Running backs that could surprise in 2010

chuck mitchellContributor IFebruary 12, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 27:  LeSean McCoy #29 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball against the Denver Broncos on December 27, 2009 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Broncos 30-27.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images


1.       Jonathan Stewart- he had 221 carries for 1,133 yards, he averaged 5.1 yards per carry with 10 touch downs.  He really pushed Deangelo Williams last year.   Health is his main concern.  He has a great O-line in front of him.  The offensive is built around the run.  He could be a steal in fantasy football drafts this season.

2.       Jamaal Charles- He had 190 carries for 1,120 yards, he averaged 5.9 yards per carry with 7 touchdowns, and he did this in a part time role until the departure of Larry Johnson.  This projection is based on the moves the Chiefs make in the draft and offseason.  They need to build on their O-line some.  They could seek that help in free agency or through the draft.  I know he is just a 2nd year back, and they carry heavy risk, but he could be a risk/reward type of running back.  If you could take him as your 3rd running back, that would be a good spot for him.

3.       Rashard Mendenhall- he had 242 carries for 1.108 yards, he averaged 4.6 yards per carry with 7 touchdowns.  The Steelers drafted this guy with the hope that he would take Willie Parker’s place.  Last year he looked liked the guy who could do that.  The Steelers need to get back to doing what works for them.  Which is running the football first?  Mendenhall has the looks of an every down back.  If they get back to playing steeler football he will be one to watch.

4.       Matt Forte- This guy had an awful sophomore season, after a great rookie year.  Maybe he learned a thing or two this last season.  The bears need some O-line help.  This will benefit Jay Cutler as well as Matt Forte.  All the talk was that last year after the bears got Jay Cutler in a trade, was how much better this would make Matt Forte.  I still believe it will.  Jay & Matt will work under new Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz.  If the bears can spread the ball around by completing passes, this will take pressure off Matt.  He can catch out of the backfield.  If he would’ve had a decent year last year, we would find him in the top 10 running backs.  He could be a steal at a 2nd or 3rd running back for your team.

5.       Felix Jones- He had 116 carries for 685 yards; he averaged 5.9 yards per carry with 3 touchdowns.  With that kind of average per carry, I don’t see why the cowboys found him more playing time.  He is an explosive back that compliments Marion Barber so well.  This guy would probably be on the top of this list.  He is a 3rd back who is ready to play a more featured role in their offense.  They might decide to work on the O-line some through the draft or free agency.   He would be a great 2nd running back.


6.       LeSean McCoy-He had 155 carries for 637 yards; he averaged 4.1 yards per carry with 4 touchdowns.  This guy is waiting in the wings to fill Westbrook’s shoes.  Westbrook had a year where he battled injuries, and his production took a hit.   We don’t want to rush McCoy into the running back role too quickly, but that is why the eagles drafted him.  I know that he is a 2nd year back, and that he carries that dangerous tag with him.  However someone has to step into that role and we see him doing it this season.  He is definitely a guy who I could see as t 3rd running back on your roster.