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Deep running back class

TCU RB LaDainian Tomlinson (5).
TCU RB LaDainian Tomlinson (5).

There is no Jamal Lewis in the 2001 NFL Draft 2001 class, but it is a strong group in its own right and could supply as many as six or seven NFL featured runners.

1. LaDainian Tomlinson, 5-10, 220 lbs. TCU

Tomlinson made all the right moves this past fall and offseason. After a 2000-yard rushing effort as a senior, he had a fine week at the Senior Bowl and a strong performance at the combine. He has an excellent burst of speed and outstanding power that allows him to get the most out of each rushing attempt. With little experience as a receiver, he answered a lot of questions with a fine effort in Mobile catching the ball. He also showed the ability to run inside with power. 

2. Lamont Jordan, 5-10, 235 lbs. Maryland

Powerful tailback completed an excellent postseason after a subpar fall. Jordan has the package to be one of the steals of this draft. He runs tough inside and has the quick feet and speed to get outside and turn the corner. He has very good hands and is a playmaker in the openfield after the catch. Jordan could go late in the first round, but most likely will fall to the second where he could be the best value pick of the entire draft.

3. Deuce McAllister, 6-1, 220 lbs. Mississippi

Talented tailback displays fine measurables at the position but has struggled through countless injuries over his career. McAllister has 4.4 speed and outstanding hands and size, but runs more like a 180-pound scatback. His injury history makes him one of the riskiest top 10-12 picks in recent memory. He is an outstanding goal-line runner and receiver but must prove he can dance every dance in the NFL to warrant a high draft selection.

4. Kevan Barlow, 6-1, 235 lbs. Pittsburgh

Big, talented tailback finished a strong senior season that pushed him into the top 50. He has the ability to make defenders miss or the power to simply run over them and is a solid receiver. Barlow's lack of top corner speed pushes him down the charts slightly, as does his periods of inconsistencies early in his career.

5. Michael Bennett, 5-11, 205 lbs. Wisconsin

Fast junior tailback was a starter for just one season. He has world-class speed but is a one-cut runner with little experience. He has the burst to get outside and run away from defenders. His lack of size leaves concerns about his ability to run inside and his lack of experience as a receiver and blocker leaves more questions than answers about his readiness.  

6. Anthony Thomas, 6-1, 225 lbs. Michigan

Big, well-developed tailback has the power and size to run inside with the burst of speed to get to the corner. He has soft hands and is a tough, open-field runner after the reception. His lack of fine speed will most likely push him out of the top 50 prospects.

7. Travis Henry 5-10, 220 lbs. Tennessee

Strong senior is basically a one-cut runner who looks to finish each attempt with power. He lacks any one outstanding feature, yet is an honest runner who gets the most of each attempt. 

8. Rudi Johnson, 5-10, 220 lbs. Auburn

Powerful, compact junior tailback led the SEC in rushing in his only season at the Division 1 level. Johnson has a strong lower body that allows him to make many yards after contact. He is under-developed as a receiver and lacks the top speed. He'll go in the middle rounds. 

9. Correll Buckhalter, 6-0, 220 lbs. Nebraska

Underrated tailback had a fine postseason that moved him into the middle rounds. Buckhalter runs hard between the tackles and has enough speed to get outside. He had a strong week at the East-West practices and showed fine pass-catching ability. 

10. Dominic Rhodes, 5-9, 210 lbs. Midwestern State (Texas)

Excellent small college runner combines quick feet, speed and surprising power. Rhodes can run inside as well as the speed to get to the corner. He needs development as a receiver, although he has the tools to be one of the biggest surprises in this draft class.

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