Every NFL fan knows there is nothing like seeing a game-breaking running back ‘take one to the house’ while making multiple defenders miss their intended tackles while grasping at thin air.
Whether the running back plays for an NFL Super Bowl title contender or is carrying the majority of the load of a lesser team, again, there is nothing like watching a game-breaking running back that knows how to get the job done when called upon.
This look at my top five running backs in the NFL will give pro football sports fanatics an inside look at which backs may be able to lift their respective teams out of mediocrity or help legitimate title contenders take another step toward reaching the league’s annual Super Bowl tilt.
With a brand new week beginning in just a few days, let me get started.
5. Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants
I actually had a tough time with this selection – until I looked at the fact that Jacobs was one of just three running backs to reach the 1,000-yard plateau while averaging at least five yards per carry (5.0) last season. Jacobs is arguably the toughest ‘big back’ in the game to bring down -and has a lot more shiftiness than one would imagine for a man his size (6-4, 264 lbs). Love him or loathe him, Brandon Jacobs in one of the best running backs in the game today.
4. Brian Westbrook – Philadelphia Eagles
Sure, Brian Westbrook ranked just 18th in rushing yards last season, totaling 936 yards on 233 carries for a solid 4.0 yards per carry average, but if you ask me, Westbrook is arguably the most difficult running back in the league to contain when he’s healthy. Westbrook’s ability to run – and catch – the ball with equal ability makes him a modern day Marshall Faulk in my estimation. When he’s healthy, Brian Westbrook is undoubtedly one of the top five running backs in the NFL.
3. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons
It’s kind of hard to believe that Turner has leap-frogged almost every running back in the NFL including the man he sat behind for four seasons in San Diego (LaDainian Tomlinson) but it’s true – Turner is a beast. The compact runner totaled 1,699 yards last season on 376 carries (4.5 ypg) to rank second in rushing yards in all of football in 2008.
2. DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers
Williams rushed for a stellar 1,515 yards on just 273 carries for a whopping average of 5.5 yards per carry in 2008, second only to former New York Giants running back Derrick Ward (5.6 yards per carry). Seeing as how the Panthers could barely throw the ball last season with quarterback Jake Delhomme struggling mightily, Williams’ accomplishments become even more jaw-dropping, making him one of the top five running backs in the NFL.
1. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings
Peterson rushed for 1,760 yards on 363 carries for an excellent average of 4.8 yards per carry in 2008. Peterson has the vision, elusiveness and power to avoid would-be tacklers, while making them grasp at thin air – or better yet – running over them en route to one of his fantastic forays into the end zone. Not only is Peterson, hands-down, the best running back in the game today, but I fully expect him to go down as one of the all-time greats in league history. Simply put, Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the game today – no diggity – no doubt!
All Statistics from NFL.com