Thomas Rawls
Seahawks' Thomas Rawls: Expected to serve as feature back
Thomas Rawls, RB, SEA
11:37 AM
News: Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll strongly suggested that Rawls (ankle) is expected to be the team's primary runner, ESPN.com reports. "I think the message of who we are and what we're about has been Thomas," said Carroll.

The Seahawks selected three running backs in the 2016 NFL Draft, including C.J. Prosise (third round) and Alex Collins (fifth). The former fits in as a pass-catching complement to Rawls, whereas the latter will probably just provide depth. The real challenge for Rawls will be recovering from the broken ankle he suffered in Week 14, as he should otherwise have a clear path to the lead-back role. Seahawks GM John Schneider said in mid-April that Rawls should be ready by Week 1.

Analysis: 

Duke Johnson
Browns' Duke Johnson: Hoping to meet lofty expectations
Duke Johnson, RB, CLE
11:15 AM
News: Browns head coach Hue Jackson said he expects Johnson to have a great season, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

The Browns surprisingly didn't select any running backs in the recent NFL Draft, leaving Johnson and Isaiah Crowell as the main threats out of the backfield. Although the position appears to be a major weakness, Johnson's pass-catching ability and quickness could help change that perception. At the very least, he figures to have a key role as a passing-down back and change-of-pace runner -- but he might also threaten Crowell's hold on the starting job.

Analysis: 

Isaiah Crowell
Browns' Isaiah Crowell: Gets vote of confidence from Hue Jackson
Isaiah Crowell, RB, CLE
11:03 AM
News: Browns head coach Hue Jackson believes Crowell will have a "sensational" 2016 season, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. "I've been getting so much mail or phones calls with people saying, 'Well wait a minute, why don't you guys have a running back?' " Jackson said. "I really think Isaiah Crowell is a really good running back. I think he's going to have a sensational season, I really do."

The Browns are apparently confident that Crowell and Duke Johnson will form an effective duo, as the team surprisingly opted not to select any running backs in the 2016 NFL Draft. Johnson impressed as a pass-catcher last season, but there's nothing from Crowell's first two years in the league to suggest that he's anything more than a low-end starter, if that. Regardless, he's the favorite to serve as Cleveland's featured runner, with Johnson likely slated for a third-down and chance-of-pace role. It is possible the team could let its two running backs compete for the starting job.

Analysis: 

Matt Jones
Redskins' Matt Jones: Praised by coordinator
Matt Jones, RB, WAS
9:43 AM
News: Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay said Jones (hip/groin) has the traits that teams look for in an every-down running back, the Redskins' official website reports.

This almost goes without saying, as the Redskins did very little to address the running back position after losing Alfred Morris to the rival Cowboys. Chris Thompson (shoulder) still figures to be in the mix for passing downs, but it appears Jones will have a clear path to the feature-back role. He was shaky as a rookie, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry while fumbling five times (four lost) on 163 touches (19 catches). However, he did rip off a few long gains, and he was one of the standouts from the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. Both Jones and Thompson figure to be healthy for the start of training camp.

Analysis: 

Mike Gillislee
Bills' Mike Gillislee: Competition looms
Mike Gillislee, RB, BUF
5/4/2016
News: Gillislee will have some competition for the No. 3 running back role after the Bills picked Jonathan Williams in the fifth round, BuffaloBills.com reports. "He's a big back. He's going to help on special teams," Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos says. "He'll battle with Mike Gillislee."

Gillislee came out of nowhere last season and ended up having a key role with the Bills down the stretch, averaging an eye-popping 5.68 yards per carry while popping off three touchdowns in just five games. Williams, however, was a stud at Arkansas and slipped in the draft only because he was injured for much of his senior season. Perhaps there's room for four backs once you consider LeSean McCoy has a lock on the top spot and Karlos Williams a near lock on the top backup role.

Analysis: 

Karlos Williams
Bills' Karlos Williams: Gets some competition in draft
Karlos Williams, RB, BUF
5/3/2016
News: Rookie fifth-round selection Jonathan Williams will join (Karlos) Williams and LeSean McCoy in the Buffalo backfield, Tyler Dunne of The Buffalo News reports.

Also a fifth-round selection, Karlos Williams enjoyed an efficient rookie season, gaining 517 yards on just 93 carries (5.6 YPC) with nine total touchdowns (two receiving) in 11 games. He's well positioned to serve as LeSean McCoy's top backup again, but Jonathan Williams could also compete for touches. There's been no indication that Karlos is still bothered by the knee injury that held him out in Week 17 last season.

Analysis: 

Bishop Sankey
Titans' Bishop Sankey: May have to fight for roster spot
Bishop Sankey, RB, TEN
5/3/2016
News: Sankey may have to compete for a roster spot, ESPN.com reports.

The Titans made a huge investment in the running back position this offseason, trading for DeMarco Murray and then drafting Derrick Henry. A second-round bust through two seasons, Sankey will likely have to compete with David Cobb, Antonio Andrews and Dexter McCluster for one or two roster spots. McCluster's receiving ability and general versatility should work in his favor, whereas Sankey, Cobb and Andrews don't really offer anything that the Murray-Henry can't bring to the table.

Analysis: 

Ronnie Hillman
Broncos' Ronnie Hillman: Could face challenge from rookie rusher
Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN
5/2/2016
News: Rookie fourth-rounder Devontae Booker could challenge for playing time, the Denver Post reports.

The Broncos took Booker early on Day 3 despite resigning last year's tandem, C.J. Anderson and Hillman. Of the two, Hillman's short-term future is the most at risk. Anderson's front-loaded contract and strong playoff performance makes him the early favorite to start. Hillman was slated to be the lightning to Anderson's thunder, but Hillman's poor end to the season, he rushed for just 54 yards on 32 playoff carries, makes him vulnerable to a young challenger like Booker.

Analysis: 

Devontae Booker
Broncos' Devontae Booker: Could compete early
Devontae Booker, RB, DEN
5/2/2016
News: Booker (knee) could could make an immediate impact in Denver's backfield, the Denver Post reports.

Booker was reportedly Denver's second-favorite back in the draft and was able to snag him in the fourth round. He has the decisiveness, power and wiggle to thrive in head coach Gary Kubiak's one-cut scheme. Booker rushed for 2,773 yards and 21 touchdowns in just 23 games at Utah. He's not a perfect prospect, he'll be 24 and is recovering from a torn meniscus, but expect him to push for playing time this year and challenge starter C.J. Anderson not too far down the line.

Analysis: 

Darren McFadden
Cowboys' Darren McFadden: Still part of picture
Darren McFadden, RB, DAL
5/2/2016
News: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said McFadden is "still in the picture" for the Dallas running game, the team's official website reports.

McFadden and Alfred Morris both saw their 2016 stock plummet when the Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliott at No. 4 overall. The rookie profiles as a three-down workhorse in the NFL, possibly even taking on such a role by Week 1. McFadden won't necessarily disappear from the offense, but it's quite possible that he merely ends up battling Morris for whatever scraps Elliott leaves behind. Granted, there might still be handcuff appeal in such a scenario, as the Cowboys have a phenomenal offensive line.

Analysis: 

More Updates