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RBs Jeremy Hill, Carlos Hyde could fit in first round of draft


No running back went in the first round of the draft last year, the first time that had happened since 1963, and conventional wisdom is that it will happen again this year.

NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah isn't convinced, though.

There is good talent at running back this year, Jeremiah said on a teleconference Thursday, and he said he "wouldn't be shocked" if the New England Patriots use their first-round pick (No. 29) on a running back.

Jeremiah said in past years, Ohio State's Carlos Hyde (6-foot-0, 230 pounds) and LSU's Jeremy Hill (6-1, 233) would be first-round picks. He also said this year's running back class is a "pretty good group (with) a lot of depth."

As recently as 2008, five running backs went in the first round. Three backs went in the first round in 2009 and '10. But there was just one in 2011, and while there were three in 2012, two of them went as the final two picks of the round.

Fellow analyst Charles Davis pointed to the success of three second-rounders from last season -- LeVeon Bell, Eddie Lacy and Gio Bernard -- as a reason teams would be willing to bypass running backs in the first round. In addition, of the top 10 rushers in the league in 2013, just three were first-rounders (there also were three third-rounders) and each of the top four (LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles and Alfred Morris) was drafted in the second round or later.

While Hill and Hyde seem to be the only potential first-rounders among the running backs this year, the depth is good, with Davis naming Arizona's KaDeem Carey, Florida State's Devonta Freeman, Washington's Bishop Sankey, Baylor's Lache Seastrunk, West Virginia's Charles Sims and Towson's Terrance West as backs who have caught his eye.

And just because there might not be any first-round backs doesn't mean a lot won't get drafted: 26 running backs were drafted last season. That's the second-most in the past five drafts, behind only the 29 taken in 2011. Last year's total also is tied for the third-most in any draft this century.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.



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