Over the years, there has been a decline in old football stars and the rise of new ones. Some shine brighter than the sun, whereas others may be overlooked or forgotten. The running back position has been one that has been belittled, demeaned, and relegated to the backseat of the NFL’s vehicle. Regardless, here is a list of the top five running backs in the NFL.
The 23-year-old was a beast in his rookie season as he helped lead his Jacksonville Jaguars to the AFC Championship. In his first year, in 13 games, he rushed for over 1,000 yards and had nine touchdowns, averaging 3.9 yards per rush. He really is a star on the rise and could help the Jags win the Super Bowl in the upcoming years.
The 26-year-old has been a force for the Arizona Cardinals. The 2015 86th overall pick has become quite the dark-horse player. In 2015, Johnson cracked just under 600 rushing yards in his rookie season, but just a year later, he doubled that and rushed for over 1,200 yards! He was even selected to the Pro Bowl and helped the Cards make it to the NFC Championship too. Although he had a season-ending injury derail him in the opening game last year, expect Johnson to be back and better than ever in 2018.
The 10th overall pick in the 2015 draft has done nothing but impress the entire league. In just his three NFL seasons, he’s managed to average 262 carries per year and ran for 3,296 in just three NFL seasons. He even helped the Los Angeles Rams to a division title as they won the NFC West. He is a star on the rise and has already made that very clear to the rest of the league after almost winning MVP a year ago.
The 22-year-old running back for the Dallas Cowboys has made quite the name for himself around the league. After shining bright in Ohio State, Elliott quickly fit in on the NFL level. In two years, he already has 22 rushing touchdowns. Elliott is sure to top his stats from last year as he does not have a suspension looming over him that could inhibit his ability to play a full 16-game schedule. The Cowboys, most specifically Dak Prescott, need Elliott’s ability to generate first downs and milk the clock as it takes pressure off the rest of the offense and defense. Elliott even showed versatility as a pass-catcher last year. If Elliott mirrors or plays better than he did as a rookie, the Cowboys could be a surprise contender in the NFC.
The 26-year-old Pittsburgh Steeler has built a huge reputation for himself around the NFL. In his five-year career, he’s managed to rush for over 5,000 yards and has a whopping 35 touchdowns. He had a career-high 321 rushes and had 85 catches. Despite there being rumors that he may not re-sign with the Steelers, any team would love to pick this guy up and add him to their roster should the situation in Pittsburgh escalate.
These running backs are some of the most transcendent in the game as they are changing the way teams look for backs when it is time to draft. It is a matter of time before all backs are expected to be triple-threats as passers, blockers, and runners.