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Top running backs: What sets them apart?

General managers, coaches and analysts alike have touted this year's running back class as one of the best in recent history.

The Lions could be in the market for another runner to pair with Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and others currently on the roster.

Leonard Fournette (LSU) and Dalvin Cook (Florida State) are the cream of the crop, and have been given grades in the 90's (out of 100) by Scout's Inc.

A player with a grade of 90-plus is described by the scouting service as: "A player with rare abilities and can create mismatches that have an obvious impact on the game. Is a premier college player that has all the skill to take over a game and play at a championship level. He rates in the top 5 players in the nation at his position and is considered a first round draft prospect."

Alvin Kamara (Tennessee), Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) and D'Onta Foreman (Texas) all have grades in the 80's.

Those prospects given grades in the 80's are described as: "Player has abilities to create mismatches versus most opponents in the NFL. A feature player that has an impact on the outcome of the game. Cannot be shut down by a single player and plays on a consistent level week in and week out. He rates in the top 10 at his position and is considered a second round draft prospect."

So what sets these five players apart? Who is the best back in the class? Each made their case Thursday at the Combine.


HT/WT: 6-1, 240

2016 stats: Seven games, 129 carries, 843 yards, eight touchdowns, 15 catches, 146 yards, no touchdowns

2015 stats: 12 games, 300 carries, 1,953 yards, 22 touchdowns, 19 catches, 253 yards, one touchdown

What sets him apart: "First of all, I'm blessed by God to have this ability and this talent and I work hard. My attributes to the game. My love for the game. I just love football."


HT/WT: 5-11, 213

2016 stats: 13 games, 288 carries, 1,765 yards, 19 touchdowns, 33 catches, 488 yards, one touchdown

2015 stats: 12 games, 229 carries, 1,691 yards, 19 touchdowns, 24 catches, 244 yards, one touchdown

What sets him apart: "I think what separates me is I can do it all. I can stay on the field all three downs. I'm just a do-it-all back and I feel like I am the best back in this class."


HT/WT: 6-0, 197

2016 stats: 11 games, 253 carries, 1,603 yards, 13 touchdowns, 37 catches, 310 yards, three touchdowns

2015 stats: 14 games, 337 carries, 2,019 yards, eight touchdowns, 45 catches, 645 yards, five touchdowns

What sets him apart: "Just as much I can do. I don't think there's anyone else that can do all the things I can as far as running between the tackles, outside pass protect, play X, Z, slot and do a lot of things in the return game as well. I think that's what sets me apart."



HT/WT: 5-10, 215

2016 stats: 11 games, 103 carries, 596 yards, nine touchdowns, 40 catches, 392 yards, four touchdowns

2015 stats: 13 games, 107 carries, 698 yards, seven touchdowns, 34 catches, 291 yards, three touchdowns

What sets him apart: "I think my versatility. What I bring to the special teams game. What I bring catching the ball out of the backfield. There's a lot of things I can do that can help an organization."


HT/WT: 6-1, 249

2016 stats: 11 games, 323 carries, 2,028 yards, 15 touchdowns, seven catches, 75 yards, no touchdowns

2015 stats: 10 games, 94 carries, 672 yards, five touchdowns, five catches, 64 yards, no touchdowns

What sets him apart: "Just because of my size and my speed. Fournette is a big back too, a lot of speed and power, but I just feel like I'm different. My mindset is different. When I go on the field, I want to be the best.

"I told myself coming into the season this was going to be my year to really show people I was one of the best at my position and I feel like I was able to do that. I still feel like I'm one of the best and when I get out there I'll be able to show I'm the best."

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