The first round of the NFL Draft is in the books, and the oft-suspected notion that Thursday night could pass without a running back going off the board came true. So now, for the first time since 1963, the draft will continue on into the second round with its full selection of running backs still available.
In all, five players at offensive skill positions were selected in the first round, as offensive and defensive linemen and defense in general ruled the night. While this year's running back class will already be remembered as one of the few to get shut out of the first round, Friday night's second round would presumably be the time when more teams begin looking in that direction.
Top Running Backs Available
1. Eddie Lacy, 5'11, 231 pounds, Alabama
2012 stats: 204 carries, 1,322 yards, 17 touchdowns
Lacy is still widely considered the best back available. SB Nation's Dan Kadar sees him as the first back off the board in his second round mock draft, at No. 48 overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers. A lackluster pro day and injuries that led up to and effected those workouts may have kept teams away from the bruising runner in the first round. His future in the NFL remains bright, however, because of his combination of strength and agility.
2. Giovani Bernard, 5'8, 202 pounds, North Carolina
2012 stats: 184 carries, 1,228 yards, 12 touchdowns
Bernard also caught 47 passes for 490 yards and five touchdowns out of the backfield, making him one of the more versatile and well-rounded rushers in this year's draft. A torn ACL in 2010 and a couple of missed games in 2012 due to knee soreness makes his long-term health a potential question mark.
3. Johnathan Franklin, 5'10, 205 pounds, UCLA
2012 stats: 282 carries, 1,734 yards, 13 touchdowns
Franklin is another multi-purpose back, but with game-breaking speed and shiftiness that could make him a home run hitter at the next level. His 4.49 40-yard dash time was one of the NFL Combine's fastest.
4. Marcus Lattimore, 5'11, 221 pounds, South Carolina
2012 stats: 143 carries, 662 yards, 11 touchdowns
Lattimore's brutal right knee injury in late October of 2012 was his second major knee problem of his collegiate career, but Lattimore's path back -- he says he'll be ready to roll for Week 1 of the NFL regular season -- has been one of the more inspiring stories leading up to the draft. He's also, lest we forget, a punishing back with all of the tools one would want in an elite NFL running back. Durability, of course, will be the biggest concern.
5. Joseph Randle, 6'0, 204 pounds, Oklahoma State
2012 stats: 274 carries, 1,417 yards, 14 touchdowns
Randle put together a blistering two seasons for the Cowboys from 2011-12, rushing for 2,633 yards and 38 touchdowns during that span. He's also a big-play threat at all times, possessing elusiveness and speed that makes him a tough runner to make solid contact with.
Andre Ellington, Clemson
Christine Michael, Texas A&M
Montee Ball, Wisconsin
Kenjon Barner, Oregon
Stepfan Taylor, Stanford