This is the 2022 near mid season ranking of the Top-5 NFL RBs from Memphis. Astonishingly, a small non-power-5 school like the University of Memphis has many top RBS. More than 5 have been drafted and a couple made the NFL from practice squads.
Top-5 NFL rbs from Memphis(5)
Calvin Austin III, in the 2022 draft class was selected 4th Round. The Steelers had high hopes for his freshman outing and there was no small amount of hype (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, subscr. required) In preseason he was used a lot, often as a WR. Unfortunately, he had an injury and hasn’t seen regular-season action. The latest information update has him out for the rest of the year.
Top-5 NFL rbs from Memphis(4)
Kenneth Gainwell, drafted in 2021 in the fifth Round by the Eagles, is in his second year in the league. The Eagles are loaded at RB, so Gainwell has only 23 Carries for 97 Yards. Gainwell is currently behind Miles Turner (105 carries- 487 yards) on the depth chart so his promise is as yet unfulfilled.
Top-5 NFL rbs from Memphis(3)
The Los Angeles Rams drafted Darrell Henderson in the 3rd round in 2019. Darrell Henderson came in highly touted, as he was breaking many of the great DeAngelo Williams RB records as a Memphis Tiger. He was a workhorse and took the Tigers further in college- and thus the pro hopes were high for him. Unfortunately, the Rams drafted Cam Akers and that RB has taken most of the carries until this year. But this year, he has benefited from Cam Akers unhappiness as a Ram. Henderson has rushed for 181 yards on 46 carries.
Top-5 NFL rbs from Memphis(2)
2. Antonio Gibson was drafted in 2020 as more of a slot receiver, he became the (then) Washington Football team’s best offensive weapon. In college, he played at 230, dropped to 220 for the pros, and he used his 4.39 40 speed to separate from defenders. He was utilized mainly as a running back and had 271 carries in heavy duty. He gained 1073 yards. Unfortunately, in 2022 he has taken only 81 carries and gained 273 yards. The Commanders have used a pass-heavy offense, with 4 different receivers catching 20 or more passes already.
Top-5 NFL rbs from Memphis(1)
1. Tony Pollard, drafted in 2020 by the Dallas Cowboys, America’s team, he remained a Memphis Tigers’ fan favorite. At Memphis used predominantly as a change-of-pace back and return specialist, in the pros he’s overachieved. He broke out for the Cowboys as a rookie, and now in his third season is competing with Ezekiel Elliot for touches. For a lead running back as recognized and decorated as “Zeke”, there actually became a running-back controversy. (h/t https://twitter.com/CoachSparkman36) It even rose to the point that the owner Jerry Jones had to deny there was a controversy.
These rankings do not signify which of these elite RB prospects will have the best career. Darrell Henderson had the best Memphis Tiger career, but the Los Angeles Rams’ Cam Akers is an elite NFL RB and edged him out (so far). Antonio Gibson was not famous as a RB, but he fit perfectly into the Washington system; but this year not as well. And Tony Pollard has become the most famous of these incredible young runners, pushing the outstanding Ezekiel Elliot for touches each week.
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