For kicks and giggles.
1. Chris Johnson- 4.2 speed, low to the ground, and can score every time he touches the football. 2k isn't just a name, it's a ridiculous amount of yards that few have seen.
2. Adrian Peterson- When he was drafted, I figured he'd be in Ronnie Brown company: Elite, but often injured. Instead, he's been elite/great, but fumble prone. Therefore, I knocked him to number 2.
3. Steven Jackson- He plays for a bad team, but in a league where it's vogue to have two RB's, he is still in the mold of 2005 or earlier and carries his team on the ground and the occasional check down pass.
4. MJD- Small back, big legs. He can get under a defender and carry them for seven more yards. Another feature back.
5. Michael Turner- I put all the feature backs at the top of the list, because that shows that they can be in the game for the whole game. Michael Turner was a two-back guy with LT, but his first season alone he blew up the league. An injury set him back, so number 5 seems fitting.
6. Frank Gore- A powerful back that can carry his team. Nothing flashy, just good old fashioned hard running...which is what Singletary enjoys, so he should have a great year.
7. DeAngelo Williams- He holds the NCAA record for most all-purpose yards. This guy can play.
8. Ray Rice- 2000 all-purpose yards. Is he top 5? Probably not, because he definitely benefits from playing in Cameron's system (that hurt dearly to say that).
9. Johnathon Stewart/Reshard Mendenhall- These are sort of the same back in my opinion. Then again, this whole thing is my opinion, so I'm being redundant.
10. Ronnie Brown- Great if healthy, non effective when not..obviously.
11. Ricky Williams- He's still got it. He'd be top 5 if he were the feature back, but if he were the feature back, he'd probably wear down. Either way, he's a starter on almost every other team.
12. Shonn Greene- Watched a lot of him in college. Does he have breakaway speed?-Asked the NFL scouts. Well, let the San Diego playoff game speak for that...however, not a lot of carries to be able to put him in the top 10 yet.
13. Matt Forte- He's a one cut back, with great hands. He should play well with Mike Martz.
14. Jamaal Charles- This kid is going to be a stud. I was amazed at his speed when he first got to KC, and Miami fans know first hand that when he gets the ball in his hands, he's a major threat. He's all over the field, catching, and most notably running wild in Denver.
15. Justin Forsett- Another runner that can catch. I enjoyed watching his powerful running at Cal, and he's proved be an excellent back in Seattle. He probably won't ever hit the 1000 yard mark rushing, but his all-purpose yardage will help whoever he plays to move the ball.
16. Pierre Thomas- Probably one of the most underrated players in the NFL. He plays second fiddle to Reggie Bush even though he sees a great bulk of the carries. He's a stud as a runner.
17. Marion Barber- Runs high, but still is able to put the lick on the defender. Felix Jones isn't on the list because he hasn't shown the tenacity of Barber, but Jones has the quick burst. Of the two backs, I like Barber, but they work great together.
18. Ryan Grant- A feature back on one of the top offensive teams in the league. He has to be in the top 20.
19. Darren McFadden- A bust? Who in Oakland isn't considered a bust? Get him out of there and you'll see one of the league's best backs, but because he's unmotivated (as is the entire organization) we hear about the bust. But if you've actually watched him run, you'd know that if he had at least one guy blocking hard for him, he could go the distance on every carry.
20. Darren Sproles- Can catch, can run, and return punts and kicks. He constantly gets knocked for his lack of size, but his play has never shown he can't take a beating. 200+ rushing yards and 300 all-purpose yards against Indy in the playoffs doesn't happen to just any back (Lamar Smith?). Maybe, it's just the Colts D, eh?
Almost, but not quite:
Ryan Matthews- He's a rookie, what can I say?
Felix Jones- Most people he's in the top 15, but I honestly haven't seen him play enough...he seems to me to be a guy that will always play well with others and never be able to take the full load, unlike his former teammate McFadden.
Thomas Jones- 1400 yards last year, and he didn't seem to lose a step. However, I expect his age and the wear and tear to catch up with him at some point this season. But that's what Jamaal Charles is for.
Cedric Benson- Until he's able to put back to back good seasons together, I'll always consider this guy a bust. His arrest in Texas recently doesn't bode well for him either.
Jerome Harrison- A one-hit wonder?
Clinton Portis- All this guy has done is post 1500 or more all-purpose yards for 6 of his 8 seasons. However, the injury last year limited him to just 8 games and 400 yards, and the consistent 325+ carry seasons he's had leads me to believe his prime is in the rear view mirror.
Very solid list. I need to see how Shonn Greene for a full season before I put him that high. I think Jamaal Charles could be a special back.
Ronnie Brown has the potential to be a top 5 back easily, as he can do it all. But, and you hate to continue to say it, but it is very true. He has to stay healthy and be on the field, and there no getting around that.
Agree very much with Ricky being in the top 15. Ricky is still big, fast and explosive and has very good hands in the passing game as well. The only drawback with Ricky at this point is his age.