Yeldon could top loaded RB class

Big weekend matchups loom for Yeldon, Gordon and Gurley

Originally Published: August 29, 2014
By Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl | ESPN Insider

In the past two NFL drafts, no running backs have been selected in the first round. That's notable considering that before 2013, at least one had gone in the Round 1 dating back to the 1940s. But that streak coming to an end becomes more understandable when you look at the history of the position. NFL front offices have had success finding productive backs outside the first round, while several backs taken in Round 1 haven't panned out.

A lot will change between now and next spring, but the 2015 running back class could be the most talented and deep we've seen in the past five years, led by a very strong trio at the top: Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, Georgia's Todd Gurley and Alabama's T.J. Yeldon.

Yeldon currently ranks as our No. 3 RB behind Gordon and Gurley. He might not have Gordon's home run-hitting ability or Gurley's power, but he may have the least amount of question marks -- which is why he has the potential to emerge as the top back in the class.

Let's examine how he can become the first running back off the board in next year's draft, Alabama's loaded RB corps and also what we'll be watching for from all three in their opening-week matchups this Saturday.