Ranking The Top 5 Rookie Running Backs Of 2013 NFL Season
Top 5 Rookie Running Backs in the NFL
The running back position is definitely one of the trickiest in the NFL. While some general managers believe that running backs are a dime a dozen, others stand firm in saying that it's easily the most important spot on the field. Either way, there's no denying that any great team in the NFL must have at least a solid running game. For instance, the resurgence of Knowshon Moreno is a big reason why the Denver Broncos stand atop the AFC.
However, many Broncos fans would have rather seen rookie Montee Ball emerge as Denver's No. 1 guy in the backfield, but that just hasn't happened. And let's be honest; learning pass-protection schemes as a rookie is difficult enough let alone doing so for a Peyton Manning-led offense! Luckily, Ball has shown some flashes as of late and has four touchdowns to his name. However, for every semi-disappointment like Ball there is a first-year stud like Zac Stacy.
The St. Louis Rams used a sixth-round pick (160) on Stacy this April while Ball was a second-round snag (58) that had more expectations that nearly every single running back selected before him. Prior to Week 15, Stacy had outplayed Ball significantly with 721 rush yards to Ball's 456. Needless to say, there are plenty of exceptional rookie running backs that have done just as well if not better than Stacy.
No. 5: Andre Ellington
Andre Ellington is No. 5 on this list, but he was actually the 17th running back taken in the 2013 NFL draft. That is just ridiculous considering the Arizona Cardinals' rookie currently has 264 receiving yards on the season. A total speedster, Ellington is incredible to watch as he's good for at least one 20+ yard play just about every single game. However, injuries forced Ellington down this list as the rookie still needs to prove he can last an entire season.
No. 4: Zac Stacy
The St. Louis Rams won big with the Zac Stacy pick. Who would have thought that Steven Jackson's replacement would be a fifth-round pick? Even still, Stacy has burst onto the scene with a handful of 100-yard games and seven total touchdowns. Stacy's stock will definitely rise this offseason as the big-boned back has given Rams fans plenty to cheer about after just nine starts.
No. 3: Le'Veon Bell
Le'Veon Bell is easily the most versatile back on this list. The Pittsburgh Steelers have done an excellent job using Bell in a plethora of situations including short yardage and even the screen-pass game -- Bell has nearly 40 catches on the season. Also, Bell is one of the few rookie running backs without a stable back-up to take his carries. A better offensive line and Bell would easily be atop the list.
No. 2: Giovani Bernard
If it wasn't for BenJarvus Green-Ellis then Giovani Bernard would be getting a boatload of attention. Instead, the Bengals' first-year back has impressed even with 50% of the carries. Bernard is so explosive that he reminds me of a younger Ray Rice. Naturally, expectations will be high for Bernard next season considering he was the first running back taken in the 2013 NFL Draft.
No. 1: Eddie Lacy
Had it not been for a devastating injury to Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy would be one of just five running backs to have double-digit touchdowns. As it stands, Lacy has reached the endzone seven times. It's not just the TDs that put Lacy atop this list, it's the way he has looked like a man among boys despite being a first-year guy. The Green Bay Packers' star has ran for 887 yards so far, which is at least 100 yards more than any other rookie. This bruising back is special and should have his eyes sights set on the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.