5 Under-The-Radar Running Backs In The 2024 NFL Draft

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Southern Mississippi running back Frank Gore Jr. (3) kneels in prayer before an NCAA football game against Tulane on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Hattiesburg, Miss.
(AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Ryan Hannable @RyanHannable Mar 01, 2024, 10:20 AM

The diamonds are aplenty in the NFL Draft. And perhaps the most impactful guys in the later rounds can be found at the running back position.

Kansas City’s Isiah Pacheco is a prime example. The seventh-rounder has been key in the Chiefs’ run atop the NFL. Kansas City will likely again have the best NFL odds to win the Super Bowl next season.

Every year, there are hidden gems in the draft, guys who aren’t the first names said when analysts discuss the top prospects per position. Here are five under-the-radar running backs to watch in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Dylan Laube, New Hampshire

Laube tormented FCS defenses and FBS defenses, too, when he had a chance.

NFL teams will love the versatility of Laube. The 5-foot-10, 208-pounder can run it, catch it, and return it. As one of the best all-purpose players the FCS has seen, Laube tallied 2,773 career rushing yards and 29 touchdowns, recorded 1,791 receiving yards with 14 touchdowns, had 2,207 kick return yards and two scores, and 426 punt return yards and two touchdowns.

He’s an uber-talented player with the ball in his hands. Laube is likely a Day 3 pick, but any offensive coordinator will be excited about how best to utilize Laube’s ability. If he tests as well as expected at the NFL Combine, a team very well could grab him in the early-to-mid rounds.

Isaiah Davis, South Dakota State

SDSU has had great success recently sending players in the early rounds of the draft: Tucker Kraft (TE), Pierre Strong Jr. (RB), and Dallas Goedert (TE). Davis looks primed to be that next guy, and how he runs at the NFL Combine could boost him from a Day 3 projection to a Day 2 projection.

Davis is a physical back at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds. But he has some wiggle to him in traffic with great vision and quick feet. And he can deliver a wicked stiff arm to defensive backs in the open field.

A dominant back at the FCS level, he totaled 4,548 career rushing yards and 50 TDs for the Jackrabbits, winning national championships in his final two seasons.

George Holani, Boise State

Despite being one of Boise State’s all-time leading rushers, Holani was a bit of an afterthought in 2023 after dealing with injuries and fellow Broncos running back Ashton Jeanty was the HERO Sports G5 Offensive Player of the Year.

However, Holani has the skill set to flourish at the pro level. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound former Mountain West Freshman of the Year was third in the conference with 1,157 rushing yards, averaging 5.2 yards per attempt, and was tied for fifth with 10 touchdowns in 2022. He’s fifth all-time in Boise State’s record books – which is loaded with former NFL players – with 3,596 yards on the ground.

Don’t be surprised if Holani bounces back and starts his NFL career on a high note.

Frank Gore Jr., Southern Miss

Gore might not truly be “under the radar” considering he’s the son of NFL legend Frank Gore, but he’s also coming from a Group of Five team which has struggled recently.

Gore ran for 1,131 yards and 10 touchdowns while catching 27 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns this past season, but his resume was loaded with accomplishments prior to that. He’s been an all-conference honoree each of the past four years.

Gore can do it all, which is why he deserves consideration as one of the best running backs who might not end up going in the first two days of the NFL Draft.

Kimani Vidal, Troy

Vidal has put together an impressive career playing in the Sun Belt.

The conference’s offensive player of the year ran for 1,661 yards and 14 touchdowns while adding 201 yards and a score on 18 receptions in 2023. The 5-8, 215-pound running back earned all-conference accolades going all the way back to his freshman year in 2020.

Vidal could fuel an NFL team’s offense on the ground or through the air. That will surely be appealing for scouts.

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About the Author

Ryan Hannable

Read More @RyanHannable

Ryan Hannable is a Content Managing Editor on the Web Content Team for BetMGM. Previously, he was a New England Patriots beat writer for WEEI in Boston. He also has published a golf book, “The Ultimate Book of Golf Trivia: 600 Questions and Answers.”

Ryan Hannable is a Content Managing Editor on the Web Content Team for BetMGM. Previously, he was a New England Patriots beat writer for WEEI in Boston. He also has published a golf book, “The Ultimate Book of Golf Trivia: 600 Questions and Answers.”