Tre Madden, RB
Both Madden and Buck Allen will be eligible to jump to the NFL following the 2014 season. With the NFL turning more and more into a passing league and running backs being drafted later than ever with rapidly diminishing value given the tread on their tires, a big year out of Madden and/or Allen could prompt an early entry.
For the purposes of picking one more likely than the other, Madden is probably more likely, for two reasons.
One, he’s the more physical of the two backs, as a combo back that has the ability to run within the tackles in addition to being a valuable member of the passing game. Madden had 15 receptions and four receiving touchdowns in his first season as a running back last year, just one year removed from an ACL tear.
That knee injury, plus a lingering hamstring issue that cost him much of the second half of 2013 could linger as the second rationale for jumping early. Unlike any other position, it is for running backs to strike while the iron is hot when it comes to the draft. There’s not much in terms of draft stock that a solid senior season could do to improve upon a stellar junior season, should Madden have one.