There are several NFL teams that need a 2020 running back. This NFL Draft running back class is one of the deepest and most talented positional groups. While the trend in recent years is to choose a running back on Day 2 of the draft, there are several candidates this year who could make a case for a first round selection.
Over the last five drafts, an average of two running backs have been selected in the first round. Only one (Josh Jacobs) went last year. On day two, there have been an average of 5.2 running backs taken.
Here’s a look at five teams that could use early round draft capital on the 2020 running back class.
Miami Dolphins Need a 2020 Running Back
When the 2019 season started, everyone said the Dolphins were “Tanking for Tua.” While Tua Tagovailoa could still be in Miami’s plan, the junior quarterback’s hip injury has thrown his draft stock into question.
The Dolphins have a league-low 1,093 rushing yards. Their leading rusher is 38-year-old quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has a whopping 228 yards this season. Their leading non-quarterback rushers are Mark Walton and Kenyan Drake, neither of which are with the team.
Miami enters the 2020 NFL Draft with a number of needs, but they also sport 12 picks. It could be 14 picks, if they receive compensatory picks for players lost in free agency.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Need a 2020 Running Back
It’s been rumored that the Bucs are going to keep quarterback Jameis Winston around for at least one more year. And while they should probably consider drafting a developmental quarterback, perhaps someone like Jordan Love, they should also seriously consider upgrading at the running back position.
Ronal Jones and Peyton Barber are the leading backs for the Bucs in 2019. They’ve combined for 1,078 yards and 12 touchdowns. They part of the eighth-worst average rushing attack in the league (92.3 yards-per-game). Jones was a 2018 second-rounder and Barber is in his fourth season with the team.
The Bucs have six picks in the upcoming draft and are likely selecting right in in the middle of the rounds. Tampa Bay could select someone like Travis Etienne or Cam Akers with their third round pick.
Indianapolis Colts Need a 2020 Running Back
The Indianapolis Colts were dealt a blow last offseason with Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement. The team rallied around Jacoby Brissett and hung around the playoff-picture for most of the season.
Third-year running back Marlon Mack leads the team in rushing this year with 1,014 yards. He’s the first Colts rusher to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark since Frank Gore in 2016. There are several other backs in the stable, including Jordan Wilkins, Jonathan Williams and Nyheim Hines. But the team could look to bring in one of the talented members of the 2020 running back class.
The Colts have several needs to address, and could go for a quarterback with their first round pick. But they have three Day 2 picks and could choose someone like Etienne, Akers, or Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill.
Houston Texans Need a 2020 Running Back
The Houston Texans will enter the next two drafts without a first round pick as a result of the Laremy Tunsil trade with the Miami Dolphins. While the team has clinched a playoff spot this season, they’ve relied mostly on quarterback DeShaun Watson.
The Texans have a top-10 rushing offense this season, but remove Watson’s production and that figure drops. Use only running backs and Houston would have the 12-worst rushing offense. The Texans lost Lamar Miller to injury before the season, but both he and the team’s leading rusher Carlos Hyde will be free agents this offseason.
Kansas City Chiefs Need a 2020 Running Back
The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the best offenses in all the NFL, but that’s largely thanks to Patrick Mahomes and the passing attack. KC sports the 10th-worst rushing offense in 2019. Take away Mahomes rushing yards and they’d be the third-worst rushing attack.
Veteran LeSean McCoy leads the team with 465 yards, but he’s an impending free agent. Damien Williams is under contract for 2020, but he could be cut with minimal cap implications. Darrel Williams and rookie Darwin Thompson have done little this season.
Kansas City may choose to use one of their Day 2 picks on a power back like Utah’s Zack Moss.
Other Teams & the 2020 Running Backs
The Pittsburgh Steelers might use a Day 2 pick on a running back, considering the underwhelming production from James Conner this season.
The Buffalo Bills could consider pairing Devin Singletary with a new partner during the 2020 draft, especially if Frank Gore moves on.
The Jacksonville Jaguars may use one of their two first round picks or two Day 2 picks on a running back to ease the load on Leonard Fournette.