Here’s how Bucky Brooks stacks the 2021 NFL Draft running back class

Trey Sermon scouting report

NFL Network draft analyst Bucky Brooks published his updated top-five players at each position on Wednesday, including a batch of five running backs who are expected to all come off the board by the end of Day 2.

The top three — Alabama’s Najee Harris, Clemson’s Travis Etienne, and North Carolina’s Javonte Williams — are borderline consensus picks at this point in the draft calendar. With one week to go before the 2021 draft kicks off, it’s difficult imagining a scenario in which a different name jumps into the top three. Of course, late-breaking injury or off-field concerns can change things, but there’s been no suggestion that a shock is coming with this group.

Brooks ranks UNC’s Michael Carter as his fourth-best running back, which feels about right. Carter is a tad undersized for feature-back duties at just under 5’8 and 201 pounds. I’ve comp’d him to a bigger Tarik Cohen, and I still believe that’s the right range of expectations for Carter, who can be a nice change-of-pace option behind a more traditional between-the-tackles guy on a depth chart.

Fifth in Brooks’ rankings is Ohio State’s Trey Sermon, who we like a bit more and have ranked fourth.

Sermon is more of what you’d expect from an every-down prospect. He’s 6’3, 215 pounds, and runs with the kind of contact balance and power needed to gain the hidden yards in the NFL. He ran a fast-enough 4.57 40-yard dash and has a chance to emerge as a starter as early as 2021. If a team like the Jets selects him on Day 2? There’s no reason to believe he won’t be one of their primary ball carriers this fall.

For a complete breakdown of all of Brooks’ position rankings, click here.

Bryan Perez

Bryan is the founder of Pro Football Draft. His work has been featured on NBC Sports and USA Today. Former CFL scout.

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