June 5th, 2014
Despite having no running backs drafted in the first round, the incoming rookie class boasts numerous running backs that have the chance to have immediate impact. Of those, I think that three are sure to be future Pro Bowlers.
Bishop Sankey has the best chance to be great in the NFL. He was chosen by the Tennessee Titans with the 54th overall pick to help replace former 2,000 yard rusher Chris Johnson, who went to the Jets. Sankey has the best chance to grab the starting job and only faces competition from Shonn Green. The power back will go against some of the weakest defenses in the league in the AFC South and can run outside, inside, and catch. I wouldn't be surprised if Sankey, the first RB taken in May, has over 1,000 yards this season and contends for Rookie of the Year.
The second running back on my radar is Terrence West, who was selected by Cleveland in the mid rounds. West will compete against the oft-injured Ben Tate, who will mentor the Towson product during the offseason. The leading rusher in Towson history can handle the bulk of the carries and is in Kyle Shanahan's offense, which helped Alfred Morris emerge in 2012. Like Sankey, West is a good receiver and a versatile power back.
Lastly, I'll be expecting great performances from Jeremy Hill, the former LSU Tiger who was picked by the Cincinnati Bengals. Hill should take over the 2 spot on the depth chart from BenJarvis Green-Ellis and will form a great duo with Giovani Bernard, who showed flashes of greatness last year. While Bernard is a player who is very athletic, Hill's ability to power through tackles should keep defenses off guard.
Carlos Hyde, Tre Mason, and Andre Williams are also high round draft picks that could make immediate impact. Make sure to keep an eye out for a late round pick that will emerge as a starter like Alfred Morris two years ago.
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