Skip to main content
Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles News

2024 NFL Scouting Combine Cheat Sheet: Running Back 

Blake Corum
Blake Corum

Workout Warriors

These are the players who analysts expect to see perform best in the athletic testing portion of the workout:

Braelon Allen (Wisconsin) – A two-time member of Bruce Feldman's annual "Freak List" highlighting the best athletes in college football every summer, Allen has a chance to be one of the standout performers at the running back position, even if the "raw" workout numbers don't catch your eye. The thing to keep in mind, however, is the size that Allen brings to the table. Listed by the Badgers at a hulking 6-foot-2, 235 pounds, Allen brings a Derrick Henry-style frame to the table, and if he is able to match the reported 1.49 10-yard split (the time recorded in the first 10 yards of the 40-yard dash), that will be a phenomenal score, especially for a bigger back. That explosiveness really shows up when Allen is running defenders over on the football field, as he rarely goes down on first contact.

Blake Corum (Michigan) – Speaking of the Freak List, Feldman mentioned Corum in this past season's piece as the senior was preparing for his final season on campus for the Wolverines, casually bringing him up while talking about another player. What I found to be fascinating about that side note regarding Corum, however, were the numbers that Feldman mentioned. The college football insider reported that Corum hit times of 6.39 seconds in the 3-cone drill and 3.89 seconds in the short shuttle ... both of those numbers would be the fastest of any running back drafted in the last decade. A couple of years ago, Feldman reported eye-popping numbers for former Michigan star Aidan Hutchinson in those same two drills, and while the future No. 2 pick did not exactly hit those numbers in Indianapolis, he came close. Will be interesting to see if Corum can come close too.

Jaylen Wright (Tennessee) – Wright only started one season for the Vols before declaring for the draft, but what he put on film in that lone campaign was impressive, as he ran for more than 1,000 yards last fall. Wright first popped on my radar the season before, however, when he made Feldman's Freak List thanks to some outstanding weight room numbers from campus. The Vols coaches told Feldman that Wright hit 44 inches on the vertical jump (that would be higher than any running back drafted in the last decade), while also peaking at 23.6 mph on their GPS. Wright ran a scorching 6.29 seconds in the 55-meter dash as a track star in high school, which was the fastest time in the country at the time back in 2019. Wright pulled out of the Senior Bowl late in the process last month due to reported injury, so here's hoping he's able to run for teams at this event.

Isaac Guerendo (Louisville) – Guerendo is a converted wide receiver who only started one game as a running back in college, so this is purely projection on my part. But sometimes with these pieces you can look at a player's past and find the breadcrumbs for a future Combine standout. As a former wideout, Guerendo has a different skillset than other players at the position. Another thing he has going for him though? He was a big-time track athlete in high school. Guerendo was a three-time state champ in the long jump, 100-meter, and 4x100 relay team at Avon High School just outside of Indianapolis, not including a handful of runner-up finishes as well. The senior was also a standout performer for the basketball team in high school. Factor in the homefield advantage as well? And you've got a recipe for a potentially impressive performance in the workouts.

The Drill to Watch

In today's game, running backs have to be able to impact the passing game if they're to be viewed as truly dynamic playmakers worthy of high draft choices. This week, we'll watch these running backs run a series of routes at all three levels of the field. A couple of things you may notice on these routes:

Is he natural at the catch point? Does he have the ability to adjust to the throw, pull in the reception, gather himself, and transition to a runner immediately to generate positive yardage upfield? 

What level of receiver is he? Is he just a checkdown option, can he work in the screen game, or can he be flexed out and run routes at a high level as if he were a receiver? 

Here are the players who have a chance to shine in these drills:

Audric Estimé (Notre Dame) – A one-year starter for the Irish with a thick, stocky build, Estimé is not built like your typical pass game weapon, but on film he flashes smooth hands and looks like a natural at the catch point. He was not credited with any drops during his time in South Bend (although he only caught 26 passes in three years). Estimé is already a pretty polished pass protector for a college back, so this will be a good opportunity for him to continue to show the tools as a competent pass catcher as well.

Dylan Laube (New Hampshire) – Laube was one of the early darlings at the Senior Bowl thanks to his abilities in space, but those tools were consistently put on display in college as well. The first game I studied of Laube after his Senior Bowl acceptance in November came against Central Michigan, where he caught 12 passes for UNH. A "satellite" player who was moved all around the formation, Laube could potentially bring versatility to an NFL offense and has a projectable role in the NFL.

Marshawn Lloyd (USC) – Speaking of Senior Bowl standouts, Lloyd did just that during his time in Mobile last month too by having an impressive catch or two every day in practice. This was not necessarily something he did often for the Trojans last year (or for South Carolina in the years before that), instead improving to be a gritty, patient runner between the tackles. So this will be a good opportunity for him to build off of that performance and continue to prove he has a three-down skillset.

Will Shipley (Clemson) – While Lloyd has been more of an early-down presence during his career, one could see pretty early on that Shipley had a pass catching skill set. An all-purpose player who made plays as a runner, receiver, and return man during his days with the Tigers, Shipley is slightly undersized, but has the quick, shifty frame to be a good route runner and the hands to be a reliable receiver at the next level.

Bucky Irving (Oregon) – Irving is listed at under 200 pounds, but has explosiveness and receiving skills that won't go unnoticed through the process. Irving was moved all around the formation last year for the Ducks in one of the best offenses in the nation, catching a whopping 56 passes. What I am most interested to see with Irving, whose average depth of target was behind the line of scrimmage last season, is if he can combine that speed with those hands to be a viable downfield threat on wheel routes and sail routes from the backfield.

Best Stories

All of these players have great stories to tell, but who has taken the most unique journey to get to this point? 

Jonathan Brooks (Texas) – One of my favorite parts of the Combine ever year is getting a chance to talk with these players in-person, and one of my favorite questions to ask players at the end of our conversation is who do I need to watch on their team next year. Last season, Chicago Bears fourth-round pick Roschon Johnson told me that the guy to watch for the Longhorns in 2023 would be Brooks, even though he'd be just a redshirt sophomore. Johnson was not wrong, as Brooks went on to lead the playoff-bound Horns in rushing despite starting just eight games before a torn ACL.

Cody Schrader (Missouri) – I'd argue that one of the top stories in all of college football this year was Schrader's, a former D-II superstar at Truman State (he ran for 2,000 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2021) who later walked on at Missouri and turned in an All-American season last fall. Schrader is not the biggest or fastest back you'll see in Indy this week, but he's a decisive runner whose eyes always seem to be in the right spot as a ball carrier and he's done a little bit of everything over the course of his five-year college career.

Ray Davis (Kentucky) – Davis has taken a road less-traveled on his way to the Combine, as he's racked up more than 200 touches at three separate FBS programs over the course of his five-year career in college. Davis actually began his journey to the draft here in Philadelphia for the Temple Owls, starting nine games in two seasons on North Broad Street before taking his talents to the SEC and Vanderbilt. For the Commodores, Davis ran for more than 1,200 yards and six touchdowns in two seasons, proving to be a strong, physical back who could create his own yardage. He bet on himself by going back to school for another year last fall and turned it into a huge boom, transferring to Kentucky and being named first-team All-SEC while running for 14 touchdowns. Davis, who also had a solid week down at the Senior Bowl last month, is considered one of the top backs in the class.

Frank Gore Jr. (Southern Miss) – If you grew up a fan of the NFL in the 2000s, you're going to recognize a lot of the last names (and in this case, some of the first names, too) in this draft class. Gore is one of them. Not only does Gore look IDENTICAL to his father, a 16-year NFL veteran, but they have similar play styles as well. With wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr., and others, Gore is one of several notable legacy players in this class.

Fly Eagles Fly

How did the current Philadelphia Eagles perform out in Indianapolis? We'll take a look at one number or performance from the current depth chart that stood the test of time.

Boston Scott (Louisiana Tech) – Scott was not drafted by the Eagles back in 2018, but when the New Orleans Saints took the local kid from Louisiana Tech, they were getting one of the most dynamic athletes in that draft class. Scott, who was actually left off the Combine list that season, blew up his Pro Day by running a 6.67 in the 3-cone and 4.15 in the short shuttle, showing off his lateral agility and quickness in the process. Only two running backs drafted in the last decade ran a better 3-cone drill than Scott, and one of them was Christian McCaffrey. Scott's lateral athleticism wasn't the only trait that shined through that day, however, as he also ran 4.40 flat in the 40-yard dash and hit 38.5 inches on the vertical jump, both of which are very good numbers at the position and highlight his straight-line explosiveness.

Significant Stats

These are the players of note with a special statistic or measurement that sets them apart from their peers.

Trey Benson (Florida State) – With an impressive combination of both strength and balance, Benson consistently found ways to make plays after contact and make defenders miss, while also generating some explosive runs. He carried those traits into his final season and had an outstanding year with the Seminoles. According to PFF, Benson forced 0.28 missed tackles per attempt last season, one of the highest numbers of any back in Indianapolis, and similar to the final seasons of players like Josh Jacobs, Brian Robinson, and Rhamondre Stevenson when they were in college. That numbers speaks to how difficult he is to bring down at nearly 220 pounds.

Pair that with a number that PFF refers to as Breakaway Run Percentage, which is the percentage of yards that came on explosive carries of 15-plus yards, and you see him in a slightly different light. Over the course of his career, 54.5 percent of Benson's yards came on those breakaway plays, which is a number on-par with explosive threats like Saquon Barkley, Dalvin Cook, Rashaad Penny, and Melvin Gordon when they were coming out of school. This all speaks to Benson's hybrid skill set. Put all of that together with the fact that he did not once put the ball on the ground in college and there's a lot to like about this profile.

Isaiah Davis (South Dakota State) – While Benson only has 349 touches on his college resume, Davis has more than doubled that with 729 combined carries and catches over the course of his career with the Jackrabbits. A big back at 6-foot, 220 pounds, Davis' sturdy, durable frame has allowed him to be a workhorse at the FCS level and it paints a picture of him as a potential every-down presence in the league. The numbers bear that out as well. This past fall, 39.4 percent of Davis' carries went for a first down or touchdown. Only two true running backs drafted in the last decade had a more efficient season in their final season on campus, Josh Jacobs and Javonte Williams. Davis accomplished that largely by his ability to play through tackles. The senior generated 4.26 yards after contact per attempt over the course of his career, one of the best in this class and a mark that is in the 90th-plus percentile of all backs drafted in the last decade. His 0.33 missed tackles forced per attempt number from last season is in the same rarified air. Ranking high on those efficiency metrics, despite the high volume of touches, is very encouraging for his future prospects.

Kimani Vidal (Troy) – Vidal was considered one of the best backs in the country this past season. The Senior Bowl invitee finished second in the entire FBS last fall with 83 forced missed tackles, and finished third with 43 explosive runs on his way to being named a third-team All-American. A thickly built back with a short, stout frame (5-foot-7, 215 pounds), Vidal was a viable three-down threat during his time with the Trojans as well, catching around 20 passes every season on campus.

Trey Benson

The Rest of the Pack

Everyone else who will take part in the events in Indianapolis (in alphabetical order):

Rasheen Ali (Marshall), Emani Bailey (TCU), Daijun Edwards (Georgia), George Holani (Boise State), Dillon Johnson (Washington), Jawhar Jordan (Louisville), Jase McClellan (Alabama), Kendall Milton (Georgia), Keilan Robinson (Texas), Jaden Shirden (Monmouth), Tyrone Tracy Jr. (Purdue), Michael Wiley (Arizona), Miyan Williams (Ohio State)

Mr. Average

We get to read all about the measurements for all these players over the next few weeks ... but wouldn't it be nice to have some context? What is considered a "good" 40-yard dash time? What about arm length? The broad jump? Here's what the average player drafted at each position has looked like over the last decade (based on my own personal research).

Height: 5105 (5'10 5/8")

Weight: 214 pounds

Hand Size: 928 (9 1/4")

Arm Length: 3100 (31")

Wingspan: 7468 (74 3/4")

Unofficial 40-Time (Stopwatch): 4.51 seconds

Official 40-Time (Laser): 4.52 seconds

10-Yard Split: 1.56 seconds

3-Cone Drill: 7.10 seconds

Short Shuttle: 4.29 seconds

Broad Jump: 121"

Vertical Jump: 34.5"

Related Content