Revisiting The 2008 NFL Draft: Running Backs

The 1996 NFL draft is known for the great talent of wide receivers it produced, such as: Keyshawn Johnson, Marvin Harrison, and Terrell Owens. I'm a firm believer that the same way the '96 draft is known for receivers, the 2008 NFL draft should be known for running backs. Earlier I wrote about the five backs taken in the first round. But I'd like to briefly discuss a little but more about the running back class as a whole.

Currently, 12 of the 32 NFL teams prominently feature an '08 back (including the Dallas Cowboys that feature two: Felix Jones and Tashard Choice). The other backs taken that year were: Jamaal Charles, Justin Forsett, Matt Forte, Tim Hightower, Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, Rashard Mendenhall, Ray Rice, Steve Slaton, Kevin Smith, and Jonathan Stewart.

Currently, two of the best four runnings backs were drafted in 2008: Should-have-been-2009-MVP Tennessee's Chris Johnson and Baltimore's Ray Rice. The worst RB in this class in Run DMC (McFadden)- which is ironic because he was the first guy taken off of the board.

One thing of note that I noticed among this class is that it's full of guys who not only can run very well (as any NFL RB should be able to do), but also are pretty good pass catchers. The best pass catching RB in the NFL right now is my boy Ray Rice, but guys like Johnson, Forte, and Slaton are also pretty good at it as well.

Here's how I would rank these backs from this class
1. Chris Johnson (Titans)
2. Ray Rice (Ravens)
3. Jamaal Charles (Chiefs)
4. Jonathan Stewart (Panthers)
5. Rashard Mendenhall (Steelers)
6. Felix Jones (Cowboys)
7. Matt Forte (Bears)
8. Steve Slaton (Texans)
9. Justin Forsett (Seahawks)
10. Kevin Smith (Lions)
11. Tim Hightower (Cardinals)
12. Tashard Choice (Cowboys)
13. Darren McFadden (Raiders)