The NFL's Top 15 Running Backs, 2000-2009
The first of my positional rankings for the last decade, I've considered each player's performance only from January of 2000 through December 2009.
Many current players have been left off the list because they just don't have the career numbers yet to qualify.
Every player on the list has at least 8,000 yards from scrimmage. I've taken into account yards, YPA, receiving yards, total TDs, post season performance and awards, as well as impact on the game.
No. 15 Corey Dillon
Dillon started the decade off right with over 1,300 rushing yards in each of the first three years.
In 2003 however he was benched late in the season for Rudi Johnson, and was traded to New England prior to the 2004 season.
In '04 Dillon rushed for a career high 1,635 yards at 4.7 yards per attempt, helping New England win Super Bowl 39.
He contributed over 1,500 more yards for the Patriots over the following two injury-plagued seasons.
He quietly retired in 2007 after not receiving any offers he was interested in.
In the end Dillon rushed for 7,782 yards at 4.2 yards per carry and had 78 total TDs in the decade.
No. 14 Fred Taylor
Considering he rushed for over 1,200 yards six times before he made his first pro bowl, Fred Taylor was certainly one of the least appreciated backs in the league.
This guy has one of the higher yards per attempt of players with over 2,000 attempts, at 4.6 yards per carry.
His stats this past decade include 9,495 yards rushing and 51 total TDs.
No. 13 Thomas Jones
Jones is certainly the only guy on the list who was on his fourth team before he turned 30. But after being perceived as a bust in Arizona, Jones has had a great career.
In 2009 he rushed for a career high 1,402 yards and 14 rushing TDs, this was his fifth straight season with at least 1,100 yards rushing.
His final stats for the decade : 9,217 yards rushing at 4 yards a carry, 289 receptions and 65 total TDs.
No. 12 Warrick Dunn
Warrick Dunn is the smallest running back to ever accomplish what he's accomplished.
For the decade he had 8,347 rushing yards, 2,944 receiving yards and 53 total TDs. He is third all time in rushing yards for the Buccaneers and second all time for rushing yards for the Atlanta Falcons.
He is the only guy I can find that is on two teams' top three in rushing yards. He's also No. 3 all time in Buccaneers history for receptions and 14th all time on the Falcons list.
No. 11 Ricky Williams
It became easy to forget that Ricky Williams was one of the best backs in the league the first half of the decade, but he was.
No season more evident than 2003 when he rushed for 1,853 yards at 4.8 yards per attempt.
Williams had five 1,000 yard seasons in the decade, and finished with 8,008 yards rushing at 4.1 yards per attempt and 73 total TDs.
No. 10 Brian Westbrook
Brian Westbrook, the true double threat out of the back field.
He had at least 1,200 yards from scrimmage for five straight seasons, including 2,104 total yards in 2007 which led the league.
He's also had a decent post season career, compiling 925 yards and six TDs in post season play.
His stats for the decade are 9,785 yards from scrimmage and 66 TDs.
No. 9 Jamal Lewis
Lewis has rushed for 1,000 yards seven times this decade, including 2003 when he went for 2,066 yards at an amazing 5.3 yards per carry.
Lewis is one of only three backs to rush for over 10,000 yards this decade finishing with 10,607 yards at 4.2 yards per carry and 62 total TDs.
No. 8 Priest Holmes
After being very effective as a sometimes starter in Baltimore, the Chiefs acquired Holmes prior to the 2002 season, and it payed instant dividends.
Holmes had one of the best three year stretches any running back has ever had, racking up 6,500 yards from scrimmage and 60+ TDs between 2001 and 2003.
In 2004, he unfortunately suffered a severe injury and never returned to being a dominant back.
He finished the decade with 6,658 yards rushing at 4.6 yards per attempt, 2,589 yards receiving and 85 total TDs.
No. 7 Marshall Faulk
Faulk did a good bit of damage in the 90's too, but he's got enough to be on both decade's lists.
He was a post season star during the decade accumulating 1,070 yards and eight TDs while helping the Rams to two Super Bowls.
His stats for the decade: 8,601 yards from scrimmage, 73 total TDs and he averaged 4.7 yards per rush.
No. 6 Ahman Green
Green had at least 1,400 yards from scrimmage five straight, and six out of seven seasons between 2000 and 2006, going to four straight pro bowls.
His stats for the decade: 8,876 yards rushing, 2,881 yards recieving and 73 total TDs.
No. 5 Shaun Alexander
Alexander rushed for at least 1,100 yards and 14 TDs for five straight seasons. The best and last of which end up being in 2005, when he rushed for 1,880 yards and a then record 27 TDs, helping the Seahawks to their first ever Super Bowl birth that season.
His stats for the decade: 9,453 yards rushing at 4.3 yards per attempt and 112 total TDs, which is 14th all time.
No. 4 Clinton Portis
Portis isn't quiet, but his career has flown under the radar a bit.
He rushed for at least 1,200 yards in six of his first eight seasons, including going over 1,500 in three of his first four seasons, which is pretty amazing.
His stats for the decade: 9,696 yards rushing at 4.5 yards per attempt and 83 TDs.
No. 3 Tiki Barber
I was surprised Barber ended up this high on my list, but it's hard to argue with his numbers this decade.
9,514 yards rushing at 4.8 yards per attempt, 444 catches for 3,927 yards recieving and 58 total TDs.
Probably the only guy to ever end his career with three straight 2,000 yards seasons.
No. 2 Edgerrin James
Edgerrin James was without question one of the best backs of the decade.
Rushing for at least 1,000 yards six times; over 1,500 three of those. He also added another 1,072 yards in the post season to go with six TDs and helped the Cardinals get to their first Super Bowl.
His stats for the decade are : 10,693 yards rushing, 2,778 yards receiving and 74 total TDs.
No. 1 LaDainian Tomlinson
Was there any question who it would be?
12,490 rushing yards at 4.3 yards per carry, 530 receptions for 3,955 yards and 153 total TDs.
Five time pro bowler and 2006 league MVP, he is currently 8th all time on the rushing list and 3rd all time on the TD list.
All of his stats are this decade and he rushed for at least 1,100 yards his first eight seasons.