The running back position is devalued in the draft, but a look at the teams seriously competing for the Super Bowl title suggests the position remains vital. Carlos Hyde and Tre Mason carried their respective teams on title runs, exhibiting several core traits scouts look for in feature backs.
1. Jeremy Hill, LSU
Character concerns have prevented scouts from getting really excited about Hill's potential, but an extensive study of the film reveals a powerful downhill runner capable of putting an offense on his back.
2. Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Hyde's punishing running style shines in a downhill running game directed primarily between the tackles. With more teams turning to a power-oriented attack to enhance their chances of postseason success, Hyde will be a desirable prospect on draft day.
3. Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona
Carey is a violent runner with exceptional vision, quickness and burst. He has quietly totaled 22 100-yard rushing games over the past two seasons, showcasing his potential as a workhorse back in a spread offense. Although his pedestrian 40 time (4.7) will prevent some teams from ranking him higher up the board, Carey is a sneaky good playmaker with a game that is built for the NFL.
4. Tre Mason, Auburn
Mason lacks exceptional skills, but his overall game is ideally suited for the NFL. He displays the vision, lateral quickness and finish to churn out positive gains, while flashing a running style that reminds me of former Pro Bowler Marion Barber III.
5. Charles Sims, West Virginia
Big, athletic running backs with receiving skills are valuable assets with the game trending toward a pass-first approach. Sims is a shifty playmaker in the Matt Forte mold, but offers a little more thump as a runner.
Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.