Jun. 04, 2020
Most Talented Running Back Groups in the NFL
Even though running backs have become less valuable over the years, there's still value in carrying the rock. Just look at the San Franciso 49ers and Baltimore Ravens who had incredible success running the ball during the 2019 season. Both teams used the run game to win their divisions and get the number one seed in their respective conferences. So who has the most talented running backs?
The Cowboys rushed for 134.6 yards last season, which was 5th in the NFL. Ezekiel Elliot is obviously the star of the show. Last season, he rushed for 1,357 yards and 12 touchdowns. Elliot is one of the top backs in the NFL, but the reason the Cowboys make the list is Tony Pollard.
Pollard was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He gives the Cowboys a nice 1-2 punch with Elliot. In his rookie season, Pollard rushed for 455 yards on 5.3 yards per carry. The offense doesn't miss a beat with Pollard on the field. The Cowboys can now keep Elliot fresh for later in the season.
Although the Browns were outside the top ten in rushing yards (ranking 12th at 118.8 yards a game), not being higher in yards falls on the offensive line. The Browns 1-2 punch may be the best in the NFL. Stopping Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will be a chore for any NFL team. Chubb had an amazing 2019 NFL season; rushing for 1,494 yards on 5.0 yards per carry and 8 touchdowns. For Chubb to take the next jump, he'll need to improve in the passing game. When Chubb comes out, Hunt will come in.
Hunt didn't get a lot of playing time last season after being suspended most of the year, but expect him to get more action this season. Hunt only had 43 carries last year for 179 yards. The two previous seasons with the Chiefs, Hunt ran for a total of 2,151 yards and 15 touchdowns. Hunt also gives you good production in the passing game. He should be able to fill in on passing downs. I expect Hunt to be more involved in this gameplan this season.
San Franciso 49ers
The 49ers took their run-first offense all the way to the Super Bowl. The 49ers averaged 144.1 rushing yards per game, good enough for second in the NFL. The star power isn't what gets the 49ers on the list, it's their tremendous depth. Even with the trade of Matt Breida, the 49ers still have 3 to 4 capable running backs. Let's start with the lead back, Raheem Mostert. Mostert came on in a bit of a surprise, but man he was good. He ran for 772 yards and 8 touchdowns on 5.6 yards per carry. The efficiency was off the charts for Mostert. Backup Tevin Coleman also saw a fair number of carries last season. Coleman was less efficient than Mostert, but still solid. Coleman had 544 yards on 4 yards per carry.
But the 49ers aren't done yet: they also have Jerick McKinnon coming back from injury. McKinnon adds another dimension to this running back group. McKinnon has run for 1,918 yards and 7 touchdowns in four NFL seasons played. His biggest asset is his pass-catching ability. The last time McKinnon played an NFL season he had 51 catches. He'll be a matchup nightmare. Jeff Wilson Jr. is another good back for the 49ers, but due to the guys in front of him, he'll see limited action.
Who's your best NFL running back group?