Here’s a look at the top 10 running backs in the 2013 NFL draft:
1. Eddie Lacy, 5-foot-11, 231 pounds, Alabama (Projection: first round): He rushed for 1,322 yards and 17 touchdowns last season for the Crimson Tide. He did not participate in workouts at the NFL scouting combine while recovering from a hamstring injury. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds at his Pro Day and some analysts are projecting that he’s not fast enough for the NFL.
2. Montee Ball, 5-11, 214, Wisconsin (second/third): He was a Heisman Trophy finalist and a workhorse back for the Badgers. He had 356 carries and averaged 5.1 yards per carry last season. With future Falcons lineman Peter Konz leading the way, Ball rushed for 39 touchdowns and led the NCAA in rushing (1,923 yards) in 2011. He became the NCAA’s career touchdown leader (83) last season.
3. Joseph Randle, 6-0, 204, Oklahoma State (second/third round): He led the Big 12 in rushing with 1,417 yards on 274 carries (5.2 yards per carry) and scored 14 touchdowns. He also flashed some good hands, catching 28 passes for 224 yards.
4. Giovani Bernard, 5-9, 202, North Carolina (second/third): He led the ACC with an average of 122.8 yards rushing per game last season. He averaged 198.1 all-purpose yards per game, which was fourth in the nation.
5. Andre Ellington, 5-9,199, Clemson (third): He put together back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He ran for 1,178 yards in 2011 and 1,081 last season. He’s a dazzling runner, who doesn’t shy away from contact.
6. Jonathan Franklin, 5-10, 205, UCLA (second/third): He was highly productive for former Falcons coach Jim Mora. He rushed for a single-season school record 1,734 yards. He also set the school mark for all-purpose yards with 2,062. Over his career, he rushed for a 4,403 yards and had 4,902 all-purpose yards.
7. Stepfan Taylor, 5-9, 214, Stanford (third): A hard-charging runner. He became the school’s all-time leading rusher with 4,300 yards and scored 45 touchdowns.
8. Le’Veon Bell, 6-2, 230, Michigan State (third/fourth): He led the Big Ten is rushing with 1,793 yards. He’s a bruiser with the ability to break tackles.
9. Christine Michael, 5-10, 220, Texas A&M (third/fourth): A talented back, who found himself in the coach’s doghouse because of attitude issues last season. He also has an injury history. He had a broken right leg in 2010 and a torn ACL in his right knee in 2011.
10. Marcus Lattimore, 5-11, 221 South Carolina (fourth): An elite running back who tore up three of the four ligaments in his right knee against Tennessee on Oct. 27. He’s battling back, but likely won’t be a major contributor during his rookie season.