2020 NFL Draft Predictions & Tips: Who Will Be 1st Running Back Taken?

Leigh Copson /
NFL Logo

If the Mock Drafts doing the rounds are to be believed then running backs are not in huge demand heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, but when the first one goes you can expect more to follow rather quickly. The question is, who will be the first running back off the board?

READ MORE: Who will take Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 NFL Draft?

2020 NFL Draft Predictions & Tips: D’Andre Swift

Of all the running backs in the 2020 NFL Draft class, D’Andre Swift is the most complete package of the lot. As a runner he shows veteran patience in the backfield as he looks for holes to open up and he has a burst of speed and elusiveness that allows him to get to get to the second level. When he gets there he is capable of running away from defenders, although he does not have the elite speed possessed by those elite, lightning quick backs. Swift is a sold blocker with good instincts in the passing game and he also has good hands, making a threat as a receiver himself, and this makes him a good fit for an offense that likes to involve the running back in the passing game. He had a limited workload due to Georgia’s depth so there could be question marks about how much of a load he can handle, but more and more teams are going with multiple running backs in the run game so Swift will certainly be an appealing option for teams looking to strengthen that area. He is likely to go in the second half of the first round.

2020 NFL Draft Predictions & Tips: Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor finished his college career with Wisconsin as the Badger’s second all-time leader in rushing yards behind Ron Dayne. He is sixth on the NCAA’s all-time list thanks to an outstanding 2019 season that saw him finish in the top 10 of the Heisman Trophy voting for the third year running, and when he is picked up he will become the first Wisconsin back to be drafted by the NFL since 2015. Taylor is another runner who shows patience in the backfield and allows his blockers to open up holes, and he has shown an ability to pick up multiple run schemes and that will be appealing for a team who likes to mix things up on offense. He is quick at getting around the edge and as a former sprinter he has that straightline speed that can turn a decent gain into a huge gain and even a score. There are some downsides though – he saw a lot of touches during his college career with Wisconsin and that will have put some wear and tear on his body, and his stock will have almost certainly been harmed by his fumbling issues. He is also not the best pass-catcher, which could limit the number of interested parties, so there is a chance that it could be the second round before a team finally picks him up.

2020 NFL Draft Predictions & Tips: JK Dobbins

JK Dobbins’ draft stock would not have been so high had he not bounced back from a disappointing 2018 campaign at Ohio State with a strong 2019 showing. He repeatedly performed in big games last season, something that will not have gone unnoticed by scouts, and while you want see him break out many moves that would grab ESPN SportsCenter’s attention, he is a physical running back who will not shy away from contact. He also has no issues laying a hit on blitzing defenders! He will be appealing to those offenses that like to use a physical, downhill run game that wears on opposition defenses, but there are some flaws that will prevent him from going in the first. Dobbins is not the sort of player to make something out of nothing and he lacks that stop-go speed that helps wrong-foot defenders and keep them guessing. He will be one of the first backs off the board, but it is unlikely that he will be picked up before Swift or Taylor.