The NFL Draft has never failed to produce a running back in the first round. Some think that will change this year. After Marcus Lattimore suffered a gruesome knee injury, the draft's top running back spot is up for grabs.
Eddie Lacy and Giovani Bernard appear to be the favorites to come off the board first, but questions linger about whether either player is worth a first-round pick. Meanwhile, the success of Alfred Morris in Washington last season is further reason for teams to take a chance at finding running back talent later in the draft.
The 2013 NFL Draft is deep at running back, too. As many as 20 running backs could come off the board on draft weekend, and plenty more will find a home in free agency after the draft. Here are the most underrated off the bunch.
First team: Christine Michael, Texas A&M
After looking like one of the best running backs in the country as a junior, Christine Michael got into coach Kevin Sumlin's doghouse in a hurry and didn't receive nearly as many carries during his senior season. While his attitude and injury history will raise some red flags, Michael's talent is undeniable. He dominated at the East-West Shrine Game and knocked the combine workouts out of the park. Rumors surfaced of him missing meetings in Indianapolis, but if teams put his attitude aside, an argument could be made for him as the draft's most complete running back prospect.
Buzz is starting to circulate that Michael could come off the board on Day 2 of the draft, which is where he belongs. If he falls any farther than that, Michael could be the steal of the weekend.
Second team: Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt
Consistently talked about as a Day 3 running back, Vanderbilt's Zac Stacy plays more like a second day option. His size may concern some, but I see him as an Ahmad Bradshaw-type running back. Stacy's toughness between the tackles is one of his best characteristics. He often played hurt, which is something that will translate to the next level.
While he doesn't have the big-time speed and burst, Stacy has solid vision and changes direction well. He's more of a power back, but if he manages to stay healthy, he should latch on and become a productive back in the NFL. As a day three option, Stacy presents a lot of value.
Honorable mention: Miguel Maysonet, Stony Brook
Stony Brook isn't exactly a factory for NFL talent, but you find football players where you find football players. Running back Miguel Maysonet has the makings of an NFL starter. Like Stacy above, Maysonet doesn't have a ton of straight line speed, but he's about as quick as they come. In a zone-blocking scheme, he would be an excellent fit. He has outstanding vision and makes strong cuts. His school and lack of speed will push him down draft boards, but it shouldn't.