In PFF’s latest 2024 NFL Draft positional projection, two Michigan running backs are flying up the boards. Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards were ranked as the No. 2 and No. 3 running back prospects respectively by Trevor Sikkema.
Corum finished last year with 1,463 yards, 19 total touchdowns, and was the Heisman Trophy frontrunner until a knee injury in Week 11 against Illinois effectively ended his season.
Edwards racked up 1,191 total yards (991 rushing) and nine total touchdowns despite playing through a torn patella tendon (suffered in Week 2) and a fractured thumb (suffered in Week 10).
Back in May, PFF wrote this about each player.
“Corum was arguably the best player in college football last season. His 96.2 grade didn’t just lead all players in the country, it was the best PFF has ever seen from a Power Five player. Corum’s 96 rushing first downs/touchdowns were second-most in the country, behind only Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim, who received 72 more carries. He’s not the tallest at 5-foot-8 but has a strong frame at 210 pounds and possesses elite lateral agility and quickness for the position.”
“Despite being overshadowed by Corum, Edwards is a star in his own right. The sophomore led all Power Five running backs this season with 7.1 yards per carry. His 87.0 grade was tied for fifth in that same group. When Corum went down with a knee injury late in the season, Edwards stepped up when it mattered most. Against Ohio State, Purdue in the Big Ten Championship Game and TCU in the College Football Playoff semifinal, he ran for a combined 520 yards and averaged 7.4 yards per carry.”
Both running backs will face injury scrutiny in the NFL Draft process, but could put a significant amount of it to rest with a healthy 2024 as they try to lead Michigan to its first national championship since 1997.
While the running back position has been devalued in the NFL, four of the last five years have seen at least one running back selected in the first round. And in two of the last three NFL Drafts, two running backs have been selected in the first round.
Could Corum and Edwards both go in the first round next year?