After doing a list of quarterback rankings, I now turn my head to the running backs.
To make sure it's clear, I am ranking these running backs in terms of how I believe they will do this upcoming season. I've decided to look at the top 25 starting RB's. Anyone that is a backup, such as Jonathan Stewart or Ahmad Bradshaw were not included.
25. Jamaal Lewis—Cleveland Browns
2008 stats—279 carries, 1,002 yds, four TD's
Lewis is getting old. There is no other way to look at it. He is far from his 2,000 yard season in 2003, and even though he had 1,002 yards last year, I don't see him reaching that 1,000 plateau this year.
24. Lary Johnson—Kansas City Cheifs
2008 stats—193 carries, 874 yds, five TD's
We all remember the days of anticipating the LT vs. LJ matchups between Johnson and LaDainian Tomlinson. Now LJ's great days are over. He has had two consecutive sub-par seasons and that's what he'll have again this year.
23. Reggie Bush—New Orleans Saints
2008 stats—106 carries, 404 yds, two TD's
Reggie Bush no longer has Deuce McAllister playing starting running back, and now he is the starter. Pierre Thomas will be getting some carries this year, but I think Bush will start to improve. My prediction...around 800 yards.
22. Knowshon Moreno—Denver Broncos
After last year with the year of rookie running backs, Moreno is the only one I can see having a big impact as a starter. I know at the this moment he hasn't been named the starter, but I think he will become the starter during the season.
21. Derrick Ward—Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2008 stats—182 carries, 1,025 yds, two TD's
I will personally be watching Derrick Ward closely this year. As a former member of the New York Giants, I hope Ward does well, but I don't know if he will be good on his own this year, without the big Brandon Jacobs.
20. Frank Gore—San Fransisco 49'ers.
2008 stats—240 carries, 1,036 yds, six TD's
Only playing in 14 games last year, Gore racked up 1,036 yards and six TD's. If Gore can stay healthy this year, he can rush for around 1,100, but I could also see him ending the season around 800 yards.
19. Ronnie Brown—Miami Dolphins
20008 stats—214 carries, 916 yds, 10 TD's
Ronnie Brown's stats have gone up and down since coming into the league in 2005. He has only rushed for 1,000 yards once in his career (2006). He can go for 1,000 yards or around 600. He is going to be a questionable RB going into this season, and I'm thinking he will have just an average season.
18. Joseph Addai—Indianapolis Colts
2008 stats—155 carries, 544 yds, five TD's
Joseph Addai is a good RB, but I am uncertain how he will do this upcoming season. Only rushing for 544 yards and five TD's in 12 games last season, Addai is a big question mark for me this year.
17. Maurice Jones-Drew—Jacksonville Jaguars
2008 stats—197 carries, 824 yds, 12 TD's
It's going to be interesting to see what Maurice Jones-Drew can do this season. He will either be a better RB, because Fred Taylor has gone to New England, or he could do worse without Taylor there. I think Jones-Drew will have a good season though, probably a little better than last year.
16. Thomas Jones—New York Jets
2008 stats—290 carries, 1,312 yds, 12 TD's
Thomas Jones could be the main focus point for the Jets' offense this upcoming season with the QB situation still in question. While Leon Washington will be taking some of the carries from Jones, this season could be a very good one for him.
15. Marshawn Lynch—Buffalo Bills
2008 stats—250 carries, 1,036 yds, eight TD's
Marshawn Lynch would probably be higher on this list, if he wasn't suspended for the first three games. That being said, Lynch probably won't rush for 1,000 yards this season for that reason. However, Lynch is still among the leagues best.
14. Brian Westbrook—Philadelphia Eagles
2008 stats—233 car, 936 yds, nine TD's
Westbrook is going to be an interesting RB in the first couple of weeks. He had surgery in the offseason and we will have to see how he responds to that. Westbrook will most likely also be losing some carries to rookie RB LeSean McCoy.
13. Ryan Grant—Green Bay Packers
2008 stats—312 carries, 1,203 yds, four TD's
Since coming into the NFL, Ryan Grant has been a good RB. From 956 yards in 2007, to 1,203 yards in 2008, Grant will most likely make another improvement in his game.
12. Matt Forte—Chicago Bears
2008 stats—316 carries, 1,238 yds, eight TD's
Yet another breakout rookie, Forte was one of the main parts of the Bears' offense last season. This year, with the addition of Jay Cutler, the Bears are going to be dangerous. Expect another great year from Forte, putting up similar stats to last year.
11. LaDainian Tomlinson—San Diego Chargers
2008 stats—292 carries, 1,110 yds, 11 TD's
I don't understand the hating on LaDainian Tomlinson. A couple of years ago he could do no wrong. He has never missed a regular season game and has rushed for 1,000 yards every year he has been in the NFL. Now everyone wants to take a shot at a guy for missing the postseason, who is still one of the best in the league. He will now be splitting time with Darren Sproles, but I still think this will be a big year for LT.
10. Steven Jackson. St Louis Rams
2008 stats—253 carries, 1,042 yds, seven TD's
Like Willie Parker, last season Jackson only started 11 games due to injury. We have all seen what Jackson can do when healthy though, and I think he's on his way to returning to form this season.
9. Willie Parker—Pittsburgh Steelers
2008 stats—210 carries, 791 yds, five TD's
Last season, Parker only played 11 games due to a knee injury, bringing backup Rashard Mendenhall into the offensive role. However, if Parker can stay healthy, then this could be a very productive season for him. I would say that, if healthy, he could rush for around 1,200 yards with eight TD's.
8. Brandon Jacobs—New York Giants
2008 stats—219 carries, 1,089 yds, 15 TD's
Now that Derrick Ward is gone to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brandon Jacobs will be sharing carries with Ahmad Bradshaw. While I think Bradshaw will have success, he won't be as good as Ward was and I think Jacobs will get more carries. He is one of the most dominant RB's in the league, with the way that he punishes defenders. I see Jacobs piling up 1,250 yards and 15 TD's.
7. Clinton Portis—Washington Redskins
2008 stats—342 carries, 1,487 yds, nine TD's
Clinton Portis was considered to be one of the candidates for MVP last season. Portis is still one of the top running backs in the league and is probably the biggest key of the Washington Redskins' offense. I think his stats will pretty much be the same as last year.
6. DeAngelo Williams—Carolina Panthers
2008 stats- 273 carries, 1,515 yds, 18 TD's
In his first season as a starter last year, Williams had great success along with 2nd string RB and rookie Jonathan Stewart. This year he will most likely have the same amount of success, piling up similar stats compared to last year, with maybe fewer TD's.
5 . Marion Barber—Dallas Cowboys
2008 stats—238 carries, 885 yds, seven TD's
Another RB that will be sharing carries, with possibly two other guys, I think Marion Barber is going to have great success this season. Even though the Cowboys' running game will be like the New York Giants last year, with Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice all getting a good share of carries. He will probably have around 1,200 yards and 10 TD's.
4. Steve Slaton—Houston Texans
2008 stats—268 carries, 1,282 yds, nine TD's
Just like Tennesse's Chris Johnson and Carolina's Jonathan Stewart, Steve Slaton was a breakout rookie last year. The only difference is that Slaton is the starter in Houston and has no one else to share carries with. Slaton could be one of the best running backs in the next couple of years. This year, I believe his production will be around 1,300 to 1,400 yards.
3. Michael Turner—Atlanta Falcons
2008 stats—376 carries, 1,699 yds, 17 TD's
One year after becoming the Falcons' starter, after playing behind LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael "Burner" Turner had a great season. 1,700 carries and 17 TD's. This year will be interesting to see what he can do. I am thinking Turner could either go down to around 1,500 yards, but also has the potential to rush for 2,000.
2. Chris Johnson—Tennessee Titans
2008 stats—251 carries, 1,228 yds, nine TD's
One of the breakout rookies last year, Chris Johnston looks to continue his success this season. Even though he will be sharing carries with LenDale White, I think Johnson is going to have loads of success this year. I'm guessing he'll have somewhere around 1,400 yards and 14 TD's.
1. Adrian Peterson—Minnesota Vikings
2008 stats—363 carries, 1,760, 10 TD's
Adrian Peterson is the unanimous No1. running back on my list and in the league. He could pile up 2,000 yards and 15-17 TD's on his way to an MVP season. We are all expecting a lot from Peterson this year, and I doubt he will disappoint.
Well there you have it, there are my top 25 RB's for the 2009 season.
I will be looking into the WR's next. If you missed my QB Edition, you can read it Here.