It's an obvious trend across the NFL that the trust in a system in which one running back dominates the carries has suffered in recent years. I tend to think it's a bit of a chicken-egg situation: Some people will say injuries forced the hands of coaches, making them more cautious with top backs, and others will say that running backs not used to a workload are more susceptible to struggles and injuries.
But either way, we know that more and more teams seem to be comfortable finding running backs later in the draft process. I don't think this is simply because running backs have been marginalized. I think the position is hard to gauge, and personnel folks error on the side of caution with a position that transitions easier to the NFL than any other. This year should be no different. Mark Ingram of Alabama is the current highest back on the Board, but he's the only one and he's down at No. 19 this week, his lowest position yet. As always, juniors and draft-eligible sophomores are noted with an asterisk.
Analysis: Now completing 70.2 percent of passes in pro-style offense. Arm, smarts, intelligence all there. Gift-wrapped QB pick. Last week: No. 1
Analysis: His 24 TFL are second nationally. A tremendous physical talent who has shown steady relentlessness this year. Ideal size for 4-3 DE. Last week: No. 2
Analysis: Green has been mostly unstoppable even with young QB. Not sure people realize what kind of route-runner he's become. Last week: No. 3
Analysis: More than freak athlete, Peterson has continued to improve his technical cover skills. Has quietly become among nation's top return threats. Last week: No. 4
Analysis: I'd be more concerned about Amukamara's zero interceptions in 2010 if any quarterback was willing to challenge him. A gifted technician. Last week: No. 5