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NFL Combine: Top RB prospects 2022

Jason Burgos

The 2022 NFL Combine will get going in Indianapolis here soon. It’s an opportunity for prospects to show what they have to offer during the pre-draft process leading up to the NFL Draft itself.

When is the NFL Combine?

It runs from March 1 through March 7. The annual event is broadcast on both ESPN and NFL Network with most of the focus being on position drills. Here’s a breakdown of coverage on NFL Network.

  • Thursday, March 3 – 4 PM ET
  • Friday, March 4 – 4 PM ET
  • Saturday, March 5 – 4 PM ET
  • Sunday, March 6 – 11 AM ET

What is the NFL Combine?

nfl combine
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s an annual pre-draft event that has gone from being somewhat of a niche grouping to a week-long showcase broadcast nationally on multiple networks.

Former Dallas Cowboys president and general manager Tex Schramm proposed the annual event as a way for teams to evaluate talent. Since its inception as the national invitational camp (NIC) in 1982, this thing has taken on a whole new meaning.

Among the most important aspects of the NFL Combine are the positional workouts scheduled for a four-day span during the annual event. Teams also have an opportunity to meet and interview prospects leading up to the annual NFL Draft.

Related: Ranking the top 2022 NFL Draft QBs

2022 NFL Combine workout schedule

  • Thursday, March 3rd: Quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends
  • Friday, March 4th: Running backs, offensive line and special teams
  • Satuday, March 5th: Defensive line, linebackers
  • Sunday, March 6th: Defensive backs

Although the role of running backs has changed in the league over the last decade, the position still offers game-breaker talents that can electrify an offense.

Teams will be looking for the next Derrick Henry, Jonathan Taylor, and Nick Chubb in April, and the combine will be pivotal for talent evaluators to find the man that is the best fit for their franchise. Here, we check in on five running backs to watch during the NFL Combine.

Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State

NCAA Football: Penn State at Michigan State
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
  • Kenneth Walker III college stats (2021): 1,636 rushing yards, 89 receiving yards, 19 total TDs, 0 fumbles on 263 carries and 13 receptions

After transferring from Wake Forest, Kenneth Walker III was a revelation for Michigan State during his three seasons in East Lansing. He has all the physical gifts necessary to succeed in the NFL. And his burst, vision of the field, and ability to find those plus-yards with cutback lanes make him a special talent.

For as gifted a rusher as Walker III is, he hasn’t proven his playmaking skills in the passing game much. He only pulled in 13 catches in 2021 and will need to work on his pass protection if he hopes to reach his potential and be an every-down back in the league.

Breece Hall, Iowa State

nfl combine running backs: breece hall
Bryon Houlgrave/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Breece Hall college stats (2021): 1,472 rushing yards, 302 receiving yards, 23 total TDs, 0 fumbles on 253 carries and 36 receptions

Breece Hall is a classic RB with the ability to explode through the line with brute force. During his time at Iowa State, he consistently showed an ability to break tackles and pick up extra yards with his sheer power. Hall has also consistently improved in pass protection and in pass-catching. Those added skills could help make him one of the first two RBs selected in the draft.

One area Hall has shown a weakness is getting happy feet behind the line of scrimmage as he tries to find different lanes. Staying the course and bum-rushing through his designated holes will be key in his NFL success.

Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M

nfl combine
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
  • Isaiah Spiller college stats (2021): 1,011 rushing yards, 189 receiving yards, 7 total TDs, 0 fumbles on 179 carries,and 25 receptions

Isiah Spiller is one of the most well-rounded back-field talents in this year’s draft. He has good footwork, tackle-breaking skills, and is a patient runner. Although he has strong agility and a solid burst, the one knock on him is his lack of breakaway skills. And in the NFL, defenders only get faster. Nonetheless, he will be a sound choice for any team.

Kyren Williams, Notre Dame

Nov 20, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Kyren Williams (23) stiff arms Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets safey Tariq Carpenter (2) in the second quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Kyren Williams (23) stiff arms Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets safey Tariq Carpenter (2) in the second quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
  • Kyren Williams college stats (2021): 1,002 rushing yards, 359 receiving yards, 17 total TDs, 0 fumbles on 204 carries and 42 receptions

Kyren Williams’ upside in the NFL may lie in his ability to be a plus-talent in the receiving game. He is a willing pass blocker and has notched over 300 yards receiving for three straight seasons at Notre Dame. He is also a feisty and durable runner. However, the big question will be if his 5’9″ and 199-pound frame can hold up to the rigors of the NFL.

James Cook, Georgia

nfl combine running backs: joshua l. jones / usa today network
Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • James Cook college stats (2021): 728 rushing yards, 284 receiving yards, 11 total TDS, 0 fumbles on 113 carries and 27 receptions

James Cook is a classic dark horse prospect. He was not a featured talent on a Georgia team that was deep in the backfield. However, when he got his chances — especially in his senior year — he delivered in a big way and averaged six yards per carry. He has shown NFL-level skills both in the run and pass game. But there will be questions about consistency since he did not have to showcase his skills with a heavy workload in one of the best conferences in college football.