Football season is slowly approaching. The sports world is in the slow part of the year where it’s really just baseball. NBA free agency was exciting but that has cooled down now. Here are my projections for the top 10 running backs going into next season.
Barkley rushed for over 1300 years and found the end zone 11 times. Enough to earn himself a pro bowl selection and the AP offensive rookie of the year. With the Giants most likely sticking with Eli under center, and Odell gone, Barkley is set up for another season of 300+ touches.
Zeke has had his fair share of off the field. But that doesn’t seem to affect his ability to destroy defenses. Zeke rushed for over 1400 yards last season but needs to find the end zone more than 6 times like he did last year. The Cowboys will have a full season with Amari Cooper, leading to a more balanced offense. And hopefully Zeke can eat with a healthy offensive line unlike last year.
Alvin Kamara has been an offensive weapon in the league. He benefits from the Saints strong passing game, both by receiving and less focus from the defense in the run game. With Mark Ingram no longer getting touches in New Orleans, Kamara is bound to get a lot of touches this season.
Bell should be plenty well rested after sitting out the season last year. He got a nice payday from the Jets and will most likely be seeing the ball more than anyone else on the team. The Jets offensive line is not as strong as the Steelers line was for Bell. But he is a smart runner and very talented. In a new, young system, Bell should strive, as long as there is no rust when he touches the field again.
If I had done this list last year, Gurley would have been my number 1 for sure. But with speculation about Gurley’s health stemming from last postseason, when he barely played in the Super Bowl. If Gurley has healed up this offseason, he will most likely see a decreased work load from last season. But Gurley is still an elite running back when healthy. And with Goff and Mcvay with another year under their belt should help Gurley and the Rams still play like the team that went to the Super Bowl.
Gordon is threatening to sit out this season if he doesn’t get the extension he feels he deserves. The Chargers offense was powerful last season, but Philip Rivers is not getting any younger, so the Chargers should pay the man because they will be nowhere as good as last season without him. In only 12 games last year, Gordon rushed for almost 900 yards. He deserves to get paid whether it’s by the Chargers or another team.
The Pats rookie rushed for for 930 yards in 13 games with 6 touchdowns and a productive postseason. With Tom Brady looking to keep playing, Michel will probably carry a hefty load to keep Brady from having to throw the ball too much. But Brady is still a weapon so teams won’t be able to key in either one of them. Michel will probably have some new faces on the offensive line but he should still be able to run the ball well.
David Johnson was a top running back in 2016, but injuries and a bad supporting cast have not helped him since. Hopefully the #1 overall pick in Kyler Murray and new head coach Kliff Kingsbury can help Johnson get back to his old self. Even with a down season, he still rushed for 940 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Cardinals are a little light in their wide receiver depth, so that might have defenses focusing on the run game a little more.
McCaffrey was an elite back last year. A real dual threat back for the Panthers. He can torch defenses with his speed and agility. His ability to catch the ball makes him almost a slot receiver, but he is still a tough running back to take down. With Cam Newtons shoulder being a potential problem, the Panthers could be running the ball, and running short passes for McCaffery.
The former Alabama back had a phenomenal second half of the season last year is a big strong back who can eat up big yardage when given the carries. The Titans will need to rely on Henry much more than Dion Lewis. Henry was looked at as a short yardage, power back when he came into the league. But last season he proved he can be a workhorse no matter what the situation. If given the opportunity he could enter his name into a top running back spot next year.
For a league that has become so pass happy and reliant, there a lot of good, young running backs in the league. There are quite a few guys who I left out of my list but I would have no problem if someone tried to argue them into the top 10. The league is just so deep right now at that position.