First Running Back Selected NFL Draft Predictions & Odds 2021

Running Back Selected

  • The favorite to snag this prop bet is talented Clemson running back Travis Etienne
  • Best not to count on CFP Champion Najee Harris of the Alabama Crimson Tide
  • Chubba Hubbard of Oklahoma State is our under-the-radar long shot selection

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First Running Back Selected Odds

Odds taken 27 April, 2021 from DraftKings Sportsbook

Player/University Odds
Najee Harris, Alabama -167
Travis Etienne, Clemson +150
Javonte Williams, North Carolina +500
Trey Sermon, Oklahoma/OSU +4000
Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis +5000
Michael Carter, North Carolina +5000
Chubba Hubbard, Oklahoma State +5000

Odds from DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or check out more offers and promo codes for the best online sportsbooks.

First Running Back Selected Predictions and Picks

Travis Etienne’s quickness gives him the ability to tear up the field and avoid tacklers, which makes him a sure bet for this one.


Travis Etienne (+150)

How to Watch NFL Draft 2021/2022

NFL Draft Information
What NFL Draft 2021/2022
Where Cleveland, OH
When Thu, April 29 thru Sat May 1, 2021
How to watch NFL Network / ESPN

Favorites to Win

Travis Etienne, Clemson

This 2x Consensus All-American and 2x ACC Player of the Year is the favorite running back to be selected first in the upcoming NFL Draft, the 5’ 10” 205-pound rusher, and receiver a College Football Playoff (CFP) Champion and MVP (2018).

In his four years launching out of Clemson’s backfield, Etienne ran the ball 686 times for almost 5,000 yards and 14 touchdowns along with 102 receptions for just over 1150 yards and 8 touchdowns, a dual-threat that should attract the attention of some NFL franchises.

One mock draft has Etienne going to the world champion Buccaneers with the last pick of the first round, another has him going to the Jets with the 23rd overall pick, and not surprisingly, some mocks don’t have any running backs being selected in the first round at all.

Najee Harris, Alabama

Anyone who caught the 2021 CFP National Championship game already knows this 6’ 2” 230-pound dual-threat, a 2x CFP Champion, and the SEC Championship Game MVP (2020)

In his four years helping to power the Crimson Tide, Harris posted 638 carries for 3,843 yards and 46 touchdowns while also catching 80 balls for 781 yards and 11 touchdowns, showing soft hands and the ability to hit potential tacklers hard.

Most mock drafts right now have Harris going somewhere in the second round, but one serious sports writer not only has Najee going in the first round to the Dolphins with the 21st overall pick, but he also has him getting selected before Etienne.

Javonte Williams, North Carolina

This 2020 PFF First-Team All-American and ACC Player of the year played for three seasons in NC and was named to the 2020 Pro Football Focus First-Team All-American at the running back position.

Williams had his best season in 2020 when he ran the ball 157 times in eleven games for 1,140 yards and 19 touchdowns while also catching 25 balls for 305 yards and 3 more touchdowns, versatility that should translate at the professional level.

One mock draft has Williams going to the Miami Dolphins in the second round with the 50th overall selection.

No Chance to Win

All due respect to these two talented running backs, they just lacked the press, the exposure, and the stats required to catch the early eye of the NFL scouts and have little to no chance to win this particular prop bet.

Trey Sermon, Oklahoma/OSU

This kid transferred to Ohio State as a graduate student and helped the Buckeyes make it to the 2021 CFP National Championship, though the team did not fare well against Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide, losing that one 24-52.

With OSU, Sermon averaged 8 yards per carry and with 84 attempts was able to record 675 yards on the ground and 3 touchdowns, proving to be a hard-hitting runner with the speed to take it to the house now and again.

Chubba Hubbard, Oklahoma State – this Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year averaged almost 6 yards per carry over his three-year college career at Oklahoma State, ending up with 585 total carries for 3,459 yards and 33 touchdowns along with 53 receptions for 479 yards and 3 more touchdowns.

Being a dual-threat out of the backfield is all the rage in today’s NFL, so expect Hubbard to get picked up at some point in this draft, the 6-foot 207-pounder also active in his support of the Black Lives Matter movement, a multi-dimensional talent that should make pro scouts take notice.

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Mike Lukas

Expert on NFL

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]