Best of the West - NFL Draft - Running Back Rankings

The West was loaded with running backs in 2013. Although neither were invited to New York, both Kadeem Carey (ARIZ) and Bishop Sankey (UDUB) were viable Heisman candidates. There was also the shocking emergence of Kapri Bibbs (CSU) as the touchdown leader in the FBS after starting only half the season. There's also the most exciting player in college football, DeAnthony Thomas (ORE). All of whom are leaving early. As a CFB fan, I'm disappointed that Bibbs and Thomas are leaving because they are so much fun to watch. My two personal favorites, as draft value are Marion Grice (ASU) and Adam Muema (SDSU) are leaving as well. While none of these guys are elite level NFL running backs, they are all NFL backs. 

1. Bishop Sankey (5'10" 200lb JR) UDUB: Sankey isn't an explosive back, but he's a no funny business yard gainer. He really reminds me of a smaller Marshaun Lynch. He's patient, and doesn't allow many negative plays. He's a "1 move and go" kind of player. He's very strong and is going to make linebackers earn their tackles. In today's NFL, he should start getting carries right off the bat. Current Projection: 2nd Round

2. Ka'Deem Carey (5'10" 196lb JR) ARIZ: Carey has been incredibly productive in Tucson. He too is a patient runner, but he's much more slippery than Sankey. Carey's got big play ability, but probably peaked in college. He's not quite fast enough to be a big game breaker in the NFL. His speed isn't elite, but he likes to run between the tacks, so it's good enough. He'll be a nice backup who gets carries in the NFL. Current Projection: 4th Round

3. Kapri Bibbs (5'11" 205lb SO) CSU: Bibbs burst on the scene in 2013 with games of 147, 201, 137, 312, 291 and 169 yards. He wasn't even the starter for the first 6 games of the year. The coaches said they wanted to ease him into game shape as he didn't play football in 2012. But even with the warmup, he still led the nation in touchdowns. He's truly an explosive back. He's very comfortable between the tackles, and then makes linebackers miss with moves and speed. Running behind an excellent center like Wes Richburg never hurts. If he gets bigger he could be an incredible in the NFL. As he stands now, he's not quite physical enough, but that could change. Current Projection: 4th Round

4. Marion Grice (6'0" 200lb SR) ASU: Grice is an upright runner with a nose of the end zone. His running style is reminiscent of Terrell Davis. Like Davis he's not super fast, but is a strong runner who's tough to bring down. Grice is also an incredible pass catcher. He's excellent at locating the ball, hauling it in, and turning his hips upfield, all in one motion. He's a tough matchup for a LB. Grice had a lower leg injury that held him out of the post-season. The seriousness of it could affect his draft stock. Current Projection: 4th Round

5. Adam Muema (5'10" 205lb JR) SDSU: Muema runs more like an NFL RB than any other player from the West. He's one of those backs that has good patience, deceptive speed, and just has a knack for gaining yards. I've been high on him all year, but didn't think he'd get recognized by NFL scouts. He surprisingly left early, and it could be because he got a favorable review. He stays low and runs with power- think a poor man's Steven Jackson. He had his best game in the bowl against Buffalo. I would suspect that he's drafted earlier than projected. Current Projection: 4th Round

6. DeAnthony Thomas (5'9" 175lb JR) ORE: Thomas was a weapon in Chip Kelly's offense. He was merely a butter knife in Mark Helfrich's offense. When he's on the field, Thomas is the most explosive player in college football. The problem in 2013 was that he wasn't on the field. This is a major problem. Thomas is actually a stronger runner than most give him credit for, and an excellent receiver. He seems to understand the game of football very well, in spite of his missed block against Stanford in 2012. Also, Thomas has ball security issues. That's another serious problem. I love Thomas' abilities, but he's going to be a luxury pick, and teams have learned not to waste draft picks. Current Projection: 6th Round

7. Tyler Gaffney (6'1" 220lb SR) STAN: Gaffney is a big bruising back that perfectly fit the Stanford offensive scheme. He had the benefit of running behind one of the best offensive lines in CFB. He's got good straight ahead speed but isn't going to make anyone miss. He might have some special team value, but Tyler Gaffney will not become a featured back in the NFL. Current Projection: UFA

8. Kasey Carrier (5'9" 185lb SR) UNM: Carrier is a smaller back, but has big play ability. Playing for New Mexico he's pretty much off the radar, but Carrier had a great year. He sat out that last two games with a concussion, but he's otherwise durable. Carrier ran behind a mediocre offensive line and was still extremely productive. He's a total wild card going into the NFL, but I see him as making a contribution in the current spread offense NFL. Current Projection: UFA

9. Tim Cornette (6'0" 210lb SR) UNLV: Cornette is in the mold of Natrone Means. The only problem is that this isn't 1995. He's big, and fast for his size, but NFL linebackers are bigger and faster. He has nice hips, which is what makes him draftable. He can make a guy miss, which for a big guy is rare. Cornette can definitely make an NFL roster, but it has to be the right fit. Current Projection: UFA

10. Silas Redd (5'10" 200lb SR) USC: Remember when Silas Redd jumped ship to save his NFL career? Well, as it turns out hitching yourself to Lane Kiffin is never a good idea. Silas Redd seems to have talent, but might be the only running back in the Pac-12 that played less than De'Anthony Thomas. He could be a hidden gem, but personally I can't find a reason to think so. Current Projection: UFA