Dec 22, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) runs the ball as Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (52) attempts the tackle during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Top 10 NFL Running Backs In The League


It seems to be a thankless position in the modern NFL, but who are the best and most important running backs in pro football?

#10 – Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers picked the exact right time to invest in a running back.  With Aaron Rodgers sidelined, it was the steady, dependable running of Eddie Lacy that got the Packers enough wins to clinch their third-straight division title.  Expectations are for him to get even better moving forward.

#9 – C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills prefer running back by committee, which is not unusual in the NFL but it has somewhat dented the stat line for C.J. Spiller.  Despite splitting carries with Fred Jackson most of his career, Spiller makes the most of his chances, averaging 5.1 yards per carry for his career and averaging over 1,000 yards the past two seasons.  This done with 207 or fewer carries each year.

#8 – Arian Foster – Houston Texans

Things really didn’t start to go south for the Houston Texans until they lost Arian Foster halfway through the 2013 season.  He’d already been fighting injury problems and it hurt his production, but before that the former undrafted free agent was a machine, scoring an absurd 47 combined touchdowns in three seasons and touching the ball 1,115 times.

#7 – Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins

There isn’t much faking out when it comes to Alfred Morris.  He is a pure running back in the old school.  He runs hard and with great patience and vision, is durable and productive either in winning or losing seasons.  In just two years he has over 2,800 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns.

#6 – Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers

The man with the best nickname is the NFL.  Frank Gore truly has been the “Inconvient Truth” for a lot of opponents over the years.  Despite playing in a crowded backfield for the San Francisco 49ers, he has continued to command primary touches and has topped 1,000 yards in seven of the last eight seasons.

#5 – Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson gets a ton of credit for his success with the Seattle Seahawks but none of it starts without Marshawn Lynch.  Having “Beast Mode” there to pound the ball relentlessly, getting first downs, touchdowns and yards after the catch was the single biggest reason Seattle won so many tight ball games on the way to their championship triumph.

#4 – Matt Forte – Chicago Bears

There might not be a more underappreciated running back in the NFL than Matt Forte.  In the midst of what was offensive turmoil for years under Lovie Smith, the Chicago Bears knew they could always count on #22 to run and catch them in situations where they could win.  Nothing about him is flashy, but it most certainly is excellent.

#3 – Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs

It might be a slight exaggeration that Jamaal Charles was the Kansas City Chiefs offense in 2013 but it’s not a big stretch.  His ability to tote the rock on the ground and then use his speed to burn defenses through the air was a nightmare to stop.  He is a home run threat every time he touches the ball, but he also has that old school “cloud of dust” mentality.

#2 – LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles

Having two offensively-minded coaches like Andy Reid and Chip Kelly has done wonders for the career of LeSean McCoy with the Philadelphia Eagles.  Still his versatility, speed and toughness have led to some wins by which he alone was responsible.  It’s hard to imagine Philly without him on the field.

#1 – Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings

Aside from the fact that Adrian Peterson is the only player on this list to own an MVP award, what he’s meant to the Minnesota Vikings is beyond measure.  For his career he’s averaged 5.0 yards per carry, has topped 10,000 yards and never scored fewer than 10 touchdowns in a season.  That is dominance personified.

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Tags: Buffalo Bills Chicago Bears Green Bay Packers Houston Texans Kansas City Chiefs Minnesota Vikings NFL Philadelphia Eagles San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks Washington Redskins

  • A1 Yola

    There is no way McCoy should ahead of JC.

    • Alex Rodman

      Exactly

    • Erik Lambert

      Both players are deadlocked in terms of yardage but McCoy has more touchdowns and has played in the league for one year less.

      • A1 Yola

        JC has a league best 5.5 ypc. Average. That stat makes Him #1 until somebody beats it.

        • Jeremy

          Actually your not exactly correct. His 5.5 per yard is the best all time to date among running backs!!!

  • trinity

    I definitely agree that Adrian is the best. Shady has been running his mouth (as always), and he claims he’s the best now. I was curious to see who you would have number 1, and I’m glad you got it right.

    • Erik Lambert

      Facts are facts.

  • Brandon

    Lynch should be nbr. 2.

    • Yusuf Rafle

      Naw, Jamaal Charles should be

    • Erik Lambert

      I think Beast Mode got a good placement.

      • Makabe Aberle

        Lynch should replace Charles on this list.

  • http://twitter.com/kumerle Kenneth Kumerle

    Lacy is top 5!

    • Erik Lambert

      Not yet but he could be after this season.

  • Ross Lambert

    5th? Behind Forte? After the last three seasons of plus 1200 yards and ten touchdowns? What a joke. There’s absolutely nothing about Matt Forte that puts him ahead of Marshawn Lynch.

    • A1 Yola

      Has Lynch Ever had 250+ yds (Catching/Rushing) in a game? Forte is way more versatile than lynch, and He’s Faster.

      • Ross Lambert

        You’d have to go back two years to find a game where Forte even came close to that figure, but regardless, versatility will never be as important as production. Russell Wilson is more versatile than Peyton Manning but you don’t see people saying he’s the better the quarterback of the two. Marshawn Lynch was the offense last season. Forte is just one piece of the puzzle in Chicago and benefits from it. When the ‘Hawks have a decent O-line and healthy receivers, Lynch puts up 1500 yards and 12 touchdowns.

        • A1 Yola

          Forte was all The Bears had last year. He broke the 200 yard mark (All Purpose) a few times last season. I had Him on My fantasy team. He’s a 1 man show just like AP and JC.

  • A1 Yola

    AP is the best RB in the NFC. JC is the best in the AFC.