2024 NFL Draft: The top 20 running back prospects for the Chiefs

The 2024 NFL Draft is about a month away and the Kansas City Chiefs could still use a running back. Here are the top 20 prospects they should consider.

Northwestern v Wisconsin
Northwestern v Wisconsin / John Fisher/GettyImages
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Early Day Three Running Back Prospects

I believe there is a noticeable drop between the first six prospects on this list and the next group. So much so, that I would prefer to take all of these backs in the fifth round as opposed to the fourth round. My guess is they won't all make it to where KC picks in the fifth, but I have them ranked close enough together that I would be willing to chance that one of them makes it through to them.

Whereas the first six backs in these rankings all have the potential to be a primary running back for a team I believe these three are all complimentary passing down specialists. That's a role that the Chiefs could use and I believe these three would all be a nice fit.

7. Tyrone Tracy Jr. - Purdue - 5-11, 209 pounds

Tyrone Tracy Jr. spent the bulk of his college career as a wide receiver at Iowa, but after transferring to Purdue for his final season, he made the transition to running back and flashed a ton of potential. It isn't surprising that Tracy shows a ton of pass-catching upside out of the backfield. You can just imagine how Andy Reid might have fun motioning Tracy around the formation and making defenses guess if he's going to be a running back or receiver on the play. However, his pass-catching skills aren't all he brings to the table.

Tracy had a fantastic display at the NFL Combine. His 9.87 Raw Athletic Score (RAS) was the 24th-best for a running back in the history of the metric dating all the way back to 1987. His tape also shows that while he is still raw and learning the position he has a natural feel for running the ball and making defenders miss. He also would bring value as a return man. I believe Tracy is one of the most underrated running back prospects in this class.

8. Will Shipley - Clemson - 5-11, 206 pounds

If I'm being honest, I think Shipley might make a better slot receiver in the NFL than a true running back. Shipley's tape shows an athletic back with great pass-catching skills that moves well in open space. I don't love his work between the tackles because his power is extremely lacking (almost like a slot receiver running the ball between the tackles). I do like his feet and vision and think he'll be a nice part of a running back committee.

I just wouldn't ever want him to be the primary ball carrier on early downs. If the Chiefs wanted to take him in the fifth round and use him as a passing game weapon both out of the backfield and out of the slot, I'm all for it. I worry about his ability to take over the Jerick McKinnon role because his lack of power shows up in pass protection, too.

9. Bucky Irving - Oregon - 5-9, 192 pounds

If you look over a lot of draft running back rankings, you'll see that Bucky Irving has a lot of people who have him ranked higher. I like Irving, but I think he comes with a low ceiling. He's too undersized to be a primary ball carrier. Irving's role at the next level will be as a pass-catching third-down type back. He does have some of the best hands in this draft class, however he is lacking in pass protection skills right now too.

If a team isn't worried about pass protection and just wants a back to catch dump-offs and run routes out of the backfield, Irving could thrive. So would Irving be a great pass-catching option who runs hard and has good feet if the Chiefs took him in the 5th round? Yes, but ultimately he doesn't have the size to carry much of a workload in the NFL, doesn't have big-play speed, and isn't ready to be trusted in pass protection.

A lot of experts disagree, but I prefer the upside of Shipley and especially Tracy more if KC wants to take a back with pass-catching abilities in the mid-rounds.

Now let's take a look at some of the backs I would love for the Chiefs to take towards the end of the draft if they should slide that far.