Top 20 Running Backs

by Eric Stashin & Felipe Dominguez

1.      LaDainian Tomlinson – San Diego Chargers
2.      Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings
3.      Brian Westbrook – Philadelphia Eagles
4.      Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams
5.      Joseph Addai – Indianapolis Colts
6.      Frank Gore – San Francisco 49′ers
7.      Clinton Portis – Washington Redskins
8.      Marshawn Lynch – Buffalo Bills
9.      Larry Johnson – Kansas City Chiefs
10. Marion Barber – Dallas Cowboys
11. Willis McGahee – Baltimore Ravens
12. Ryan Grant – Green Bay Packers
13. Willie Parker – Pittsburgh Steelers
14. Jamal Lewis – Cleveland Browns
15. Reggie Bush – New Orleans Saints
16. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars
17. Laurence Maroney – New England Patriots
18. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons
19. Rudi Johnson – Cincinnati Bengals
20. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders

Just Missed: Edgerrin James, Arizona Cardinals; Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants; Fred Taylor, Jacksonville Jaguars; Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Thomas Jones, New York Jets; LenDale White, Tennessee Titans

Notes:

  • After only getting 158 carries last season due to injury, look for Larry Johnson to rebound to the back who rushed for consecutive 1,700+ yard seasons in 2005 & 2006.  If he slips to you in your draft, we’d be awfully excited if we were you.  We could see some people passing on him, but we believe he’s going to be the same back that he once was.
  • Ryan Grant didn’t do much early on, but once he got his chance to run he made the most of it, with 5 100-yard games.  With Brett Favre off in New York, look for the Packers to give Grant more carries and therefore more production.  He has the potential to be a Top 10 back, so a second or third round pick with him seems like a potential steal.
  • With Dominick Rhodes and LaMont Jordan released, the Raiders didn’t draft McFadden to have him sit around and watch the action.  He’s going to see the bulk of the carries, in our estimation, and could provide a similar impact to Adrian Peterson.  He’s a risky proposition, still, since he’s a rookie, so don’t draft him ahead of some of the more established veterans.
  • Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor continue to split carries, which doesn’t help either players value.  If Jones-Drew were to get the bulk of the carries, he’d most likely become one of the top 10 options on draft day.
  • Michael Turner has played second fiddle to LaDanian Tomlinson for long enough.  After having signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons, he will finally get a chance to take the bulk of the carries.  Some will gamble on him early, thinking that he will be able to duplicate the numbers he posted as a reserve.  We think he’ll be great, but we are not sure that’s going to happen.  We wouldn’t take him in the first round, but the second seems appropriate.
  • After he struggled in his rookie season, LenDale White broke out last season with an 1,100 yard campaign.  Look for him to follow up on his season and improve on his 3.7 yard/carry average.
  • How will LaMont Jordan’s addition to the New England backfield affect Laurence Maroney’s value?  Significantly, we would think.  It’s not like Maroney had a huge season in ’07-’08, playing in 13 games, but getting just 185 carries (which yielded 835 yards).  If the team gave him 300 carries, he has the potential to be one of the premier backs, but he plays on a deep team with Tom Brady calling the signals.  That is going to hurt his chances of being among the elite.
  • We all expected more from Reggie Bush in his second season, didn’t we?  Just 581 yards rushing in 12 games?  He’s a dynamic back, and we all know it, so we are expecting him to put things all together this season.
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One comment

  1. [...] Those RB’s all have plenty of upside, but let’s use Clinton Portis for this discussion, since he was the RB ranked #7 on our Top 20 rankings (which you can view by clicking here).  [...]

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