By Chris Ross @DraftScout_NFL on July 18, 2014
Although running games aren’t a huge part of the NFL game anymore, the league still has a number of very talented running backs. For the most part, these backs do a lot more than just run the ball. In order to be considered elite, they must be able to run, catch and block. With that said, here are the NFL’s top 15 running backs.
Fred Jackson is the heart and soul of the Buffalo Bills’ offense, and he is as reliable as they come. Jackson is getting older. However, he should again be one of the best backs in the league in 2014.
C.J. Spiller hasn’t been as reliable as Jackson, but he has been more explosive. Spiller has shown the talent to be a top five back in the NFL, and 2014 will be the year he finally takes that next step.
In his rookie season, Gio Bernard showed a lot of promise with the Bengals. Now, going into his second season, you have to think Bernard is on his way to doing special things. He’s a playmaker with the ability to take it to the house on any given play, and there’s a good chance he climbs up this list as the season progresses.
Despite the fact he is coming off a down season in which he struggled with nagging injuries and ineffectiveness, Arian Foster appears to be in line for a bounce-back season in 2014. The Texans are going to rely upon Foster to produce, and he will succeed.
Le’Veon Bell established himself as a quality three-down running back in 2014, and he should be even better this season. The Steelers have a solid offensive line, and a great passing game that takes the pressure off of Bell, and he should take advantage of that.
Although he has a reputation as an injury-prone, ineffective player, Ryan Mathews is actually coming off a pretty great season. Mathews had over 1,200 yards on the ground in 2013, and it’s possible he is even better this season.
Despite the fact Frank Gore isn’t quite as explosive as he used to be, there’s no doubt that he’s still a quality starter in the league. Gore is the cog that makes the 49ers’ offense run, and he should once again be productive in 2014.
Andre Ellington might not have put up monster statistics in 2013, but as far as efficiency is concerned, Ellington is one of the best backs in the league. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry in 2013, and he looks like a potential star in Arizona’s backfield.
Coming off a phenomenal rookie season in which he played fantastic football all season long, Eddie Lacy appears to be on the rise going into 2014. He’s a powerful, complete runner, and Lacy will take advantage of his talent and become one of the NFL’s best.
A perfect fit in Washington’s offense, Alfred Morris has put up big numbers in each of his first two professional seasons. Morris is the glue that holds the Redskins’ offense together, and he is well on his way to putting up yet another big season.
Explosive is the word that jumps to mind when thinking about Jamaal Charles, and for good reason. Charles is the total package at running back, and he is the man who will determine just how good Kansas City’s offense is this season.
Throughout his entire career, Matt Forte has been a consistently productive, valuable member of Chicago’s offense, and that won’t change in 2014. Forte will be as good as ever this season, and that’s a good thing for the Bears’ offense.
Since he joined the Seattle Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch has become one of the premier running backs in the NFL. Lynch is the type of hard-working, grinder that gets the job done no matter what, and he is one of the best in the league because of that.
One of the fastest players in the entire league, LeSean McCoy has developed into a top running back with the Eagles. McCoy is perhaps the best pure playmaker in the league, and the Eagles are lucky to have a running back of his caliber.
Although he didn’t quite replicate his historic 2012 season, Adrian Peterson was still great in 2013. He’s the best running back in the NFL by far, and his combination of work ethic, athletic ability and talent has put him up there as one of the best backs to ever play the game.
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