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Carolina Panthers

2017 Draft Preview: Running Backs


Mike Mayock's Top Five

Leonard Fournette
6-0, 240, Louisiana State

Before he even stepped on the LSU campus, Fournette looked capable of playing in the NFL. After three years with the Tigers, the bruising All-American running back enters the draft as arguably the top offensive player available. Fournette finished his career with 3,830 rushing yards, 40 rushing touchdowns and a 6.2 yards per carry average. Many analysts believe his physical, downhill running style would pair well with the Panthers offense.

Christian McCaffrey
5-11, 202, Stanford

The son of former Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, Christian is a Swiss Army knife of sorts. He posted eye-popping production as a runner, pass catcher and returner at Stanford. McCaffrey finished his three-year college career with 6,987 all-purpose yards and 33 touchdowns. His dynamic ability as a running back is one thing, but his fluid route running and pass catching makes him a valuable matchup weapon in today's NFL.

Dalvin Cook
5-10, 210, Florida State

The former Seminole was a big-play machine throughout his three-year college career, compiling 4,464 rushing yards and 46 rushing touchdowns with a 6.5 yards per carry average. Cook also brings proven pass-catching ability to the table. Medical and off-field checks could play a role in how early the first-round talent comes off the board.

Alvin Kamara
5-10, 214, Tennessee

After things didn't work out at Alabama, Kamara played at Community College before landing at Tennessee and flourishing. In two seasons with the Volunteers, he posted 1,294 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. Kamara also compiled 683 receiving yards and seven receiving scores. He's a versatile athlete that analysts believe is pushing for a spot late in Round One.

Samaje Perine
5-11, 233, Oklahoma

While not as explosive as the other running backs listed, Perine is a powerful, durable back with the ability to churn out yards between the tackles. Perine finished his three-year college career with 4,122 rushing yards, 49 rushing touchdowns and a 6.0 yard per carry average.

Look back: Running backs taken around No. 8

2015: Todd Gurley, 10th overall to Rams

2010: C.J. Spiller, 9th overall to Bills

2007: Adrian Peterson, 7th overall to Vikings

2000: Thomas Jones, 7th overall to Cardinals

1996: Tim Biakabutuka, 8th overall to Panthers

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