David Seigerman

When Is The Right Time For Gordon To Go Pro?

Created on Nov. 10, 2013 8:53 AM EST

Over the past three drafts, no one has produced backs for the NFL draft like the Alabama backfield.

Mark Ingram was the first running back off the board in the 2011 draft. Trent Richarson was the first back selected in 2012, taken with the third overall pick. In the 2013 draft, Eddie Lacy was the fourth back selected, sliding to the end of the second round.

Alabama's recent run as the primary source of NFL running backs won't end in 2014 as much as it will take a hiatus. 

That's because T.J. Yeldon, the Tide's true sophomore tailback, is ineligible to leave. With the certain loss of A.J. McCarron and the rumors of Nick Saban's potential departure, the only thing Alabama fans can enjoy as much as Yeldon's 133-yard, two-touchdown performance against LSU is the knowledge that he'll be back in Tuscaloosa next season.

Which is great news for Alabama. Maybe not so much for Yeldon's eventual NFL career.

Instead of joining a 2014 draft class with very few fully rounded running backs, Yeldon could be part of the 2015 class -- which is shaping up to be a bumper crop of backs.

Yeldon would be eligible to come out in 2015. So is the guy he shared a field with last night, Jeremy Hill. And Miami's Duke Johnson, South Carolina's Mike Davis and both components of Georgia's two-headed backfield, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. And if the top underclass prospects eligible to come out this year come back instead -- Baylor's Lache Seastrunk, Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey, Washington's Bishop Sankey, Alabama State's Isaiah Crowell all have eligibility remaining -- imagine what a banner year 2015 would be for running backs.

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