It seems running backs are under-valued these days, and they really shouldn’t be. For example, does anybody think the Titans could have been a playoff team the last couple of years without Derrick Henry? So today, we are going to rank the top 10 running backs heading into the 2021 season.
10) Joe Mixon
Poor Joe Mixon doesn’t have a chance should no longer apply as the Bengals have upgraded the offensive line, and the weapons at the skill positions should be as good as almost any team in the league. I look for Mixon to have a breakout season in 2021.
9) Saquon Barkley
Barkley’s first two seasons were off the charts as he accumulated 3,469 yards from scrimmage and 23 touchdowns, with two different QBs in his first two seasons. We all know that Barkley should be at worst in the top 3, but his biggest enemy may prove to be his own body.
8) Josh Jacobs
Without the help of a dominant passing game, Jacobs has still rushed for over 1,000 yards each of his first two seasons. Jacobs has scored 19 touchdowns in his first two seasons and has accumulated over 400 receiving yards in those two seasons.
7) Aaron Jones
Jones bet on himself last year and struck gold with a 4-year, 48 million dollar reward. He accumulated over 1400 total yards and eleven touchdowns. What was even more impressive was his 5.5 yards per carry average.
6) Ezekial Elliott
Elliott in 2017 and 2018 was the best back in the league, but the last two years have been difficult for Elliott. He had the worst season of his career in 2020 and was still only seven rushing yards away from being in the top 10, statistically — something to keep in mind here. However, the Cowboys look to be trending up with a healthy Dak Prescott, and if that happens, Elliot could find himself in the top 3 again.
5) Dalvin Cook
If it weren’t for so many injury issues, he would rank a little higher. A torn ACL and hamstring issues hampered his first two seasons, but that all changed last year as he ran for 1,557 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns en route to 1.918 yards from scrimmage and 17 total touchdowns while averaging 5.0 yards per handoff. If he is healthy this season, I expect next year at this time for him to rank top 3.
4) Alvin Kamara
Critics at the start of Kamara’s NFL career doubted if he could be the main back without help. So will; he has answered that question resoundingly as he has averaged 1,541 yards from scrimmage over his first four years in the NFL. He is a do-everything back, and now the question will be, can he do everything without Dree Brees?
3) Nick Chubb
Chubb, in his first year as a starter, exploded on the scene. The former second-round pick rushed for 1,494 rushing yards (1,772 from scrimmage) and emerged as one of the top five best running backs in all of football. Is this rating a little premature? Maybe, but I really think that Chubb is just that good.
McCaffery is so good that he may be number one on this list if an injury would not have sidelined him. He is truly a do-everything back, and he proved it in 2019. He’s as much of a wide receiver as he is a running back (and they paid him as such). However, he’s still very much the latter, racking up rushing yards and rushing touchdowns at a blistering pace. His 2,392 yards from scrimmage (and 19 touchdowns) in 2019 was downright disrespectful to opposing defenses.
1) Derrick Henry
After last season there can be no doubt who is number one. Henry is at his best when it matters the most. In the playoffs following the 2019 season, he rushed for an eye-popping 182 yards and 195 yards, respectively, in the upsets over the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens, on the road… and with both teams throwing the kitchen sink at him. Last season Henry was at his most dominant rushing for a monstrous 2,027 yards with 17 rushing touchdowns while averaging an eye-popping 126.7 yards per game in the process.