Alabama running back Najee HarrisLynne Sladky/Associated Press
Mike Davis and Travis Etienne, Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons could put together a thunder-and-lightning package in the backfield. While Mike Davis (5’9″, 220 lbs) grinds out the tough yardage between the tackles, Clemson’s Travis Etienne can slither through gaps and then accelerate in the open field for big gains.
At 5’10”, 215 pounds, Etienne is an average-sized ball-carrier. He’s capable of handling 15 to 20 touches because of his pass-catching ability. He caught 48 passes for 588 yards and two touchdowns in 2020. Along with Davis, who’s coming off a season with a career-high 1,015 scrimmage yards, the standout ACC prospect can provide balance to the Falcons offense.
The Falcons had contact with Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell, per Jason Butt of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Assuming the club has some interest in pairing Davis with an incoming rookie, Etienne could be an option with the 35th overall pick.
Melvin Gordon III and Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos
In an interview with Denver 7’s Troy Renck, Melvin Gordon III said he feels “so overlooked.” He could garner some reverence in a tandem with North Carolina’s Javonte Williams. The two tailbacks can split early-down touches with the veteran still heavily involved in the short passing game.
Gordon deserves praise for his ability to produce on all three downs, accumulating 5,226 rushing yards, 2,031 receiving yards and 57 total touchdowns through six seasons.
Williams will lower the boom and bounce off defenders. He forced the most missed tackles on carries (76) this past season, per Pro Football Focus. Smaller linebackers and safeties will struggle to stop him on early downs.
According to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, Denver sent running backs coach Curtis Modkins to North Carolina’s pro day with Williams and Michael Carter as the prospects to watch.
Najee Harris and Benny Snell Jr., Pittsburgh SteelersThe Pittsburgh Steelers had a Zoom call with Alabama’s Najee Harris, and he talked glowingly about his interaction with the team on The Adam Schefter Podcast (h/t Allison Koehler of Steelers Wire).
With Harris in the featured role out of the backfield, the Steelers could see a dramatic improvement in their 32nd-ranked ground attack from the 2020 campaign.
This past season, Harris ranked third in the nation in rushing yards (1,466) and led the country in touchdowns on the ground (26). Over his last two collegiate terms, he made strides as a pass-catcher, logging 70 receptions for 729 yards and 11 touchdowns.
As two physical backs, Harris and Benny Snell Jr. can restore the Steelers’ physical identity on the offensive side of the ball. The third-year veteran flashed in the 2020 season opener, rushing for a career-high 113 yards against the New York Giants.