Top 10: Running Backs
Just missed the cut
Ezekiel Elliott- Just like the rest of the Dallas Cowboys, 2020 has been a struggle for Zeke. He is in the top 10 in the league in rushing yards, but has only 5 rushing touchdowns on the year. Zeke has struggled with ball security as well, fumbling 5 times already on the season. In late game situations, the Cowboys have looked to backup Tony Pollard instead of the former league leader. I'm still a fan of Elliott and I think he has a lot of football left in him, look for a bounce back season in 2021.
James Robinson- Robinson is 3rd in the league in rushing with over 1,000 yards already in his rookie campaign while scoring 7 rushing touchdowns. The knock on Robinson is that he plays on a 1-12 Jacksonville Jaguars team. Even with the team struggles, watch for Robinson to become a star in the league over the next few years.
Kenyan Drake- The former Alabama running back is having a career year in Arizona this season. While being overshadowed by QB Kyler Murray and WR Deandre Hopkins in the Cardinals offense, Drake is on pace to have his first career 1000 yard season and double digit touchdown runs. It will be interesting to see what teams will be bidding for the veterans service next season as his contract in Arizona expires at the end of the year. Drake could help a contender get to the next step.
Saquan Barkley- I believe Saquan, when healthy, is the best back in the league. The reason he didn't make this list is simply because of his season ending injury. He seems to be on track with his recovery and should be a huge boost to the Giants back field next season. Also, does he have the biggest calves in history?
10. J.K. Dobbins
Coming into 2020 it was tough to see where Dobbins would fit into the crowded Ravens backfield. Not only do the Ravens have Veteran RB Mark Ingram and downhill rusher Gus Edwards, they also have QB Lamar Jackson who ran for over 1,200 yards last season. As the season has progressed, the emergence of J.K. has been noticeable. Dobbins now ranks 4th of all running backs in yards per carry and has become the premier back in Baltimore. The rookie looks to be the running back of the future in Baltimore and will play a large part in the Ravens push to the playoffs this season.
9. Kareem Hunt
The Browns offense is stacked. Not only does Cleveland have the best offensive line in the NFL, they may also have the best backfield in the league. Hunt would be the #1 running back on just about every other team in the league. The 4th year rusher now sits inside the top 10 in yards and was huge for the Browns when Nick Chubb missed three games to injury. Hunt signed a 2-year extension with the team earlier this season tying him to the franchise through 2022. Browns fans can look forward to the backfield continuing to give AFC defenses headaches for years.
8. Ronald Jones
While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been inconsistent this season, the play of Ronald Jones cannot be questioned. The former USC Trojan is projected over 1,100 yards and has shown his explosiveness on the field this season. Jones ran for the longest play in Tampa Bay history, a 98 yard house call against the Panthers in week 11. The Bucs will look to lock up the top rusher to a extension sooner rather than later as he enters the final year of his contract.
7. Aaron Jones
The Packers don't sign offensive weapons. They continually surround QB Aaron Rodgers with late round draft picks and undrafted pass catchers. In the past, Rodgers has had his best seasons when he has a power running game that allows him to run play-action and throw down the field. Aaron Jones is providing the Packers just that this year. Jones is projected over 1,000 yards rushing and has over 10 total touchdowns on the season so far. If the packers offense can keep Aaron Jones and the rushing game hot, they will have the best chance to win the NFC.
6. Alvin Kamara
At one point this season, the chances of the dual-threat running back earning MVP honors were discussed. Since then, Kamara has had an up and down season. The former 3rd round pick has yet to have a 100 yard rushing game this season, but he now has 10 rushing touchdowns to go with his 4 receiving touchdowns. Kamara had a chance to have over 1,000 yards receiving this year if it wasn't for his struggles since QB Drew Brees went down with injury. Over his last 4 games, Kamara has just over 50 receiving yards and 0 touchdowns. Look for Kamara to bounce back in the coming weeks with the return of Brees, the Saints will need Kamara to play big if they have want any chance of making it all the way in the crowded NFC.
5. Josh Jacobs
If it wasn't for Kyler Murray, Josh Jacobs would have taken home Offensive Rookie of the Year last season. Jacobs was great last season and is following it up with an equally as good 2020. Jacobs is projected over 1,100 yards for the second season in a row and has shown growth in his receiving capabilities. He's going to double his catches out of the backfield from last season and has come up big on 3rd down countless times for the Raiders. In the coming years, Jacobs will be challenging for the top running back in the entire league.
4. Christian McCaffrey
I know I'm not supposed to add injured backs to this list and I know McCaffrey has only played 3 games this season but........Christian McCaffrey is so fun to watch. He is the entire Panthers offense. He seems to catch every pass and every run has a chance to go all the way. No matter how much attention he commands from the defense, he still seems to be the best player on the field every week. And you can admit it, you haven't watched a Panthers game since McCaffrey was injured. Nobody has, but you will be watching when he comes back.
3. Nick Chubb
The other half of the feared Cleveland backfield is Nick Chubb. Chubb has been dominant this season. Even with missing 4 games to injury, Chubb is in the top 5 in rushing yards in the league. He also ranks second in the league, behind Derrick Henry, in rushes of 20 yards or more. Chubb and his great offensive line sit 3rd in the league in total rushing and lead the league in 300+ yard games. Chubb's average of 5.9 yards per carry lead the league and he now has five 110+ yard rushing games. It will be tough for Chubb to move up in the rankings considering he splits snaps with other top 10 back Kareem Hunt, but when he has the football good things happen for the Cleveland Browns.
2. Dalvin Cook
The top two running backs in the league have really separated themselves from the rest of the pack. In the 2 spot is Vikings back Dalvin Cook. What a season Cook is having. 1,352 rushing yards, 14 rushing touchdowns, 37 catches, 350 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown all while only playing 12 games. Without Cook, the Vikings would be a 2 win football team. Luckily for Vikings fans, the team locked up the pro bowler to a 5-year extension keeping him with the Vikings through the 2025 season. I see Dalvin Cook battling as the leagues leading rusher for the foreseeable future.
1. Derrick Henry
Was there any question who #1 would be? How could it not be the leagues leading rusher Derrick Henry? Ill be honest, I think the lateral movement and agility of Derrick Henry is over rated. He runs straight up and ugly. But man is he hard to tackle. Every time I see a defensive back make contact with the 250+ lb back my head hurts. He's a tank. As I see the weather getting colder and the Titans round into form, I wonder who is going to stop him. Last week against the Jaguars, Jacksonville's defense was making business decisions. They decided it wasn't even worth trying to tackle Henry as he ran for 215 yards and 2 touchdowns. As long as Ryan Tannehill doesn't make any mistakes, Henry and the Titans will be a tough out in the playoffs.