Underrated Running Backs (Sleepers/Gems)

By Nolan Kuzmick, Ourlads’ Draft Analyst

LaDarius Perkins - Mississippi State

LaDarius Perkins–Mississippi State, rSr: Hits holes quick, doesn’t need much space to get through. Has nice soft hands, catches the ball and gets up field immediately. Lowers his shoulder and powers into defenders, always going forward. Stops fast and has the ability to change direction quickly. Lays a nice chip on defenders when blocking. Had very solid results at the combine. My top RB sleeper this year.  Projected FA, worthy of a 3rd round choice
Branden Oliver–Buffalo, rSr: Powerful back with good size to run over guys and carry them with him. Can be used in short yardage situations, but also has the speed to weave through defenders and find the end zone. Doesn’t have the fastest cuts, but settles his feet and prepares for impact and takes time to cut in the correct direction, once he decides he has good acceleration. Has the ability to lose defenders with his cuts and find open field. Showed improvement in his catching, pass protection and quickness in cuts during his senior season.  Projected FA, worthy of a 5th round choice
Tim Flanders–Sam Houston State, rSr: Runs with good pad level and can push for extra yards while being tackled, puts his shoulder down and inflicts the hit. Has a nice slide hop sideways to find the running lane, great lateral movement. Runs with nice patience, but gets upfield immediately once it’s open. Has good hands out of the back field, gets out of the back field fast and finds open field, can catch the intermediate to long balls. Can grind out the tough yards and shows a burst of speed. Efficient style runner who gets the tough yards and can break it. Smaller school talent that didn’t receive enough recognition.  Projected FA, worthy of a 5th round pick
Kapri Bibbs–Colorado State, rSo: Has a zig-zag running style, cutting back often. Has good hips and is elusive with his cut back, losing defenders. Can plow through arm tackles and get yards after contact with nice leg drive. Strong runner that makes space and can get large chunk yardage, but is mainly a grind it out kind of runner.  Projected FA, worthy of a 6th round pick
Storm Johnson-UCF, rJr: Johnson can take it all the way on any given play and his elusiveness and acceleration are most impressive. He can stop and start and cutback to find running lanes, making each play exciting. Johnson is extraordinary catching out of the backfield and on draws. His skill set fits a third down RB in the NFL, but at 215 pounds he may be an every down back if he can prove he can run it up the middle at the next level and carry the load.  Projected 5th round, worthy of a 3rd round choice
Vintavious Cooper–East Carolina, Sr: Elusive 3rd down back that is best on draws and screens. Can slip through small holes and sneak past defenders, dangerous when he can get in the open field and make big plays. Has nice hands and can run through arm tackles. Explosive in his cuts, runs very sharp and crisp. Isn’t a big powerful runner, but at 200 pounds he isn’t the easiest to bring down, runs hard for a player with his size and speed. Has a playing style similar to Darren Sproles or Jaquizz Rodgers.  Projected FA, worthy of a 6th round choice
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