Michigan's Hart, OU's Patrick top running back prospects for '08 draft

The 2008 senior class took a hit at running back when eventual first-rounders Adrian Peterson (Vikings) and Marshawn Lynch (Bills) defected early. Michigan's Mike Hart is the best senior prospect entering the 2007 season but size and durability issues could easily keep him out of the first round.

Allen Patrick, Tashard Choice, Yvenson Bernard, Dantrell Savage, Ryan Torain, Justin Forsett and Rafael Little will all be competing for what is usually a limited number of running back spots on Day 1 (an average of 8.4 over the last three years). Patrick, Savage, and Forsett have shown flashes but each must rise to the challenge and carry the load for their respective teams this fall. Choice, Bernard and Torain are bigger, more bruising runners but need to show more of a speed element as seniors. Meanwhile, Forsett, Savage and Little are versatile and elusive, but their lack of size and power will ultimately hurt them.

The real story of the 2008 running back class will ultimately be an influx of talented early entries. If Darren McFadden of Arkansas were a senior, he would be the top prospect on the 2008 draft board, regardless of position. His combination of size, speed, athleticism and versatility is unparalleled. McFadden's backup at Arkansas, Felix Jones, would start for most teams in the country and possesses the size, power and breakaway speed to one day emerge as an NFL starter.