: 48 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 42
2021 zone runs: 57

Comp: David Montgomery

Pierce scouting report

8. James Cook | Georgia | 5114/204

DOB: 09.25.99
RAS: 8.73
2021 PFF grade: 21 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 33
PFF receiving grade: 4
PFF pass blocking: 30
YCO/A: 11
Team run block rank: 6 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 43
2021 zone runs: 60

Comp: Felix Jones

Cook scouting report

9. Pierre Strong Jr. | South Dakota State | 5113/207

DOB: 12.10.98
RAS: 9.32
2021 PFF grade: 20 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 43
PFF receiving grade: 77
PFF pass blocking: 73
YCO/A: 30
Team run block rank: N/A
2021 gap runs: 95
2021 zone runs: 144

Comp: Darrell Henderson

Strong scouting report

10. Brian Robinson Jr. | Alabama | 6015/224

DOB: 03.22.99
RAS: 6.56
2021 PFF grade: 16 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 24
PFF receiving grade: 51
PFF pass blocking: 48
YCO/A: 37
Team run block rank: 19 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 72
2021 zone runs: 195

Comp: Latavius Murray

Robinson scouting report

11. Kevin Harris | South Carolina | 5097/222

DOB: 11.17.00
RAS: 7.06
2021 PFF grade: 33 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 59
PFF receiving grade: 74
PFF pass blocking: 34
YCO/A: 41
Team run block rank: 56 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 73
2021 zone runs: 72

Comp: Julius Jones

Harris scouting report

12. Jerome Ford | Cincinnati | 5104/211

DOB: 09.12.99
RAS: 6.87
2021 PFF grade: 12 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 39
PFF receiving grade: 29
PFF pass blocking: 47
YCO/A: 44
Team run block rank: 15 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 104
2021 zone runs: 106

Comp: Sony Michel

Ford scouting report

13. Tyler Allgeier | BYU | 5106/221

RAS: 7.33
2021 PFF grade: 4 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 11
PFF receiving grade: 19
PFF pass blocking: 31
YCO/A: 7
Team run block rank: 5
2021 gap runs: 54
2021 zone runs: 213

Comp: Alex Collins

Allgeier scouting report

14. Tyler Goodson | Iowa | 5093/202

DOB: 11.10.00
RAS: 9.53
2021 PFF grade: 69 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 73
PFF receiving grade: 14
PFF pass blocking: 36
YCO/A: 73
Team run block rank: 42 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 24
2021 zone runs: 226

Comp: Chase Edmonds

Goodson scouting report

15. Tyrion Davis-Price | LSU | 6000/211

DOB: 10.20.00
RAS: 8.28
2021 PFF grade: 37 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 51
PFF receiving grade: 47
PFF pass blocking: 1
YCO/A: 56
Team run block rank: 44 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 105
2021 zone runs: 105

Comp: Devontae Booker

Davis-Price scouting report

16. Jerrion Ealy | Mississippi | 5081/187

DOB: 08.19.00
RAS: 6.07
2021 PFF grade: 18 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 5
PFF receiving grade: 2
PFF pass blocking: 77
YCO/A: 8
Team run block rank: 28 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 39
2021 zone runs: 91

Comp: Myles Gaskin

Ealy scouting report

17. Tyler Badie | Missouri | 5080/197

DOB: 02.07.00
RAS: 6.34
2021 PFF grade: 19 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 40
PFF receiving grade: 23
PFF pass blocking: 66
YCO/A: 32
Team run block rank: 21 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 94
2021 zone runs: 174

Comp: Michael Carter

Badie scouting report

18. Kyren Williams | Notre Dame | 5092/194

DOB: 08.26.00
RAS: 4.52
2021 PFF grade: 29 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 14
PFF receiving grade: 5
PFF pass blocking: 45
YCO/A: 16
Team run block rank: 35 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 99
2021 zone runs: 103

Comp: Demetric Felton

Williams scouting report

19. D’Vonte Price | FIU | 6010/210

DOB: 06.02.99
RAS: 9.7
2021 PFF grade: 45 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 23
PFF receiving grade: 75
PFF pass blocking: 40
YCO/A: 36
Team run block rank: 41 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 49
2021 zone runs: 77

Comp: J.R. Redmond

Price scouting report

20. Isaih Pacheco | Rutgers | 5102/222

DOB: 03.02.99
RAS: 8.81
2021 PFF grade: 47 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 78
PFF receiving grade: 32
PFF pass blocking: 24
YCO/A: 53
Team run block rank: 69 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 77
2021 zone runs: 83

Comp: Kylin Hill

Pacheco scouting report

21. Zonovan Knight | North Carolina State | 5107/209

RAS: 5.75
2021 PFF grade: 53 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 12
PFF receiving grade: 28
PFF pass blocking: 28
YCO/A: 28
Team run block rank: 31 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 36
2021 zone runs: 103

Comp: Khalil Herbert

Knight scouting report

22. Hassan Haskins | Michigan | 6017/227

DOB: 11.26.99
2021 PFF grade: 2 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 45
PFF receiving grade: 15
PFF pass blocking: 17
YCO/A: 45
Team run block rank: 18 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 186
2021 zone runs: 83

Comp: Gus Edwards

Haskins scouting report

23. Kennedy Brooks | Oklahoma | 5105/209

DOB: 10.08.98
RAS: 5.9
2021 PFF grade: 8 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 8
PFF receiving grade: 71
PFF pass blocking: 46
YCO/A: 9
Team run block rank: 13 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 93
2021 zone runs: 103

Comp: Bilal Powell

Brooks scouting report

24. Max Borghi | Washington State | 5093/210

DOB: 04.23.99
RAS: 7.46
2021 PFF grade: 9 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 18
PFF receiving grade: 52
PFF pass blocking: 27
YCO/A: 29
Team run block rank: 66 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 66
2021 zone runs: 74

Comp: Eno Benjamin

Borghi scouting report

25. Ty Chandler | North Carolina | 5112/203

DOB: 05.12.98
RAS: 8.82
2021 PFF grade: 17 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 19
PFF receiving grade: 48
PFF pass blocking: 37
YCO/A: 13
Team run block rank: 26 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 76
2021 zone runs: 96

Comp: Xavier Jones

Chandler scouting report

26. ZaQuandre White | South Carolina | 6001/215

DOB: 12.21.98
RAS: 4.03
2021 PFF grade: 25 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 2
PFF receiving grade: 18
PFF pass blocking: 55
YCO/A: 2
Team run block rank: 55 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 38
2021 zone runs: 47

Comp: TJ Yeldon

27. Snoop Conner | Mississippi | 5101/219

DOB: 08.01.00
RAS: 6.99
2021 PFF grade: 50 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 69
PFF receiving grade: 21
PFF pass blocking: 67
YCO/A: 68
Team run block rank: 29 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 51
2021 zone runs: 78

Comp: Alexander Mattison

28. Keaontay Ingram | USC | 5115/220

DOB: 10.26.99
2021 PFF grade: 11 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 28
PFF receiving grade: 41
PFF pass blocking: 74
YCO/A: 17
Team run block rank: 10 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 61
2021 zone runs: 89

Comp: Chris Ivory

29. Jashaun Corbin | Florida State | 5111/203

DOB: 08.20.00
2021 PFF grade: 51 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 35
PFF receiving grade: 42
PFF pass blocking: 14
YCO/A: 3
Team run block rank: 59 (out of 80)
2021 gap runs: 100
2021 zone runs: 42

Comp: Deon Jackson

30. Sincere McCormick | UTSA | 5084/205

DOB: 09.10.00
RAS: 3.86
2021 PFF grade: 23 (out of 80)
Elusive rating: 71
PFF receiving grade: 50
PFF pass blocking: 22
YCO/A: 66
Team run block rank: 36 (out of 70)
2021 gap runs: 109
2021 zone runs: 185

Comp: Devin Singletary

Thor’s recent NFL Draft work: