CHICAGO -- Georgia's Todd Gurley and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon have long been expected to be drafted in the first round in the 2015 NFL Draft, the first two running backs to go that early since 2012. But the way NFL Media analyst Charles Davis sees it, the pair might have some first-round company at the position in Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon.
"Three backs in the first round, and I'm looking at T.J. Yeldon -- I just keep hearing that name," Davis said. "I've got more people bouncing me about him as the third running back, and I've heard someone might trade back in (to the first round) to get him."
Most draft experts have placed the Alabama star on a second tier of running back prospects along with an assortment of others, including Indiana's Tevin Coleman, Boise State's Jay Ajayi, Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah and others. But most also expect the first back to be picked off that second tier will come on the draft's second day. An AFC scout told College Football 24/7 last month that Yeldon has a strong chance to be the third running back picked, but made no inference as to which round it might happen.
Yeldon going in the first round would figure to be among the biggest surprises of the draft, and the possibility that a club might trade up to do so opens a myriad of possibilities as to who might be interested. It also suggests there is concern that, if Yeldon falls to Day 2, he'll go off the board quickly in the second round.
According to NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein, a dozen NFL teams count the running back position among their top five position needs for the draft: the Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals.