While there have been endless debates about the true value of running backs when it comes to roster building, there’s no arguing against the fact that the NFL is currently loaded with talent at the position.
There are running backs of all kinds in the league right now, from bell cow bruisers to shifty scatbacks and several guys who are a combination of both. It is tough to narrow the group down to a top three, but that’s what NFL.com tried to do.
Using an Olympic medal system (gold-silver-bronze), NFL.com polled 25 analysts and asked them to rank their top running backs. A first-place vote was worth three points, with second-place worth two and third-place garnering one point.
When the ballots were tabulated, Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry came in as the clear-cut winner, earning 18 out of 25 first-place votes and 66 total points, 40 more than runner-up Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings.
Cleveland Browns standout Nick Chubb (23 points) rounded out the top three, with Christian McCaffrey (19), Alvin Kamara (14) and Saquon Barkley (2) also earning votes.
“Henry is quite literally the gold standard at the running back position and has been for two seasons,” said NFL.com analyst and former running back Maurice Jones-Drew. “He knocked his 2019 career-best performance (303 carries, 1,540 rushing yards, 16 rushing TDs) out of the water last season, racking up 2,027 yards and 17 TDs on 378 carries. There’s not much the reigning Offensive Player of the Year can’t do with the ball in his hands.”
One thing about the running back landscape in the NFL that’s clear is that it changes quickly. There wasn’t a single back who earned a vote this year that was on the ballot the last time this poll was conducted in 2016.
Like all rankings, this polling will spur some debate. Do you think the experts got it right?