For those who aren’t aware, Prime was released for purchase. Today we will be previewing the top five running back draft prospects who fit the Bengals draft mold. We’ve listed the top five graded prospects projected to be taken in the first round below.
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1. Dalvin Cook, RB(S), Florida State | Prime Grade: 5.22
Dalvin Cook edges out Leonard Fournette for the top spot. Cook gained the advantage due to his superior production coupled with his experience within the pro-style zone running scheme. Cook would be the best for Zampese’s Bengals’ west coast offense. Another advantage Cook gained was in the medical department. Cook seems to have only missed one game his entire collegiate career even after sustaining three injuries.
2. Leonard Fournette, RB(P), LSU | Prime Grade: 4.89
Fournette comes in second and there has been speculation that the Bengals could pursue him in the first round if he is available. At 6’0, 228 pounds, Fournette is a match for the Bengals’ power running back position. The Bengals have also favored SEC running backs as well. The only questions for Fournette’s fit deal with his scheme fit and durability concerns. Fournette missed at least four games during his collegiate career due to an ankle injury.
3. Christian McCaffrey, RB(S), Stanford | Prime Grade: 4.33
McCaffrey comes in as the third option for the Bengals to consider in the first round. At 5’11, he’s actually slightly taller than the prototypical speed back, but his weight falls within the proper range. Like Cook, McCaffrey has superior college production and only missed two games with an undisclosed injury. The factor of the potential Bengals’ pre-draft visit for McCaffrey is unknown due to him skipping this opportunity with all 32 teams.
4. Joe Mixon, RB (P), Oklahoma | Prime Grade: 4.89
Joe Mixon comes in 4th only due to his draft projection of second to third round. Some believe Mixon could go as high as late first round, but with off-field issues, his stock is unknown. At 6’1 228, Mixon is slated as the size of a Bengals’ power back. The Bengals have shown extreme interest meeting with Mixon on several occasions. Although he’s had a leg injury in college, he’s only missed one game and was consistently productive within the running and passing game in college.
5. Alvin Kamara, RB(S), Tennessee | Prime Grade: 4.17
Kamara rounds out the top five and shares the same draft projection as Mixon. If the Bengals opt to skip taking a running back in the first round, Kamara could be an option for them in the second or third. At 5’10, 214, Kamara is nearly the same size as Cook which is perfect for the Bengals small back size. The fact Kamara was a SEC runner and displayed durability could make him an appealing option. The only thing the Bengals will question with his is his average production while at Tennessee.
Based on history, there is only a 7% chance that the Bengals could pick a running back in the first round. The chances jump up to 19% in the second round and decreased to 0% in the third round. Depending on how the draft shakes out, a running back could end up being the top player on their board according to Prime. There was a rumor that Marvin Lewis had Ezekiel Elliot number one on last year’s Bengals’ draft board and that he views a running back from this year in a similar fashion.