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Running back rankings

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Running back rankings

Postby Warpigs » Sat Jul 26, 2008 11:23 pm

By John McFarland of the Associated Press
1. LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego: Don’t start sweating his durability based on the AFC title game injury. TD machine has only missed one game in seven seasons.
2. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota: Teams stopped him late after realizing the Vikings couldn’t even throw against defenses that weren’t even using defensive backs.
3. Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia: Once considered injury risk, now pretty much all the Eagles have.
4. Joseph Addai, Indianapolis: Durability a question as he wore down late in the year, so make sure to get his backup, too.
5. Steven Jackson, St. Louis: Durability, weak offense slightly concerning.
6. Frank Gore, San Francisco: New offensive coordinator Martz has lost some genius points over the years, but he’s smart enough to build a scheme around Gore. (Gore got 20 carries just five times last year.)
7. Clinton Portis, Washington: Drop in yards per carry a bit of a concern, but he thinks he’ll have more big plays in Jim Zorn’s new offense.
8. Ryan Grant, Green Bay: Was reliable as ever once he took over as primary back, scoring eight times in his final eight games.
9. Marion Barber, Dallas: Finally, Julius Jones left town to make maniacal runner Dallas’ main threat. The new Jones he’s sharing with — rookie Felix — shouldn’t steal as many carries.
10. Willis McGahee, Baltimore: New offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has a history of feeding the featured back with tons of carries and receptions. (See Tomlinson, Ronnie Brown.)
11. Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo: Had two of his three 100-yard games after Trent Edwards took over, though never did develop into the receiver he was supposed to be.
12. Larry Johnson, Kansas City: Only made it through half of 2008 after getting seriously overworked the previous year. Will again be workhorse, but for how long?
13. Jamal Lewis, Cleveland: Not so washed up after all, as many of us feared last season. Wide-open passing game opens up a lot of holes.
14. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville: Tiny wrecking ball doesn’t really see the ball all that often (about 15 times a game in his 2-year career), but he’s always in the end zone somehow (13 times a year).
15. Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay: A fourth-stringer this time last year, just signed to big deal and his backups shouldn’t steal too many carries.
16. Rudi Johnson, Cincinnati: Years of pounding finally caught up with him in 2007. He’s the unquestioned starter, but injury questions and sharing some carries should keep him from his days of 1,300 yards and 12 scores.
17. Brandon Jacobs, NY Giants: 264-pounder’s fun to watch when he’s running everybody over, but never was short-yardage guy. Battering ram mind-set leads to injury.
18. Laurence Maroney, New England: Suffers from recurring injuries, team’s refusal to run. But he’s capable if teams figure out how to shut down Brady. (Averaged 20 carries and had 4 TDs, 2 100-yard games in final 3 regular-season games.)
19. Michael Turner, Atlanta: Longtime Tomlinson backup finally gets his shot, though he will share some with Jerious Norwood. It’s also unclear how he’ll fare against defenses not already exhausted from chasing LT around.
20. Darren McFadden, Oakland: Electric runner worth a high pick, even considering he joins a lousy team with a crowded backfield.
21. Thomas Jones, NY Jets: Great big arms, but tiny yards per carry and TD total. Still, Jets seem committed to Jones as main runner, and there are two new starters on OL.
22. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina: 235-pounder from Oregon will share time with DeAngelo Williams, but his ability to pound away means he’ll probably get more carries.
23. Edgerrin James, Arizona: Quietly had a decent 2007, but he’s a long way from those monster numbers he posted in Indy. And he’s had that dreaded 30th birthday, when most RBs receive the gift of decreasing effectiveness.
24. Reggie Bush, New Orleans: Now we know he won’t ever carry the load as a featured runner, but large number of catches make him valuable in leagues that reward receptions.
25. Willie Parker, Pittsburgh: Dude, remember the end zone? Just 2 visits there — plus the fact he’ll lose plenty of carries to a bruising rookie first-round pick — sent his value plummeting.
26. Ronnie Brown, Miami: Low ranking for fear of slow torn ACL recovery, rejuvenated Ricky Williams leading Dolphins to scrap “Give it to Ronnie Every Time” playbook.
27. Julius Jones, Seattle: After years in Dallas losing short TD runs to Barber, now he gets to lose them to fellow new Seahawk T.J. Duckett.
28. Selvin Young, Denver: The probable starter, though obscure-back loving Broncos probably think he’s so last year.
29. Kevin Smith, Detroit: Piled up nearly 2,700 yards and 29 TDs last year in a Central Florida scheme very similar to Detroit’s.
30. Matt Forte, Chicago: Second-round pick is Tulane’s career leader in touchdowns (44) and averaged 99 yards a game while there. Was likely starter after Cedric Benson was cut, but late signing of Kevin Jones doesn’t bode well for him.
31. LenDale White, Tennessee: Didn’t miss a game despite some injury and size issues. But Titans’ drafting Chris Johnson in the first round raises questions once again.
32. Fred Taylor, Jacksonville: How did he do that last year? At 32 with his injury history, odds are long he’ll hit 1,200 yards again.
33. Justin Fargas, Oakland: Career backup made most of his opportunity in just seven starts. But season-ending knee surgery, arrival of McFadden, make Fargas a not-very-attractive 1,000-yarder.
34. Chester Taylor, Minnesota: Best bench-warmer around is an automatic 100 yards whenever Peterson’s too hurt to go.
35. Kevin Jones, Chicago: Coming back from torn knee ligaments, but appeared to be nimble in offseason workouts after Lions let him go. Starting camp on PUP list no confidence booster, though.
36. Chris Johnson, Tennessee: First-round pick was the fastest back in the draft and should swipe carries from White, one of the slowest backs in many drafts.
37. Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh: First-rounder from Illinois spells Parker a year after running for nearly 1,700 yards and 17 scores.
38. Ricky Williams, Miami: Maybe he really is rejuvenate, and maybe Ronnie Brown isn’t.
39. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina: Longtime fantasy favorite appeared to be on his way when DeShaun Foster was cut, but was back to time-share after Panthers drafted Stewart.
40. Felix Jones, Dallas: Speedster averaged 8.7 yards a carry last year at Arkansas. Jones, the first RB taken in the first round by Dallas since Emmitt Smith, will spell Barber.
41. Jerious Norwood, Atlanta: His big chance to be the man for Falcons vanished when Turner arrived, but a back who averages 6.2 yards a carry in two-year career will still get carries. Good insurance for Turner owners.
42. Deuce McAllister, New Orleans: Wasn’t doing squat before missing 13 games because of two injured knees. At 29, he’s now 25 games the past three years, although he expects to be back to full speed for training camp.
43. Derrick Ward, NY Giants: Good to have on the shelf for next time Jacobs thinks he can run straight into a gathering of 350-pounders.
44. Kenny Watson, Cincinnati: A must-have if you drafted Rudi Johnson. Showed he can carry the load just fine, despite being a 30-year-old journeyman.
45. Dominic Rhodes, Indianapolis: After a year of reflection, turns out playing for the really good Colts beats playing for the really bad Raiders. Good guy to tuck away in case Addai gets hurt
46. Kolby Smith, Kansas City: You have to take him if you have Larry Johnson.
47. Tatum Bell, Detroit: Was quickly banished to the bench or inactive list by Martz last year, but now in the mix for the starting job.
48. T.J. Duckett, Seattle: Coach Mike Holmgren says he sees him as much more than a short-yardage back. (Until the first time Julius Jones tries the tiptoe dance from the 1-yard line, that is.)
49. DeShaun Foster, San Francisco: Has shown occasional flash but also frequently falls down on or before first contact.
50. Ladell Betts, Washington: Always worth a late pick if you took Portis.
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