Top 25 Running Backs in the NFL: Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson #1?
We previously posted NFL starting quarterback power rankings, 32 to 1. Today, we are rating the top 25 running backs in the NFL. Before reading, note that it is not a collection of pure runners, but the best football players who are listed as running backs (you’re welcome, Reggie Bush). Also, we did not list any rookies due to difficulties in comparing them to current RBs.
1. Chris Johnson: Undoubtedly the league’s fastest RB, Johnson edges out A.P. due to his home-run ability.
2. Adrian Peterson: “All Day” Peterson may be a more complete back than Johnson, but he is also more likely to break down.
3. Steven Jackson: In terms of pure talent, S-Jax is a beast. Think of what this guy would do on another squad.
4. Maurice Jones-Drew: MJD is quietly becoming the most consistent running back in the league. He literally does it all.
5. Ray Rice: Rice isn’t flashy, but he does everything really, really well.
6. DeAngelo Williams: Under-appreciated due to the presence of Jonathan Stewart, Williams can run inside and take it the distance.
7. Reggie Bush: We know we will get tons of flack for this selection, but this list is the top football players who are listed as a ‘running back.’ Bush has been labeled a bust, but that is more due to a mistake in perception about his role on offense than a lack of talent.
8. Jamaal Charles: Football is a young man’s game, and although Charles has little experience, he has shown big-time play-making ability.
9. Jonathan Stewart: The second half of the Carolina rushing attack is nearly as lethal as the first.
10. Ronnie Brown: Brown is constantly plagued by injuries, but when he does get on the field, he displays an incredible combination of speed and power.
11. Felix Jones: A “homer” pick? Perhaps, but Jones has done everything asked of him thus far in Dallas. He is poised for a breakout season.
12. Beanie Wells: In terms of pure running, Wells is one of the most talented running backs in the NFL. Devastating stiff arm.
13. Rashard Mendenhall: Mendenhall could very easily be in Dallas, but Cowboys fans are probably happy the team selected Jones.
14. Thomas Jones: Despite his age, Jones keeps himself in such good condition that he is able to produce year in and year out.
15. Darren Sproles: He is never given a legitimate opportunity due to his height, but the little man has produced in a big way everywhere he has been (high school, college, and pros).
16. LeSean McCoy: Unfortunately for ‘Boys fans, Shady McCoy is the real deal.
17. Steve Slaton: Slaton may not be able to single-handedly carry the load, but how many running backs really can?
18. Fred Jackson: If you haven’t seen Jackson play (which is likely), tune in to a Bills game. He’s more talented than you think.
19. Justin Forsett: Forsett is a poor man’s Brian Westbrook. Or is Westbrook now a poor man’s Justin Forsett?
20. Frank Gore: A LOT of people (as in everyone) have Gore rated higher than us, but production isn’t always the result of talent.
21. Michael Bush: Bush was named the starter at Oakland’s OTAs, and he is probably a better fit for early-down work than Darren McFadden.
22. Jerome Harrison: Harrison could actually put up some big numbers this season if he can hold off rookie Montario Hardesty.
23. Michael Turner: Turner is another player on which we are incredibly low. He reminds us of a less-talented Gore (yikes!).
24. Kevin Smith: Coming off knee surgery, Smith may not be able to regain what he once possessed. Only time will tell.
25. Shonn Greene: Greene may be poised for a huge season, but the New York backfield has suddenly become quite crowded.