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2023 Senior Bowl RB Rankings, Breakdowns & Team Fits

2023 Senior Bowl RB Rankings, Breakdowns & Team Fits
camera2023 Senior Bowl RB Rankings, Breakdowns & Team Fits

The 2023 Senior Bowl is underway, and FantasyPros is on the scene in Mobile, AL to watch all of the practices. Here are initial running back rankings, breakdowns and team fits from Thor Nystrom, Derek Brown and Mike Maher.

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2023 Senior Bowl RB Rankings & Team Fits

DBro Thor Maher
Evan Hull Tyjae Spears Kenny McIntosh
Roschon Johnson Evan Hull Tyjae Spears
Tyjae Spears Kenny McIntosh Roschon Johnson
Kenny McIntosh Roschon Johnson Evan Hull
Eric Gray Eric Gray Chase Brown
SaRodorick Thompson Jr. Chase Brown Eric Gray
Chris Rodriguez SaRodorick Thompson Chris Rodriguez
Camerun Peoples Chris Rodriguez Camerun Peoples
Chase Brown Camerun Peoples SaRodorick Thompson Jr.

Tyjae Spears (RB – Tulane)

  • Thor Ranking: 1
  • DBro Ranking: 3
  • Maher Ranking: 2
  • Team Fits: Eagles, Bears, Chargers
  • NFL Draft Projection: Round 3-4
  • Player Comps: Michael Carter


Spears is a polarizing prospect. I’ve been a fan of his for years – when he flashes, hide your eyes or you’ll temporarily lose your vision. This past year, those flashes turned into consistent production.

The never-Spears camp will say he’s a durability concern (ACL in 2020). They’ll say he has a skinny build that may not be able to handle the full load. They’ll say he has questionable third-down utility besides, and that he has no special teams experience.

With running backs, there’s a natural element to the best ones. An innate ability. Something that cannot be taught, something they couldn’t explain after the fact if they tried. Poetry in motion. You know it when you see it. Spears has that.

He’s super explosive. He’s eyes-in-his-ear-holes instinctive. He makes the correct decisions at high speeds like a NASCAR driver. He consistently clowns defenders in the open field. I can’t tell you how many times last season I saw him leave an open-field defender on the ground who didn’t come close to getting a finger on him.

Kenny McIntosh (RB – UGA)

  • Thor Ranking: 3
  • DBro Ranking: 4
  • Maher Ranking: 1
  • Team Fits: Cardinals, Bengals, Lions
  • NFL Draft Projection: Round 3-4
  • Player Comps: C.J. Prosise


  • McIntosh is smooth as butter as a receiver. He was aligned in the slot and out wide in college. He looks like a natural. He's clean in and out of his breaks with soft hands. He could be a dangerous dual threat with a smart OC at the next level.
  • He's an upright slasher type as a rusher. McIntosh can make smooth jump cuts in the open field, which is impressive considering his size. While he can shed arm tackles, his height and upright running style can lead him to be brought down by the first tackler if they get a decent wrap on him. He's not a pile mover.
  • McIntosh has good vision in traffic. He is adept at getting small through creases and lets his blocks develop. He's very comfortable with zone concepts and has enough speed to get around the edge.

Roschon Johnson (RB – Texas)

  • Thor Ranking: 4
  • DBro Ranking: 2
  • Maher Ranking: 3
  • Team Fits: Raiders, Titans, Cowboys
  • NFL Draft Projection: Round 4
  • Player Comps: Matt Jones with better burst


Had Johnson signed anywhere else coming out of high school, we’d have seen so much more of him the past few years. But at Texas, he played second-fiddle behind demigod Bijan Robinson.

This may not be a bad thing for his next-level outlook: Johnson doesn’t have the wear-and-tear that other collegiate backs enter the NFL with. The 6-foot-2, 223-pound Johnson was a different sort of back than Robinson.

Whereas Bijan is a joystick mover, Johnson is a one-cut back semi. A towering back, Johnson gets a good vantage point of the line of scrimmage, and he uses that for a full-spectrum shot of his options.

He’s a patient runner who lets his linemen do their jobs. When he sees an opening, he makes his cut, shows strong short-area burst for a big fella, and hits the hole with authority. Ala Brian Robinson or Rhamondre Stevenson, Johnson has the footwork to make an over-leveraged defender miss, and the power to put them on their back if they don’t bring their lunch pail. Johnson’s athleticism will also sneak up on you – multiple times in college he hurdled a defender and kept trucking upfield.

Johnson showed a little more as a receiver in 2022, but at this time, he’s only a dump-off and run-after-the-catch guy in that regard. Johnson’s real utility on passing downs is in pass-pro. He’ll throw his body around and drop a linebacker.

Evan Hull (RB – Northwestern)

  • Thor Ranking: 2
  • DBro Ranking: 1
  • Maher Ranking: 4
  • Team Fits: Vikings, Ravens, Saints
  • NFL Draft Projection: Round 4
  • Player Comps: Mark Ingram


Hull is a personal favorite of my colleague Derek Brown and I. He was an under-the-radar recruit who got the majority of his collegiate touches the past two seasons on Northwestern teams that combined to go 4-20.

And while Peter Skoronski was on the offensive lines he ran behind, Northwestern had essentially nothing else on offense – allowing defenses to key in on Hull.

And for a guy who wasn’t working behind a great offensive line – Skoronski notwithstanding – Hull admirably did not appear to pick up bad habits we sometimes associate with running backs in similar collegiate situations (*cough* Cam Akers *cough*).

Lastly – and perhaps most importantly for his pro eval – Hull is an extremely skilled receiver. Last year, he was near tops in this class in targets, receptions, aDOT, and snaps in the slot or out wide.

My favorite sleeper back of the past five classes was James Robinson. Evan Hull will almost assuredly get drafted, so we’re not putting him in that category. But I bring up Robinson because I see a lot of similarities between he and Hull as runners.

Chase Brown (RB – Illinois)

  • Thor Ranking: 6
  • DBro Ranking: 9
  • Maher Ranking: 5
  • Team Fits: Eagles, 49ers, Falcons
  • NFL Draft Projection: Round 5-6
  • Player Comps: Myles Gaskin


  • Good vision on zone runs and with finding cut-back lanes. Brown does hesitate at the line when he should explode through the hole. Ran with more conviction as the 2022 season progressed.
  • He's a runway back. Brown doesn't display the ability to make the first tackler miss in the hole, but once he's into the second level, he displays a good second gear and the ability to set up his blocks.
  • Brown isn't blessed with overwhelming lateral agility. He gets himself in trouble when he hesitates at the line or tries to bounce some runs outside. Brown doesn't have the raw athleticism to get away with this.
  • Brown displays soft hands in the passing game. Mostly utilized as a check-down option or on the occasional rail route.

Eric Gray (RB – Oklahoma)

  • Thor Ranking: 5
  • DBro Ranking: 5
  • Maher Ranking: 6
  • Team Fits: Jaguars, Texans, Chiefs
  • NFL Draft Projection: Round 6
  • Player Comps: Bilal Powell


  • He should be a quality RB2 in the NFL.
  • He wins with vision. Gray displays a good feel for zone runs with the patience to let his blocks develop. He presses the hole and has a good jab step that he deploys before getting upfield.
  • Gray doesn't possess much in tackling-breaking or the ability to create a ton on his own. His leg drive is average, and he goes down too often by shoestring tackles or with the first defender in pursuit. Gray deploys a spin move occasionally to help him create more yards after first contact.
  • His lack of physicality shows up in blocking and pass protection. Gray is a solid receiver. He is at his best when working in space where he can build up a head of steam and utilize his vision in traffic. His pass protection worries could limit his upside as a receiver at the next level unless he lands in a scheme that deploys their backs in routes more than blocking duties.

Chris Rodriguez (RB – Kentucky)

  • Thor Ranking: 8
  • DBro Ranking: 7
  • Maher Ranking: 7
  • Team Fits: Raiders, Browns, Buccaneers
  • NFL Draft Projection: Round 7 / UDFA
  • Player Comps: Benny Snell


  • Questionable vision on zone runs. Rodriguez will take the cut back often as he lacks the speed to get to the edge. He won't stretch it to the boundary.
  • He is best utilized as a gap scheme back with clear downhill running lanes. Rodriguez is a dependable volume back. Solid interior rusher.
  • Rodriguez will get what is blocked, but he displays little ability to get more than that.
  • He has a power-back mentality inviting contact, but he doesn't have the extra thump or leg drive to run over people.
  • Straight line & one-speed runner.

Camerun Peoples (RB – App State)

  • Thor Ranking: 9
  • DBro Ranking: 8
  • Maher Ranking: 8
  • Team Fits: Ravens, Patriots
  • NFL Draft Projection: UDFA
  • Player Comps: Gus Edwards


  • Stiff hips. Peoples looks lumbering at times, getting up to second gear. He does display sufficient lateral agility flashing the occasional jump cut. Peoples won't be a home run hitter, but in a gap scheme, he can get you the consistent 4-7 yards with some chunk plays sprinkled in.
  • Invites contact. He has no qualms about lowering this shoulder to bulldoze a tackler. Strong lower half that allows him to push the pile. Peoples runs angry. Physical grinder back.
  • Peoples feels like a future Patriot or Raven. Drop him into a scheme that utilizes gap runs with regularity and let him get downhill and punish the second level.

SaRodorick Thompson Jr. (RB – Texas Tech)

  • Thor Ranking: 7
  • DBro Ranking: 6
  • Maher Ranking: 9
  • Team Fits: Jaguars, Bears, Dolphins
  • NFL Draft Projection: UDFA
  • Player Comps: JaMycal Hasty


Thompson Jr. was a late addition to the Senior Bowl roster for the National Team. He replaces Texas RB Roschon Johnson, who had an impressive first day of practice but is being held out because of a broken bone in his hand.


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