NFL

J-Ross’ Top-10 NFL Running Backs

Sep 1, 2021, 2:41 PM | Updated: 2:42 pm
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 06: Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints pushes offsides Ricardo ...
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

It’s time for another list.

Lists are made to be made fun of, poked at, argued with or even agreed upon. Here goes another attempt at a top-10 list, and today I look at the best running backs in the NFL.

This position is valuable to an offense on a weekly basis but teams cycle through these guys quite a bit. Injury, age and contract demands make the running back depth chart a revolving door for most teams.

If you have a good one that is young, treat them well, compensate them well and feed them the ball.

10. Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys – Zeke is a tough one to figure out. He may not belong in the top 10 but he also could have a rebound year and vault right back up here.

He is just 26 but does have quite a bit of mileage. Zeke didn’t shine last year when Dak went out. With a full compliment of talent around him, this feels like a year where Elliott will need to find his groove again.

9. Austin Ekeler – Los Angeles Chargers – Ekeler is coming off an injury filled 2020 but his dual threat ability makes him one of the better backs in the league. He runs less than some of the others on the top 10 but his touches are just as much because of his pass catching ability.

8. Josh Jacobs – Las Vegas Raiders – Jacobs has always been good and should be again this season. It feels like the Raiders could utilize him even more. He is productive, reliable and ready to go for a big 2021.

7. Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – Jones production the last couple of seasons earned him a big contract in the offseason. Jones capitalizes on all the focus that goes to Aaron Rodgers. Jones is also a dual threat and really thrives in the Green Bay offense.

6. Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns – Power and speed and the ability to run between the tackles or get outside on the edges. Chubb has really blossomed in Cleveland even while sharing carries with Kareem Hunt. With all the Browns weapons, Chubb should continue to rack up stats in 2021.

5. Saquon Barkley – New York Giants – No doubt he can be special but can he stay healthy? Barkley needs to become more reliable in the health department. If he does, the potential is limitless. Barkley has all the traits you want in a number-one running back.

4. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – The top 4 feels like it’s own tier. Those outside this tier have the chance to jump into this group but this top 4 is special. Kamara is patient and glides as a runner.

He makes it look easy and maybe for him it is. He runs just enough to be a major threat, but Sean Payton uses him brilliantly as a pass catcher. Saints should count on another big year from Kamara.

3. Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings – Now healthy again, Cook has been able to be that dual threat running back that everyone is looking for. A great runner of the ball but also very good catching out of the backfield. Minnesota relies on him a lot and he rarely disappoints.

2. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – Just 3 games last season should penalize you more but that is how talented McCaffrey is. If he stays healthy he should track another 1,000 yard rushing season along with 1,000 yards receiving.

He is listed as a running back but he reminds you of the NBA where they talk about it being position-less. McCaffrey can play a lot of spots, be used in multiple situations and in 2019 scored more around the goal line. He can do it all.

1. Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – Seeing Henry run straight out you must be frightening for defensive players. He is so big, but don’t sleep on his speed.

Henry is the combo of speed and power and add in production. Henry isn’t the receiving threat of other backs but he isn’t invisible there. On the other hand he is a running back by definition and a couple of running titles in a row with over 2,000 yards last season place him at the top spot on our list.

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