April 15, 2024

Three under-the-radar running backs in the 2024 NFL Draft

The 2024 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, with the three-day event set to begin on April 25. Unlike last year, the 2024 class lacks a blue-chip running back prospect, and no players at the position are expected to be selected in the first round.

However, that’s not necessarily an undesirable development, as teams will be able to find good value at running back later in the draft. With that in mind, here are three running backs projected to be selected outside of the first two rounds who could end up being steals in the draft.  

Rasheen Ali, Marshall 

Height: 5-foot-11 Weight: 206 pounds

One of the most productive running backs in the 2024 class, the projected Day 3 selection is entering the NFL with two seasons of at least 1,300 yards from scrimmage under his belt. Ali, an explosive runner, followed up an injury-plagued 2022 season by amassing 1,348 total yards and scoring 16 touchdowns for the Thundering Herd in 2023.

Ali’s most successful season came in 2021, during which he tied current Atlanta Falcons RB Tyler Allgeier for the most rushing touchdowns in the nation (23) while totaling 1,735 all-purpose yards.

It’s worth noting that Ali ruptured his biceps tendon while practicing for the Senior Bowl, which forced him to miss that all-star game and the NFL Scouting Combine. Even so, it hasn’t negatively impacted his draft stock, as Ali has set up top-30 visits with several teams, including contenders such as the Chiefs, Ravens and Cowboys. 

Although injuries seem to be a concern for Ali, he won’t be all that risky of a selection for teams, considering the draft capital they’d invest in to select him. If Kansas City ultimately decides to draft him, Ali would be an ideal fit to assume the role free agent RB Jerick McKinnon previously held.

Isaiah Davis, South Dakota State

Height: 6-foot Weight: 218 pounds 

Despite playing at FCS powerhouse South Dakota State, Davis has the size and traits to be an effective workhorse running back at the NFL level. The 2023 Missouri Valley Football Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year rushed for 4,552 yards and 50 touchdowns on 677 carries during his four-year career with the Jackrabbits while fumbling just three times. 

According to Pro Football Focus, Davis was the highest-graded running back in the FCS last season (94.4), and his metrics compared to the other 2024 running back prospects are eye-popping. In a recent article published by PFF’s Mason Cameron highlighting the running backs with the best attributes in the class, Davis posted the highest outside zone, power, and goal-to-go rushing grades. As per Cameron, Davis rushed for first down or touchdown on over 29.7% of his outside zone attempts as well as on 54.7% of his power runs.

Tyrone Tracy Jr., Purdue

Height: 5-foot-11 Weight: 209 pounds

Tracy is one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft, regardless of position. He began his collegiate career at Iowa, where he played wide receiver for four seasons before transferring to Purdue before the 2022 season. Tracy only racked up 336 yards from scrimmage during his first season with the Boilermakers, but he finally broke out in 2023 after HC Ryan Walters asked him to switch to running back.

In 11 games this past season, Tracy rushed for 716 yards and eight touchdowns on an efficient 6.3 yards per carry while showcasing his pass-catching and pass-blocking upside.

The converted running back followed up a successful first season at the position by putting on one of the top overall performances at the NFL Scouting Combine. Among the participating running backs, Tracy ranked first in the three-cone drill (6.81 seconds), second in both the 20-yard shuttle (4.06 seconds) and vertical jump (40 inches) and eighth in the 40-yard dash (4.48 seconds).

Given his solid frame and all-around skill set, Tracy could be an instant contributor in a rotational role in the NFL, with the upside to develop into a featured back.