1. Zach Charbonnet, UCLA
Charbonnet transferred from Michigan to UCLA for his final two college seasons, and all he did was produce big in Chip Kelly’s offense. After running for 1,137 yards and 13 scores in 2021, he led the Pac-12 with 1,359 yards while finding paydirt 14 times last season. As a freshman in 2019, he had 11 rushing touchdowns for the Wolverines.
Perhaps most importantly in terms of how NFL teams envision him, Charbonnet had an uptick in production as a pass catcher last year (37 receptions for 321 yards). More broadly, he averaged more than eight yards per catch in both of his seasons at UCLA.
In the tier of running backs below Bijan Robinson, Charbonnet is an easy favorite for analysts. He posted a nice 8.71 Relative Athletic Score during Combine testing, showing athleticism that wasn’t necessarily gleaned as a strength for him.
The notion of the Lions drafting Charbonnet has a hint of wishful thinking to it, and there are teams who can give him a bigger role right out of the gate. But if Holmes is willing to use one of their second-round picks (No. 48 or No. 55) on a running back, Charbonnet should be in play.