Running Backs Potentially Off the Board First via FanDuel Sportsbook
Running backs aren’t drafted as highly as they used to be in the NFL Draft. The last two running backs that were taken in the top five were Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants back in 2018 and Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys back in 2016.
In a ton of mock drafts, running backs are projected to go in either late in the first-round or in the early second-round. Teams in the top 15 in the 2021 NFL Draft, won’t touch running backs. Quarterbacks could potentially land like crazy and five of them could be off the board by then.
We could potentially see two to three running backs off the board in the first-round of the 2021 NFL Draft. That has not happened in a while, but it would be something interesting to see here as well.
According to FanDuel Sportsbook, here are some of the odds for being the first running back of the board. Najee Harris -140, Travis Etienne +150, and Javonte Williams +380. Who will be the off the board first and why do all of these running backs have a case?
Harris would be the best to be the first of these running backs to be taken off the draft board in 2021. He would make a team so much better right away. Najee Harris can catch passes out of the backfield. He is one of the most explosive running backs in this NFL Draft.
Harris I think will very well be drafted off the board by the Miami Dolphins with the 18th overall pick. Miami doesn’t have a three-down back and that is the first selection potentially for the running backs. Najee Harris would be a perfect completematry piece to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
He would be the heartbeat of the Miami Dolphins running backs group. Harris has the potential to be a three-down running back in the NFL.
He is probably a bet the farm pick to be the first running back off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft. If Najee Harris is not the first running back off the board, it would be deemed as a surprise then. Harris won the National Championship with Alabama last season against Ohio State.
Etienne could be the only other running back in this running backs group that could potentially be drafted first in this group position. Travis Etienne could also be a three-down running back in the NFL. If Najee Harris is off the board early on, then the New York Jets with either the 23rd pick or the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 24th pick could be Etienne’s landing spot.
Travis Etienne could be an effective three-down back with both either New York or Pittsburgh, but the Steelers are by far a better organization to be drafted by than the Jets. Etienne would fit that blue collar culture in the Steel City with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The New York Jets all need a primary tailback in the backfield for head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. Travis Etienne would have been a first-round pick last season if he came out of college. I can understand why people would bet on him to be the first running back taken in the 2021 NFL Draft. Etienne has played the last few seasons with Clemson and he won a National Title with them against Alabama.
Williams is going to be one of the running backs that gets drafted early. He could go anywhere between the late first-round and early in the second-round. Javonte Williams has speed and size. He could be a good fit with a few teams.
Williams is probably going to land with the Buffalo Bills with the 30th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Head coach Sean McDermott has mentioned that they need to upgrade the running back room. Zach Moss and Devin Singletary isn’t going to cut it for an Josh Allen offense at quarterback and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.
General manager Brandon Beane has done a tremendous job scouting. Javonte Williams played with North Carolina last season. He played in 11 games and he rushed for 1,140 yards on 157 carries and 19 touchdowns. Williams also caught 25 passes for 305 yards receiving and three touchdowns.
I think that it will be those three in the exact order of Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, and Javonte Williams with the running backs position in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Which running back do you think will be off the board first in the 2021 NFL Draft via FanDuel Sportsbook here? Leave a comment below.
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Follow Glenn Kaplan on Twitter @glennkaplan13.