Dec 22, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) carries the ball as Washington Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo (98) attempts to make the tackle in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Cowboys won 24-23. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Top Five NFL Rusher Projections For 2014

The rushing title is an NFL award that still means something, so who will walk home with the hardware in 2014?

#5 – Bishop Sankey – Tennessee Titans

This might come as a surprise to a lot of people.  Bishop Sankey is a rookie after all and should not be expected to excel so quickly.  Still, he was the first running back taken in the draft and will play under a head coach who loves to employ balanced football.  That means Sankey will get his touches.  Add in the fact he’s playing behind a big, young and talented offensive line and his chances of a big season go up.

#4 – DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys

Despite missing two games and touching the ball only rushing 217 times, DeMarco Murray still put up over 1,100 yards and scored nine touchdowns.  The Dallas Cowboys now know they can trust feeding him the football, especially after beefing up the offensive line with 1st round pick Zack Martin.  Murray is 26-years old and in his prime.  If he can stay healthy and the Cowboys don’t stray from getting him the ball, he will have his best season as a pro.

#3 – Matt Forte – Chicago Bears

To finish second in the NFL in rushing his first year in a new offense is an impressive feat for Matt Forte, especially with two rookies blocking on the offensive line in front of him.  Now the Chicago Bears Pro Bowler will have a chance to top even that.  Those two rookies are returning with more experience, as are the other three starters for the Bears offensive line from last season.  That continuity should lead to better blocking efficiency, and as a result more holes for Forte to dash through.

#2 – LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles

There is no reason to suspect LeSean McCoy won’t do everything possible to defending his rushing title in 2014.  He’s still young and in an offense under Chip Kelly that is going to feed him the ball.  McCoy has the speed and elusiveness to go along with deceptive strength that will allow him to continue making tacklers miss, provided his team doesn’t overuse him.  The offensive line is intact from last year as well, so there is no reason to doubt he’ll suffer a drop off.

#1 – Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings

Norv Turner is in charge now.  Everybody knows his reputation.  He will want to develop the quarterbacks for the Minnesota Vikings, namely rookie Teddy Bridgewater.  Yet even he can’t ignore the value of feeding a beast like Adrian Peterson.  “All Day” had another solid season in 2013 but is smarting from his loss of the rushing title to McCoy after missing two games due to injury.  Nonetheless Peterson is and will remain the centerpiece of their offense.  If he has one more rushing title in his 29-year old body, then 2014 will be his time.

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Tags: Chicago Bears Dallas Cowboys Minnesota Vikings NFL Philadelphia Eagles Tennessee Titans

  • Josh Landers

    Sankey over jamaal Charles? Do you live in Colorado? Lol

    • Erik Lambert

      Nope. I made the decision on Charles on account of the fact that he lost three starting offensive lineman from last season.

      • Josh Landers

        I’m pretty sure it’s because the chiefs beat your team last year and you’re still upset about it…

        • Erik Lambert

          Which team would that be, exactly?

          • Josh Landers

            Idk. I’m just talking trash. :)

          • Erik Lambert

            I see. Well then you suck, your team sucks and all the other cliche sayings!

          • DiscountPCRepair SATX

            Broncos, Patriots and Packers

          • Erik Lambert

            No, no and no.

          • tubbs45

            At least you are not a bears fan… Can’t stand reading articles from those guys… Hahaha

          • Erik Lambert

            I know, right? And those Charger fans, I can’t stand the ridiculous comments I always get from them.

  • Cutler2Marshall312

    Forte (Mr Cut back) for a TD

    • Erik Lambert

      He has as good a chance as any.

  • David A Maupin

    Matt Forte easily the most underrated back in the NFL since his arrival to the league. Not only one of the most constant, he also catches out of the backfield with the best of them and he is a top 5 pass blocker for a RB. He really lacks at nothing and has stayed healthy for most of his career. Off the field he is as stand up guy as there is. Proof in the pudding is his NFL rank in the top 100 THIS YEAR. Keep doing what you are doing Matt. I would want no other in our back field.

  • trinity

    Marshawn lynch?

    • Erik Lambert

      After a Super Bowl run in which he took a lot of hits and the fact Seattle is already thinking about incorporating more of Christine Michael, I believe Lynch’s production will dip slightly, taking him out of the rushing title conversation.

  • Bob

    Always been a big Forte backer, for the reasons David points out but this years rushing title winner will, as Eric predicted, be A.D. The o-line of the Vikings is a big improvement, and with the unpredictable offensive scheme in place, Mr. Petterson has a very good chance to prove what he so dearly wanted to prove last year. SKOL Vikings

    • Erik Lambert

      I think this season will be Peterson’s swan song as the best in the business. He’ll dominate one more time like LT did in 2006 and then Turner will turn the reins over to Bridgewater.

  • Bob

    To Eric: Which is exactly what we want. Give Teddy some time. He IS very smart but .. . By the way Petterson and I have darn near identical bodys and he is 27 years younger than I am. O.k. maybe I’m wishing