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Ranking the most complete running backs in the 2019 NFL draft

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Jacobs runs for 9-yard Alabama touchdown (0:22)

Alabama RB Josh Jacobs takes the ball into the end zone as the Crimson Tide get the scoring started early. (0:22)

Le'Veon Bell could get paid this offseason. The free-agent running back is one of the best weapons in the NFL because of what he can do outside of running the football. He is a tremendous pass-catcher -- he grabbed 75 or more passes in three different seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers -- and a solid blocker, which means he never has to miss a snap.

But there is always value in the NFL draft, and the 2019 class is no different. Teams can find good players -- at a fraction of what Bell will cost.

So let's evaluate the running backs in this class to see if we can find candidates who could make a dynamic impact in the league. Here's my ranking of the top three-down prospects at the position as we head into the NFL combine in Indianapolis:


1. Josh Jacobs, Alabama

What stands out: Explosion and versatility

Jacobs has the juice of a No. 1 back with a legit 5-foot-10, 216-pound frame. The jump cuts are there to shake defenders. So is the burst -- he can go. And don't forget about the pop in his pads. Jacobs will drop the hammer on contact. He also is a threat as a pass-catcher, with soft hands and the versatility to catch the rock out of multiple alignments.

Just check out the play below against Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff. It's a man-coverage beater with Jacobs releasing on the flat route -- a classic scheme to get him loose. But after the catch? There's the explosive ability in the open field, and you better be prepared to square him up. That's nasty for a back who has low tread on his tires -- only 252 career carries in three college seasons. With pro-ready skills that flash on tape -- plus advanced technique in pass protection -- Jacobs could be a first-round pick.

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Alabama's Jacobs trucks Oklahoma DB on way to end zone

Tua Tagovailoa throws to Josh Jacobs in the flat and he takes it 27 yards for a score, bulldozing the Oklahoma defender in his path.

2. David Montgomery, Iowa State

What stands out: Lower-body balance

Montgomery handled the heavy volume at Iowa State -- a combined 515 carries in 2017 and '18 -- showing the balance to slip tackles at 5-foot-11 and 216 pounds. He is tough at the point of attack. He has some wiggle too, along with the patience to stack behind his blockers before finding daylight to finish. Take a look at the touchdown run against Washington State in the Alamo Bowl. (See the clip below.) Although Montgomery doesn't display top-end speed to create consistent explosive runs at the next level -- and we'll see him run a 40-yard dash in Indy -- his running style is an ideal fit for the pro game.

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Montgomery powers way into the end zone for TD

Iowa State running back David Montgomery goes through defenders for the 8-yard touchdown run.

Montgomery has shown the ability to handle blitz pickup in pass protection, and he looks natural catching the ball on film. Flip that forward to the NFL screen game, the underneath routes and the quick arrow/option routes. That will allow him to win within the route vs. linebackers and use his movement skills after the catch.


3. Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic

What stands out: Stop-and-go ability