NFL Draft News & Analysis

Early 2024 NFL Draft running back rankings: Florida State's Trey Benson and Michigan's Blake Corum feature

2NHPT5D TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 25: Florida State Seminoles running back Trey Benson (3) runs with the ball during the game between the Florida Gators and the Florida State Seminoles on November 25, 2022 at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

• Florida State's Trey Benson sets himself apart: He finished 2022 with a 91.3 rushing grade and an impressive 0.51 missed tackles forced per attempt — the highest average that PFF has recorded in the past 10 years.

• Michigan's Blake Corum returns as a top draft prospect: He recorded the second-highest rushing grade in the FBS in 2022, at 95.7, behind only first-round pick Bijan Robinson.

• USC's MarShawn Lloyd rounds out the top 10: Lloyd, a former five-star recruit at South Carolina, enters his first season at USC with the potential to climb this list.

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Our summer scouting marches on with the running back position.

Looking back, Bijan Robinson was projected as a 2023 first-round pick before the 2022 season even began. There isn't a play with that kind of national hype right now, but there are players whose stats are comparable to what Robinson accomplished. 

Here are our early running back rankings for the 2024 NFL Draft.


Benson’s 2022 season was fantastic. After transferring from Oregon, he became the Seminoles' starter for the Seminoles and had a dynamic season. He finished the year with a 91.3 rushing grade and an impressive 0.51 missed tackles forced per attempt. The latter figure is the highest average that PFF has recorded in the past 10 years.

He’s a back who has the vision, patience and footwork to consistently find open space, and then the playmaking mentality to make guys miss when he gets there. With adequate long speed, as well, Benson presents an alluring skill set and RB1 potential.


If it weren’t for a late-season knee injury, Corum would have likely declared after last season. He recorded the second-highest rushing grade in the FBS, at 95.7, behind only Bijan Robinson. Corum has averaged more than 0.30 missed tackles per attempt in each of the past two seasons and has averaged 3.8 and 3.5 yards after contact.

He has incredible contact balance, fantastic vision, quick footwork and so much more. He even brings good third-down skills with soft hands and a fiery willingness as a blocker. His 5-foot-8 stature be damned — this dude can play. 


If it weren’t for Corum, Edwards would have been up there for one of the most productive backs in the country in 2022. Even with Corum, Edwards almost rushed for 1,000 yards (991). His speed is his best attribute; his four runs of 60-plus yards were tied for the most in the FBS last season. He also averaged 7.0 yards per carry.

There are times when Edwards is a bit impatient behind his blockers because he’s ready to just unleash his speed, but his vision and processing are as fast as his legs can carry him. Don’t let the fact that he splits time with Corum fool you into thinking he’s not a top back in this class.


Ah, yes, another extremely productive Wisconsin running back.

Allen is coming off back-to-back 1,200-yard rushing seasons as a true freshman and sophomore. Even more impressive is when you realize he did that while Wisconsin faced eight or more defenders in the box on 61.4% of its rushing attempts last season, the fourth-highest rate in the country — behind only the three service academies.

He’s also a massive back at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds — ranking in the 97th and 96th percentiles, respectively. He’s not just a bruiser, either. There’s plenty of finesse to Allen's game, as he can dance behind the line of scrimmage to find open space. 


Henderson seems to have the scouting community split as we head into the 2023 season. In his true freshman season, he looked the part of his five-star recruiting label. He has quick processing, which allows him to navigate chaos in a pinch. He's very comfortable in open space, often making defenders look foolish with his agility and one-cut mindset.

But in 2022, Henderson dealt with injury. And even when he was out there, you could tell he just wasn’t right. In his 2021 season, he averaged 0.27 missed tackles forced per attempt, but that dropped to just 0.14 last season. It was the same story for his yards after contact per attempt — 4.3 in 2021 and 2.7 in 2022. He has displayed nice all-around ability, and a fully healthy 2023 season could mean he climbs this list.


The Ducks lost Trey Benson to the transfer portal, but the sting wasn’t as severe thanks to Mar'Keise “Bucky” Irving.

Irving is a fun watch. He's a true playmaker when he gets the ball in his hands, always looking to set guys up to make them miss. His low running style and good center of gravity allow him to bounce off tackles more than you'd think for a sub-200-pound back. In 2022, he recorded 0.43 forced missed tackles and a 93.5 rushing grade. He also has zero fumbles lost in his career.


Shipley has been on NFL radars for a few years now, but the 2024 cycle will be the first where he is draft eligible. He has an elusive running style, proving slippery through tacklers. That is evidenced by his 5.5 yards per carry average. He also has nice contact balance.

You can tell he's just a natural athlete with his body control, and you see that in his 3.4 yards after contact average. Throw in good receiving ability with 53 receptions over the past two years, and the skill set is versatile and alluring.


At 6 feet and 227 pounds, Estime is well above the 50th percentile in size for a running back. Yet, he has noble and decisive footwork for a player of his size. He knows he can win with physicality and momentum, and he does a nice job waiting for the “correct” rush lanes to open up before stepping on the gas.

He stands out in stuff rate, a metric that records how often a back is stopped for no gain or a negative gain. Estimé’s stuff rate in 2022 was below 10%, which shows he’s not only consistently picking the right rush lanes but also falling forward after contact. If your preference is bigger backs, you should get to know him.


Speaking of big backs, Sanders will garner a lot of fans this draft cycle. At 6-foot-2 and 237 pounds, he is in the 97th and 95th percentiles, respectively, for the running back position. Nicknamed “Rocket,” Sanders rushed for more than 1,400 yards with 10 rushing touchdowns in 2022. He also averaged 6.6 yards per carry with 3.2 and 3.1 yards after contact averages the past two seasons.

He is still mastering his anticipation at the line of scrimmage to get into the second level and beyond, where his physical abilities can really shine. More consistency there will lead to more highlight runs and an even better draft profile. 


A handful of backs could have made it into this top 10 list (I was close between Lloyd and Ohio State’s Miyan Williams, specifically). But I went with Lloyd at No. 10 because I think the potential is there for him to be even higher on this list.

Lloyd was a five-star recruit who carried plenty of hype, but he missed his first year at South Carolina in 2020 due to a torn ACL. He returned from the injury to play in 12 games as a backup in 2021, then took over as the starter in his redshirt sophomore year in 2022. At the end of last season, he decided to transfer to USC.

Lloyd has the style of a playmaker; he wants to make you miss in the open field, hurdle over you or blow by you with his speed. His 0.35 forced-missed-tackles-per-attempt rate in 2022 is evidence of that. But his health and his offensive line have hampered his development into an elite ball carrier, which his talent suggests he could be. We’re excited to see what he can do in a Lincoln Riley offense sharing the backfield with Caleb Williams. 

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