By: NFL Heads
In today’s piece, we are going to explore the running back situation of each team, and rank how strong we believe they are. While this piece will take injury concerns into account, current injuries that players might have will not influence their rank.
- New Orleans Saints: Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray, Dwayne Washington
Kamara is the best running back in the NFL, and Murray is not a bad choice to back him up. If I was a GM who got to choose any running back room to start with, I would pick the Saints in a second.
- Green Bay Packers: Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, AJ Dillon
Jones and Williams make one of the best tandems in the league at the moment, and AJ Dillon is a great player to develop behind them. Jones and Williams are the best combination in the league.
- Tennessee Titans: Derrick Henry, Jeremy McNichols, Khari Blasingame
Derrick Henry is one of the most unstoppable forces in the NFL, and best of all he poses no injury concerns. Even though people will honk about depth, I do not believe that to be an issue, Jeremy McNichols is a CRAZY underrated talent at running back, but I will admit I have no clue who Khari Blasingame is.
- Baltimore Ravens: Mark Ingram, JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards
Ingram has been a solid player for half a decade, and JK Dobbins has shown potential to one day take over the Ingram role. Gus Edwards has also had games where he pops off. If you are looking for the most depth in an RB core, Baltimore would definitely be on the list.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Le’Veon Bell, Damien Williams
You guys think this is high? Not so. CEH looks like a monster, when Damien Williams is in you could argue that he is a viable starter, and just look at Le’Veon Bell. If you think he maxed out of his potential after Pittsburgh, just remember the team that he was starting for, the New York Jets. If there is any team that can revive Bell, count on it being the Chiefs.
- Cleveland Browns: Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb, Dontrell Hilliard
Injuries and off the field concerns respectively are issues for this core, but at full strength Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb are definitely in the conversation for the best running back core in the entire NFL, and both have tremendous potential.
- Minnesota Vikings: Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Michael Boone
I initially had the Vikings lower because of injury concerns and because I am not sold on Mattison, but I could not go through with it. Cook may be an injury concern, but he is the third best running back in the league behind Henry and Kamara.
- Los Angeles Chargers: Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley, Justin Jackson
There is no better team than the Chargers at developing their running back talent, no matter who they have in there it seems like they can make them a star. Keep in mind, all of these players play very meaningful snaps when healthy, and this core consists of a fourth round pick, seventh round pick, and an undrafted player.
- Los Angeles Rams: Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown, Cam Akers
The reason that the Rams’ running backs are terrible fantasy options is because Sean McVay has devised one of the best rotational back systems we have ever seen. Henderson has looked great this year coming off of an OK rookie year, Brown looks mostly the same, and Akers looks like he can play well in the Rams’ system.
- Las Vegas Raiders: Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard, Devontae Booker
Jacobs is a rising star in the NFL, but I worry a lot about depth, especially with a coach who even with their recent success I still feel is unproven. Is it possible Jalen Richard can fill in the number two role in the event of an emergency? Possible, but unlikely.
- San Francisco 49ers: Raheem Mostert, Jerick McKinnon, Jeff Wilson
This is more of a testament to the fact that Kyle Shanahan is one of the best coaches in NFL history, but the 49ers can make any of their running backs good. Tevin Coleman and JaMycal Hasty also play meaningful snaps and they didn’t even make the top 3 list.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Mixon, Gio Bernard, Samaje Perine
Giovani Bernard is one of the best backups in the league, and Mixon plays like a badass when he is healthy. Big when. Let’s just say I am not trusting a rotational backfield with Bernard and Samaje Perine.
- Seattle Seahawks: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Carlos Hyde
All three of these players are some of my favorite players, but none of them can stay healthy to save their lives, or their teams for that matter. The Seahawks are trying (and weirdly succeeding) to boost their run game with a human named DeeJay Dallas.
- Denver Broncos: Phillip Lindsay, Melvin Gordon, Royce Freeman
Lindsay and Gordon are two backs who desperately need to prove their worth, and Freeman, while good, is not a viable starting option. This Broncos running game has potential to be among the best but they need to show us something.
- Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, Mike Davis, Trenton Cannon
McCaffrey is an injury concern, and Mike Davis is one of the worst backup running backs in the league, so I’d say that the Panthers are in trouble to a certain degree. As with the Niners, their moderate success is due to coaching.
- Miami Dolphins: Myles Gaskin, Matt Breida, Jordan Howard
Wait.. Who is Myles Gaskin? Yeah, I didn’t really know either, but he is a seventh round pick from 2019 who has ascended to the starting role, and taken over the role that was originally planned for Jordan Howard and Matt Breida, and he has taken the mantle well.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Corey Clement
Sanders is also a huge injury concern, and I am not sure that I am sold on Scott and Clement as viable backups. The Eagles need to make sure that they are set as far as depth is concerned, and possibly look in the draft or free agency to get some more talent.
- Chicago Bears: David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, Ryan Nall
Nall is terrible, and Cohen and Montgomery are huge injury risks. The big difference here is that Montgomery is extremely underrated as the dominant back in Chicago. The Bears need to get better depth, but they have a lot of untapped talent in Montgomery.
- Indianapolis Colts: Jonathan Williams, Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hynes
Williams has been a great talent in Indianapolis, but does not look quite ready yet. Unfortunately, Mack is injured and Nyheim Hines will not be the future lead back in Indianapolis. There is hope for development, but right now they are not ready.
- Buffalo Bills: Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, TJ Yeldon
This is more due to the confusion of taking carries away from Singletary, who looked like one of the best rookies in the league last year, but that is exactly what they have done. I would like to see Singletary get the ball more in Buffalo, and then maybe the Bills running game will improve.
- New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, Devonta Freeman, Dion Lewis
Barkley is a massive injury concern and Devonta Freeman never looked the same after his leg injury. After that, Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman lead one of the most boring running back cores in the league.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: James Conner, Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels
Conner has never been the same since he took over for Le’Veon Bell in the 2018 season, and they need Conner to come back because Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels are not the answer at backup.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette, LeSean McCoy
Jones and Fournette have looked strong at times this year, but Jones has a lot to prove and you never know whether you are going to get good Leonard or bad Leonard. After that, LeSean McCoy has fizzled out and is more of a weak insurance policy at this point.
- Atlanta Falcons: Todd Gurley, Brian Hill, Ito Smith
Gurley is not playing on his best set of legs, and is not likely to get benched for Brian Hill anytime soon, but that is not to say that he shouldn’t. Hill has looked strong as the number 2 back, and I think it would be worth it to try him out and see if he can succeed.
- Dallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, Rico Dowdle
Elliott has been nothing less than wildly disappointing this year, and McCarthy is stubbornly not starting Tony Pollard in his place. This year’s disappointment really brings into light that Elliott is a product of the best offensive line in football, and that is blowing up in their face.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: James Robinson, Dare Ogunbowale, Chris Thompson
The Jaguars look like they have something in Robinson, who has really had some great games in Jacksonville, but he still has not proven that he is the undisputed lead back, and Dare Ogunbowale and Chris Thompson are not viable options.
- Arizona Cardinals: Kenyan Drake, Chase Edmonds, Jonathan Ward
Drake has been one of the most disappointing players of 2019, and the Cardinals have not begun to start Chase Edmonds, which is a mistake. Edmonds had some great games in 2019, and has massive potential for 2020, and the Cardinals need to start him.
- Houston Texans: David Johnson, Duke Johnson, Buddy Howell
Hmm, maybe getting David Johnson in place of arguably the best WR in football wasn’t a good idea, but I’m just a writer what do I know. Anyway, both Johnsons have not performed well in 2020 and Buddy Howell is not a running back that is going to show much progress or growth
- Detroit Lions: D’Andre Swift, Adrian Peterson, Kerryon Johnson
This isn’t necessarily the worst core ever, but it’s extremely directionless. All of these players are just barely not good enough to be starters, and none of them look like they have their organization behind them. This Lions team needs to have a more established running game.
- Washington Football Team: Antonio Gibson, Peyton Barber, JD McKissic
The Washington Football Team looks awful, and the running back core is no exception. We are still waiting for Bryce Love to become healthy, Antonio Gibson looks OK but he is an injury concern, Barber is not a viable option at starter, and McKissic is much more of a special teams player. This core needs a solid starter desperately.
- New England Patriots: Damien Harris, Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead
It feels weird to put the Patriots even close to last in anything, but this running back room definitely deserves it. Damien Harris and Sony Michel are both overrated, and both have long injury histories. Rex Burkhead has about three good games every year and then goes silent. But even with this lackluster team, there is still one that is much worse.
- New York Jets: Frank Gore, LaMichal Perine, Ty Johnson
The Jets, how surprising that they can’t figure out anything at all including their running back room. Don’t get me wrong, Frank Gore is one of my favorites, but he is old and cannot be relied on as a starter. Perine is a rookie who needs lots of help, and the Jets poached Johnson off the streets a couple weeks ago. The Jets are depressing at running back, just like everywhere else, and I would not expect Perine or Johnson to develop into anything even remotely exciting while they are on this talent poor roster.