Ezekiel Elliott’s fast success is a reminder that premium running backs can make a huge impact and are worth first-round selections.

The decline in salary for veteran running backs is hardly a new trend, but market forces are dramatically working against running backs this year.

As noted in Thursday’s winners and losers edition of the Debrief, the release of Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles adds to an already deep group of free-agent running backs. The Vikings can hold the line on paying Peterson like a superstar because they know the draft can supplement the depth chart.

“It’s one of the best running back classes in a long time,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.

Bengals Personnel Chief Duke Tobin agreed: “It’s an exciting year for that position. Not only at the top of the draft [but] in every round.”

Ezekiel Elliott’s fast success is a reminder that premium running backs can make a huge impact and are worth first-round selections. However, all of that talent arriving in April will keep prices low for big-name veterans in March.

Garrett said he planned to meet with the Browns later Saturday and will apologize for the social media clip that had him begging for the Dallas Cowboys to trade up with Cleveland at the top spot. Regardless if he goes first or not, Garrett understands it is more about what he does when he reaches the top level.

“Shows I’m top dog at least at the beginning,” Garrett answered when asked what it would mean if he is drafted first overall. “Once I’m in the NFL, I can’t just hang my hat on that, I have to keep rising.”

Alabama’s O.J. Howard nearly broke the 4.50 plateau himself, officially registering a 4.51-second time at a shade under 6-foot-6 and 261 pounds.

No disrespect to the new record-holder Ross, but these times are nearly as extraordinary given how much bigger these two pass-catchers are in comparison to the 188-pound Washington wide receiver. Howard is an obvious first-round pick and Miami’s David Njoku is likely to join him. Engram may have pushed himself into the top-32 mix with his eye-popping performance Saturday.15

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