Note...this is not related to fantasy, this is simply how great the runningbacks in the NFL are as of today. Ed The Sports Fan wants to thank Stefan Ming from The Sports Flow and Antone at All Hip Hop Sports along with our featured contributor Kenny and myself have compiled our own top 10 runningback list in our own minds. Ranked them 1-10, and came out with our certified list. There are some mild surprises and old reliable is #1 still, but #2? #3? We'll see...
#10. Fred Taylor, Jacksonville Jaguars (9th pick in the 1998 Draft)- A veteran running back and team captain who ranks among the NFL's all-time best, its a wonder that he's only been to ONE pro bowl (2007) and has shaken one moniker "fragile" for another moniker in "steady". Dude is a load at 6'1", 230 pounds and still can go step for step with his backfield mate Maurice Jones-Drew. Just like former Jag Jimmy Smith, he's going to go down as an all-time great but hopefully not become another afterthought, because he "puts on for his city and for the state of FLAWDA...His 4.7 career yards per carry average ranks 3rd all-time, behind only Jim Brown and Barry Sanders and his 85.5 rushing yards per game average is 6th all-time. Ahead of him are Jim Brown (104.3), Barry Sanders (99.8), Edgerrin James (92.9), Roger Craig (90.8) and Walter Payton (88.0).
#9. Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo Bills (12th pick in the 2007 Draft)- From free-wheeling the medical cart after his last game at Cal, to getting hyphy in Buffalo, the boy goes dumb. (tell me where to go, da duh da duh da duh da duh...) If "Purple Jesus" didn't declare for the '07 draft, Lynch would've easily been a top 5 pick. In just 13 games (?) he finished a successful rookie season with 1,115 total rushing yards and seven touchdowns. If he would just decide to stop getting into hit and runs and start hitting the hole and running...the NFL's gonna be real dumb on Marshawn real quick.
#8. Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs (27th pick in the 2003 Draft)- LJ aka "Its the Roc!" is back and healthy, just one year removed from his second straight season of over 1,700 rushing yards. In 2007, Johnson was only able to play in eight games, but he was able to eclipse the century mark in rushing yards in three contests. Larry goes 6'1", 230 pounds and he runs mean. He's shown that he can put up numbers in a 2-back system (Priest Holmes) and with a very good but aging O-line, and put up numbers with a ZERO passing attack. So why would you doubt him now?
#7. Marion Barber, Dallas Cowboys (109th pick in the 2005 Draft)- His power running back style has earned him the nickname "Marion the Barbarian" and he has been the league leader in breaking tackles, which seems to reflect his personal mantra of "hit or get hit." From the words of Kenny Masenda (who ranked him #10), "As someone who is a DIE-HARD Dallas Cowboys fan, I have caught much flack for having Marion Barber ranked #10 on my top running backs list. In defense of my selection, here's exactly why I have him where I have him. He was #2, and while people are quick to jump on Julius Jones and call him trash, the bottom line is you still had to game plan for two backs. Bottom line is everyone else above him is the feature back in their offense. It's through no fault of his own, because when he got in the game, he did produce. If Barber is able to produce as the lead back this year (which I'm pretty damn sure he will), then he will move up, but until then, he's right where he needs to be."
#6. Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts (30th pick in the 2006 Draft)- Probably one of the most underappreciated runningbacks in the league, Addai keeps the Colts offense a well-oiled machine. With 2 1,000 yard seasons under his belt, and while being injured last year, take his game to the next level. A phenomenal pass catcher, blocker out the backfield, and a great between the tackles runner, what more could you want? Well, one contributor...F it, Kenny said he ain't in the top 10. I have a problem with that and I HATE THE COLTS! Sorry, I had to let that out...
#5. Clinton Portis, Washington Portis (51st pick in the 2002 Draft)- Portis is known for often wearing various costumes at Thursday press conferences that represent fictional characters he has developed, including personas such as "Southeast Jerome", "Coach Janky Spanky", "Bro Sweets", "Choo-Choo", "Sheriff Gonnagetcha", "Dr. Do-itch Big," and "Dolemite Jenkins." Those characters are THE TRUTH! Spoken word from Antone, "My intial reaction of Clinton Portis was that he was old and didn't score a lot of TDs. After taking a closer look, I saw that Portis is just about to turn 27 and has scored more than 10 TDs in 4 out of his first 6 seasons. With an average of 92 yards per game rushing over his career, which is almost 1,500 yards a season, Portis is the most underrated running back in the NFL today. A new offensive system in Washington has Portis primed for a monster season and some of the respect he so rightfully deserves."
#4. Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams (24th pick in the 2004 Draft)- Although he's been nicked up for the last couple of seasons, he's now had three 1,000 yard seasons, and he's not a fun player to tackle. At 6'2", 235 pounds and the ability to catch the ball out the backfield, you better tell those NFC West DB's to get out the way, quick. If Bulger gets his act together, and Mr. Holt continues to do what he does, then a HUGE season could be coming out of #39...but he couldn't crack the top three.
#3. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (7th pick in the 2007 Draft)- Rookie of the year? Check. Single-game rushing record? (against the San Diego Chargers no less...) Check? New nickname? (Purple Jesus) Check. Future goals...rush for 2,500 yards. Wow. Be one of the all-time greats...getting there. Stay healthy for an entire 16? Working on it. All Day, I mean...Adrian Peterson is the truth, there's no other way of saying it. If the man is healthy then God please bless the opposing defense on Sunday. His rare talent as both a great breakaway and power runner has often raised comparisons to past legends, including Eric Dickerson, O.J. Simpson, Bo Jackson, and Jim Brown. As an Oklahoman, we stand up and salute you #28. Thank you.
#2. Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia Eagles (91st pick in the 2002 Draft)- Westbrook cemented himself as one of the top backs in the league in his 2007 campaign. He had over 100 yards rushing and receiving combined in twelve of the fifteen games that he played. His 1,333 rushing yards were a new career high and his 2,104 yards from scrimmage led the NFL. Westbrook was named to his second Pro Bowl and first All-Pro team, after setting a new franchise record with 90 receptions. I personally rated him the #1 back in the NFL. Why? Because compared to LT, there are less offensive weapons around Brian, and Westbrook still wrecks in the return game. The man might catch 100 balls out the backfield this year, and I'm predicting right now that Westbrook goes 1,500 & 1,000 in rushing and receiving yards. It would be tough, but let me ask you this...would you be shocked if he did do it?
#1. LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers (5th pick in the 2001 Draft)- LaDainian Tomlinson has proven himself worthy of the title as the NFL’s best player. Year after year he has consistently gotten better. In just seven seasons, L.T. is already the Chargers’ all-time leading rusher, has been named to five Pro Bowls and has rushed for 1,200 yards in all seven of his NFL seasons. He can run it for a TD, he can catch one for a TD, he can THROW one for a TD, is this not why you are here? Are you not entertained? It will be very interesting to see how he starts to hold up as he just turned 29 in the off-season and has a lot of tread on those tires after running all up and down the state of Texas in high school and in college at TCU. Could he make a run at Jerry Rice's TD record? Could he make a run at Emmitt Smith's rushing yards record? (I hope so) Will he get his ring? I dunno, but I think LT's gonna do fine in the "where's my motivation" department.
Here is the final breakdown of the runningbacks.
**Sidenotes - Kenny voted Willie Parker #5 on his rankings yet not a vote from Antone, Stefan, or Ed...Marion Barber had the biggest difference in voting, from 5th (Ed) to 10th (Kenny)...interestingly no love for Jamal Lewis (2,000 yard rusher, former single game rushing record holder), Edgerrin James (11,000+ rushing yards), Darren McFadden (could be next Peterson, Lynch), Maurice Jones-Drew (Westbrook 2.0), or Ryan Grant (had as big a 1st year as Marshawn Lynch)...Would Shaun Alexander or Rudi Johnson make this list 2-3 years ago?**
Ok folks, this is our list. Doesn't mean you should agree. You DEFINITELY shouldn't agree, but give us your feedback and we'll get ready for some NFL football on Thursday night!