There are too many gifted running backs available in the 2015 NFL Draft for at least one of them not to become a true draft-day steal. Beyond the two who could go in the first round -- Georgia's Todd Gurley and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon -- a cast of others could bring an NFL club high value for a lower investment.
And according to NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks, Alabama's T.J. Yeldon could be the prize of the draft's second tier of prospects at the position.
Brooks went on to say multiple NFL talent evaluators have compared Yeldon to Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell.
If Yeldon surpasses expectations and outplays his draft slot, he'll be taking something of a cue from the back who preceded him as the Crimson Tide's top rusher. In 2012, Yeldon shared carries with Eddie Lacy at Alabama. A year later, Lacy won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors with 1,178 yards as the Green Bay Packers' second-round pick.
Last season, Yeldon was not only Alabama's leading rusher for the second consecutive season, he also was the Crimson Tide's primary back on third down. His receiving and pass-protection skills suggest he could get on the field immediately for an NFL team, at least in a third-down role, if not more. And those are the skills that might have to separate him from a talented group of rushers that includes Indiana's Tevin Coleman, Boise State's Jay Ajayi, Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah, Miami's Duke Johnson and Michigan State's Jeremy Langford, among others.
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah regards Ajayi and Abdullah as the draft's best running back options after Gordon and Gurley.