We’ve reached April, meaning the 2024 NFL Draft is just days away. There are a lot of NFL teams with needs and a lot of players hoping to hear their name called. Over the next few installments, I’ll be looking at NFL teams who might have a need in a certain area. Today, it’s teams that could—or should—be looking to get a boost at running back. We know this isn’t an exceptional class and running backs aren’t valued the same way by the NFL in 2024. But I think we could see a lot of teams grabbing players in the Third through Sixth Rounds that could factor into their committee approach to the position. The list below is grouped into Tiers and appears in alphabetical order.

The Desperate

Dallas Cowboys

On the Roster: Rico Dowdle, Deuce Vaughn, Malik Davis, and Snoop Conner

About: The Cowboys released Ezekiel Elliot last off-season and saw Tony Pollard go to the Titans this off-season. That leaves them short-handed in the backfield. Dowdle had some moments as a complementary back in 2023, and Vaughn is a good Special Teams contributor who can catch passes. The Cowboys lack a focal player in the backfield. Sure, the rumor is the team is looking at bringing Elliot back for 2024. That would be a great story and a great help for the Cowboys. But even with Elliot, this is a backfield in need. The Cowboys will most surely be a player in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Prediction: The Cowboys will look to land a back and could even reach to the second round to do it.

Help Needed

Arizona Cardinals

On the Roster: James Conner, Emari Demarcado, DeeJay Dallas, Michael Carter, and Tony Jones

About: Yes, the Cardinals have a lot of options at running back. But if you really look at it, they’re lacking a cohesive long-term plan. Demarcado showed flashes as an undrafted free agent last year, Dallas is a good role player, Carter is trying to work his way into a second chance, and Jones is a journeyman depth player. Conner is the lead back and a decent producer. But he’s getting old, in a contract year, and prone to missing time. The Cardinals are looking to continue getting younger and re-building this roster, and adding a potential running back of the future makes sense.
Prediction: I think the Cardinals will add a running back in the fourth or fifth round.

Cincinnati Bengals

On the Roster: Zack Moss, Chase Brown, Trayveon Williams, and Chris Evans

About: The Bengals felt comfortable enough after adding Moss to deal Joe Mixon to the Houston Texans. Moss showed a lot of promise in stepping in for Jonathan Taylor last season and should be the lead. We also saw some good contributions from Brown in the final couple of games of 2023. It’s a small sample size, but he could get more work in 2024. So, is this really a need? Maybe not as glaring a need as it is for some on the list, but I think the Bengals will add to the position.
Prediction: The Bengals will grab a back in the Fourth Round or later to add to the mix.

Los Angeles Chargers

On the Roster: Gus Edwards, Isaiah Spiller, Elijah Dotson, and Jaret Patterson

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About: With Jim Harbaugh as the Head Coach and Greg Roman as the Offensive Coordinator, the team is making changes. The top backs from 2023—Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley—are gone. The team added Edwards, who figures to be a grinder. They also have Spiller, who hasn’t had much of a role since being drafted in 2022. The fact the team has continued to kick the tires on free agents like J.K. Dobbins makes it clear the Chargers aren’t done. I think that includes the draft.
Prediction: There’s a lot of smoke around the team’s interest in former Michigan player Blake Corum, and that could be valid. Either way, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Chargers look to get a running back in the third or fourth round.

Minnesota Vikings

On the Roster: Aaron Jones, Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, Myles Gaskin, and DeWayne McBride

About: The Vikings have gone through a lot of change in the past two years—and not just at running back. Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison are gone. The team saw Chandler flash some to end 2023 and added Jones on a one-year deal. That gives them options in 2024, so the team isn’t desperate. Arguably, their focus is more on quarterback at this point. But Jones is a one-year solution at this point, and the rest of the depth chart is questions and potential. That puts the Vikings in the market for a back.
Prediction: I think the Vikings will add to their backfield, but likely not before the fourth round.

New York Giants

On the Roster: Devin Singletary, Gary Brightwell, Eric Gray, and Deon Jackson

About: The Giants saw their backfield take a huge hit this off-season as Saquon Barkley moved to the Philadelphia Eagles. The team added Singletary—who played with Brian Daboll in Buffalo—on a modest contract. He’s going to be a factor and can be a big contributor. But beyond him, the depth isn’t great. The Giants will surely want more in the backfield.
Prediction: I think the Giants will snag playmakers in the draft and could make running back a priority. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them grab a back in the third Round.

Depth Needed

Buffalo Bills

On the Roster: James Cook, Ty Johnson, and Darrynton Evans

About: When the Bills shifted to a more run-heavy offense in 2023, the team improved. It was also a boon to those who roster Cook in fantasy. Cook is still there and figures to be the lead guy. But the Bills had both Latavius Murray and Leonard Fournette last season. While they brought back Johnson, a solid role player, and contributor, they could use more help. Could that come in the NFL Draft?
Prediction: I wouldn’t rule out the Bills using a pick on a back. I also think they’re a candidate to bring back a veteran goal-line option.

Kansas City Chiefs

On the Roster: Isaih Pacheco, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Keontay Ingram, La’Michal Perine, and Deneric Prince

About: On paper, the Chiefs have plenty of backs. The team has Pacheco as a lead back and brought back CEH on a one-year deal to provide depth. But will they be satisfied? Most of the rest of the guys on the depth chart are unproven, and CEH feels like a short-term depth play. Running back isn’t a glaring need, but the Chiefs could certainly use more options.
Prediction: I think the Chiefs are a candidate to grab a guy late in the draft, in the fifth round or later.

Las Vegas Raiders

On the Roster: Zamir White, Alexander Mattison, Ameer Abdullah, and Brittain Brown

About: The Raiders are an interesting team to watch in the running back market. They lost Josh Jacobs, but we saw White step up nicely down the stretch in 2023. The team also added Mattison, giving them a couple of options in the committee. It wouldn’t shock me to see them leave the draft without adding a running back. It also wouldn’t shock me to see them grab a good option early. It all depends on how the team views White.
Prediction: I think the Raiders will add a back in the fourth round to give themselves some options.

Los Angeles Rams

On the Roster: Kyren Williams, Ronnie Rivers, and Zach Evans

About: Williams was a huge breakout star in 2023. He looked great and like a great fit for the Rams. Williams is back and figures to be the lead back. The Rams also have a couple of young backs in Rivers and Evans, who could factor into their plans. But it’s still a thin roster group, and the Rams have used the draft—including late picks—to bolster the offense. Williams was a Fifth-Round selection, as was top receiver Puka Nacua. So, it would make sense for the team to go to the well again.
Prediction: The Rams will draft another option. I suspect it will be in the fourth or fifth round.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On the Roster: Rachaad White, Chase Edmonds, and Sean Tucker

About: White had a great 2023 season and figures to lead the backfield going into 2024, too. The team also brought back Edmonds to add depth and has an intriguing undrafted free agent from 2023 in Tucker. But it’s a thin room that’s unproven beyond White. That leaves the Buccaneers as a team that could use depth and options. Could the draft be the answer?
Prediction: With a tight cap situation, I feel like the draft is the ideal place for the Buccaneers to improve the roster. I could see that coming in the fourth or fifth round.

Wild Cards

Denver Broncos

On the Roster: Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, and Jaleel McLaughlin

About: The Broncos have three backs they used in 2023. All of them have some potential, but is any of them a great long-term fit? I want to believe in Williams, but his first year with Sean Payton was mixed. He and Perine are going into a contract year, while McLaughlin is an undrafted free agent. The Broncos have a lot of needs and likely will be looking to next off-season to make big, sweeping changes to the roster. But could they grab a back anyway?
Prediction: The Broncos have three fifth-round selections this year. I think they’ll use one on a back, just in case.

New York Jets

On the Roster: Breece Hall, Israel Abanikanda, and Xazavian Valladay

About: Hall is the man for the Jets, and as we saw in 2023, he can carry the full load. But the Jets entered 2023 with a lot of depth. With Dalvin Cook and Michael Carter no longer there, that depth is thin. Abanikanda was a later round selection in 2023, and it’s hard to believe a team like the Jets that’s all in on 2024 is content to leave him as the only real option behind Hall. I suspect the Jets could look to bolster the roster in the draft.
Prediction: I think the Jets could use another later pick, fourth or fifth-round, to grab some depth.

Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network

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