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Comparing Alfred Morris' Start to NFL's All-Time Greats

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Comparing Alfred Morris' Start to NFL's All-Time Greats
Through 5 weeks, Morris is averaging 4.9 yards per carry. (Getty)

Before bursting onto the NFL scene five weeks ago, Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris was used to being compared to the game's all-time greats. 

The compliments seemed endless, but he never took them too seriously.

Now, after another splendid performance (18 carries, 115 yards) in Washington's 24-17 loss to Atlanta, comparisons are floating around again and for good reason. 

“First of all, I’m not surprised,” said Morris' legendary college coach Howard Schnellenberger, via Tom D'Angelo of The Palm Beach Post. “He was born, bread, raised and trained to be an NFL running back. Not only because he runs the ball [and] not only because he’s durable. He has ability to keep his feet and doesn’t fumble. He can also block, protect the quarterback and catch the ball out of the backfield."

Schnellenberger also likes how Washington's coaching staff has used its young buck.

They handed Alfred the ball 28 times [in Washington's season-opening win in New Orleans] and he thrives on that. The reason he is going to be successful is he’s a hit-for-average guy. [Out] of 20 carries, 10 are going to be over four yards, [and] one or two he's going to break.

With 491 yards rushing and four touchdowns, Morris is tearing up the NFL and making Mike Shanahan look like a genius, after the Redskins coach selected him in the sixth-round of April's draft. 

In an interview with Mike Florio of NBC's ProFootballTalk, Shanahan said that "Alfred has a lot of the same attributes" that Terrell Davis had. Shanahan coached Davis to back-to-back Super Bowl wins with Denver.  

Then there are the comparisons that were made in college.

From the moment Morris stepped foot on the campus of Florida Atlantic, Schnellenberger compared the 5'10' dynamo to bulldozing Hall of Famer Larry Czonka, whom Howard coached in the early 1970s as offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins.

It may be hard to believe, but Czonka's first five starts were inferior to Morris'. In fact, Larry ran for just 221 yards and two scores on 72 carries. 

Nevertheless, it must be nice to be compared to a two-time Super Bowl champion, who was five inches taller.

So, how does Morris' start compare to the best running backs in NFL history? We referred to our friends at Ranker.com, which asked football fans worldwide to cast their votes for the top runners of all-time.

The top five selections were dynamic players in their own ways, but they were all similar to Morris in strength, balance, body control and forward lean. And like Alfred, whatever they lacked in size and speed, they made up for in heart and determination. 

Please continue onto the next few slides to see how these stars fared (as rushers) in their first five NFL games.

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