The 2024 NFL Scouting Combine is over and the NFL draft is right around the corner. At the annual pro football pilgrimage to Indianapolis, some players thrived while others flopped. When it comes to the NFL draft running backs, several stood out, including Oregon’s Bucky Irving and Texas’ Keilen Robinson.

While the 2023 draft featured two first-round backs in Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs, you don’t have to go back far to find the last time an RB didn’t come off the board in the first 32 picks. It happened in 2022 when the New York Jets took the first runner (Breece Hall) at pick 36 in Round 2.

This year should be much like two years ago. It’s a lock that no RB will go in the first round. However, starting in Round 2, there will be plenty of backs flying off the board and going to teams where they should get a chance to contribute right away.

Here are the four RBs whose NFL draft stock rose during the 2024 NFL combine.

Oregon RB Bucky Irving

Oregon Ducks running back Bucky Irving (0) hurdles over Liberty Flames defensive back Brandon Bishop (6) during the second half in the 2024 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

College football fans are probably more familiar with Bucky Irving, the lead back for the Oregon Ducks this season than most players on this list.

After transferring from Minnesota, Irving ran for 2,238 yards and 16 touchdowns in Eugene with 87 catches for 712 yards and five more scores. At the combine, he measured at a small (as expected) but respectable 5-foot-9, 192 pounds, which is OK for an NFL back.

Irving didn’t jump off the page athletically, but he was firmly in the middle of the pack with a 4.55-second 40-yard dash, 29.5-inch vertical jump, and 9-foot, 7-inch broad jump. Where he really shined, though, is in the drills.

The Ducks pack looked like one of the most natural pass-catchers of the bunch during the drills and should be able to contribute as a 3rd-down back right away. With that role on lock, his game speed and power looked real, too, like scouts saw on tape, which means he could develop into a three-down back in the future.

Texas RB Keilen Robinson

Another RB who got national exposure is Texas’ Keilen Robinson, although he was overshadowed throughout his career and now in the draft process but teammate Jonathan Brooks. However, with Brooks still healing up from a knee injury, Robinson got his time to shine at the combine.

As good as Brooks was catching passes at Indianapolis, Robinson looked even better. He caught everything that came near him and also ran the fourth-fastest 40 among running backs at 4.42 seconds.

The Texas back is 5-foot-8, 191 pounds, so he’s not a three-down, pound-it-up-the-middle guy. However, like Bucky Brooks, he can have a role as a 3rrd-down back right away, and his route-running and catching were so sharp at the combine that some scouts think he could split time between WR and RB at the next level.

With that type of versatility, some creative coach will want Keilen Robinson, and may even trade up on Day 2 of the NFL draft to get him.

Louisville RB Isaac Guerendo

While Keilen Robinson and Bucky Brooks are specialty backs, Louisville rock-toter Isaac Guerendo is an all-around back with some size, and boy can he fly. Guerendo ran the fastest 40 times at the NFL combine of any back, with a blazing 4.33-second time.

The former Cardinal is 6 feet, 221 pounds, and can bang bodies inside. He put up 810 yards on the ground this past season and scored 11 touchdowns. It was a breakout year for Guerendo, who played four seasons at Wisconsin before 2023, and looks like a Badgers back but with some serious wheels.

Guerendo looks like an NFL back, and for a team that needs an RB to emerge as the starter, this could be their player. He may not win the job out of camp this season but don’t be surprised if he becomes a hot waiver-wire pickup in fantasy football at some point this coming season.

Troy RB Kimani Vidal

Kimani Vidal is a workhorse running back who ran for 1,132 and 1,661 yards in 2022 and 2023 at Troy with 33 rushing touchdowns in that span. At 5-foo-8, 215 pounds, Vidal has some bowling ball, Maurice Jones-Drew vibes, and proved at the combine he has the athleticism for the next level.

Vidal ran a 4.46-second 40, which was seventh among RBs. His 37.5-inch vertical was sixth, and his 10-foot broad jump was good for ninth. With those numbers and that production, Vidal looked the part of NFL back at the combine.

A good pass-catcher as well, Vidal solidified his spot in the 2024 NFL Draft. He won’t go until Day 3, but he will go somewhere, and if it is the right spot where he can get an opportunity, the Troy back could shock some people.