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2015 NFL Draft: Lance Zierlein's top 10 running backs

With the first wave of free agency over, NFL teams are turning more attention to setting their boards in anticipation of the 2015 NFL Draft. With that in mind, College Football 24/7 is releasing Lance Zierlein's top-10 lists at each position -- today it is running back. To view Zierlein's full scouting report on each prospect in's Draft Tracker, click on the player's name.

Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | OLs | DLs | Edge rushers | CBs | Safeties

1. Todd Gurley, Georgia

Zierlein's bottom line: The rehab work and medical evaluations will be extremely important for Gurley's draft stock as teams assess his potential durability as an NFL running back. He played less than 40 percent of his team's offensive snaps over the last three years, so there is plenty of tread still on the tires. Has the talent to be a top-five NFL running back, but ACL tear clouds the short-term picture.

2. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

Zierlein's bottom line: Angular, talented open-field runner who combines outstanding burst with a long stride to gain separation and hit the home run. He won't be able to outrun NFL defenders like he did in college and must develop more feel between the tackles. Gordon shines when his track runs over tackle or around the end and can put a defense to sleep around the corner. Not trustworthy enough to be a three-down back, but his pass-catching improved enough to utilize him out of backfield as a receiver.

3. Tevin Coleman, Indiana

Zierlein's bottom line: His violent running style is a joy to watch, but might have to be tempered to extend his career. He is a "race car in the red" on just about every snap and refuses to give in, which leads to many big runs. Zone, gap, power ... it doesn't really matter because Coleman can fit all schemes. Has the burst and top-end speed to be a game-changing running back for a team looking for a workhorse.

4. Jay Ajayi, Boise State

Zierlein's bottom line: While a comparison to Marshawn Lynch might be a little much considering Lynch's exploits in the NFL, Ajayi's running style and body type are very similar to Lynch's and Ajayi features an improving stiff arm and physicality that has become Lynch's calling card. Ajayi has the ability to play all three downs while mashing in short yardage and near the goal line. Scouts have been quietly circling Ajayi as a second-tier running back who offers tremendous value on the second day (Rounds 2-3) of the draft.

5. Duke Johnson, Miami

Zierlein's bottom line: One of the most explosive runners in college football during his time at Miami, Johnson doesn't need much of a crease to make defenses pay. His explosive quickness and elusiveness should help him adapt quickly to NFL speed and his feel and courage as a one-cut runner should earn him instant playing time. Johnson's lack of protection skills and his injury concerns could force him into a committee situation.

6. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska

Zierlein's bottom line: Despite having first-round talent, Abdullah's lack of preferred NFL size and issues with ball security might cause some teams to shy away from him in the opening round. Abdullah has explosive potential as a runner and ball-catcher and is a natural zone-scheme fit. His high character will make him a hit during interview process.

7. T.J. Yeldon, Alabama

Zierlein's bottom line: Instinctive, athletic running back who has the foot quickness to create for himself when lanes constrict or blocks are missed. Yeldon lacks the ball security, top-end speed and desired tackle breaking to be a full-time starter. He's a versatile, rotational back with the ability to step in and step up.

8. David Johnson, Northern Iowa

Zierlein's bottom line: Johnson lacks the short-area quickness to be a consistently effective every-down running back, but he has good size, speed and hands so he can't just be dismissed. He doesn't run routes well enough and isn't sudden enough to be a wide receiver, so he might have to be a third-down back with kick-return potential.

9. David Cobb, Minnesota

Zierlein's bottom line: Cobb's YouTube highlights might bore you, but he's custom-made for physical running teams. He has one-cut traits and can play in a gap scheme. Adjusting his style to the speed of the NFL game might take some time, but Cobb's downhill, run-finishing style fits what running games are becoming again and he has a shot to be more than just a complementary back.

10. Mike Davis, South Carolina

Zierlein's bottom line: Rhythm runner who is at his best when he's getting plenty of work. Davis has a surprising ability to turn on the jets and get on top of the secondary quickly for long runs, and his north-south mentality is a fit for the pros. With an ability to play on third down as well, the only thing holding Davis back is conditioning. Davis won't make too many defenders miss, so he can't afford to lose the corner speed he showed in 2013. Davis can be a very capable NFL backup with the potential to become a starter.

*Follow Lance Zierlen on Twitter **@LanceZierlein.*

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