Top 5 RBs Heading Into 2020
After ranking the top five quarterbacks, we decided to move on to the neighboring position in the backfield, the running backs. In recent years, running backs have been devalued by teams and general managers as the league shifts towards pass-happy offenses. This has forced running backs to become every down players and able to do everything for their offenses. Our list reflects the changes the game has seen and specifically the running back position.
We asked every host of a podcast and every writer on the blog platform to send us their list of top running backs. After receiving the individual rankings, we scored every running back based on the rankings. While some of the people we asked in the survey refused to comment, the majority of the RTF members gave us their rankings allowing us to have a clear and unbiased result. Below are our top five running backs.
5. Alvin Kamara
Alvin Kamara has been one of the most elusive backs since entering the league in 2017. After splitting reps with Mark Ingram his first two seasons, Kamara emerged as the New Orleans Saints number one back as he displayed his ability to do it all. Kamara is entering a contract season which means many can expect him to have one of his best seasons yet in hopes to become one of the highest paid running backs in the NFL.
4. Derrick Henry
Derrick Henry was on a completely different level at the end of last season. After rushing for 549 yards in the month of December to capture the rushing title with 1,540 rushing yards on the season, Henry carried the Titans to upset victories over the Patriots and top seeded Ravens. Henry may not be the most complete back but is regarded as the best in terms of his rushing ability, Henry is bigger than most defensive players at 6’3 and 247 and when he gets to the second level he has the ability to outrun most defenses, making Henry incredibly difficult to stop. The big season for Henry gave him the hefty contract in the off-season that will keep him in Tennessee for years to come.
3. Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley had a Sophomore slump as he battled injuries and bad games throughout the season. However, the bad year doesn’t waiver our opinion on Barkley as he is one of the most exciting and explosive running backs in the NFL. Saquon Barkley has become the New York Giants best offensive player in recent years as he has proven his ability in the running game, receiving game and even blocking game. Saquon looks to continue to establish himself as one of the best in our era and possibly of all-time (the comparisons to Barry Sanders are eye-opening).
2. Ezekiel Elliott
Ezekiel Elliott has been consistently one of the best running backs since entering the league in 2016. Elliott has year in and year out given the Cowboys one of the best running attacks in the league and has made the Cowboys offense one of the best at the same time. Elliott has shown no signs of slowing down and looks to help guide the Cowboys to the NFC Championship game and even the Super Bowl this season.
1. Christian McCaffrey
Christian McCaffrey wasn’t just the best offensive player in the Panthers offense, he was the Panthers offense. McCaffrey has become the best running back and one of the best offensive players in the NFL as he was able to have 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards last season and finished as one of the NFL MVP candidates despite Carolina’s abysmal season. With the Panthers bringing in Matt Rhule as their head coach and Joe Brady as their offensive coordinator, expect the new college-style offense that the Panthers will run on offense to involve McCaffrey even more this upcoming season and expect him to continue to be the most explosive back in the NFL.
Honorable Mentions (all the running backs that received at least one vote):
Nick Chubb, Joe Mixon, Austin Ekeler, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Dalvin Cook, and Miles Sanders