Top 10 NFL Running Backs of All Time: No. 5 Eric Dickerson
This is the sixth installment of a 10-part series that breaks down the Top 10 running backs in NFL history.
Dickerson was drafted second overall out of Southern Methodist. His first four years in the NFL were unlike any four-year stretch we have ever seen. The rest of his career did not measure up, but that would have been nearly impossible to do.
Dickerson made the Hall of Fame in 1999, made six Pro Bowls and was named to five All-Pro first teams.
Dickerson had four seasons when he rushed for more than 1,500 yards. His 2,105 yards in 1984 is the greatest single-season total in NFL history. He also had seasons of 1,821, 1,808 and 1,659 rushing yards. Those seasons rank 16th, 19th and 40th on the all-time list.
During Dickerson's record-setting year, he averaged a career-best 131.6 rushing yards a game, which ranks as the fourth-highest single-season total. Some of his other top seasons rank 21st and 23rd all time on a per-game basis. For his career, he averaged 90.8 rushing yards a game, which ranks fifth all time.
His career year also saw him average 5.6 yards per attempt. For his career, he averaged a solid 4.4 yards per attempt.
Dickerson's highest rushing-TD total for a season was 18, the 15th-highest single-season total. For his career, he ranks 12th all time for rushing TDs.
Dickerson's career rushing total of 13,259 places him seventh on the all-time list. His best rushing game saw him rack up 248 yards, which is the 12th-highest single-game total. His career long run was an 85-yarder during his rookie season.
The goggle-wearing Dickerson's trademarks on the field was his upright running style, unusual height for a RB and blazing speed. He is the only running back in NFL history to rush for more than 1,800 yards three times and 1,600 yards four times.
During the first four years of his career, Dickerson averaged 1,742 rushing yards and nearly 14 rushing TDs a season.
For me, Dickerson's early years with video game-like numbers more than make up for a prolonged subpar end of his career. I rank him as the fifth-best running back in NFL history.
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