NFL Debate: Is Arian Foster the best RB in the AFC South?

No NameAnalyst IAugust 8, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 02:  Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans celebrates after he scored a 3-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 2, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Perhaps no division has the crop of talent at running back that the AFC South has. When you look at the top backs in the league, you could argue that three of the four starters from this division are ranked in the top five overall. The debate now is, which one of them is the best?

Last year, Foster led the league in rushing and excelled in receiving yards as well. He was a pleasant surprise for the Texans, but he burst on to the scene early in the season. The buzz about him was obviously for real and many people consider him the first or second overall pick in fantasy football drafts everywhere.

The Jaguars offense clearly runs through Maurice Jones-Drew. The little-big guy can fit in tight places and run over people when he has to. He fought off injuries last season, but kept Jacksonville in many games. He also is a dual threat, both running and catching the ball in the backfield. Some people have said he is overrated, but I simply do not agree with that.

Chris Johnson is one of the fastest backs in the game today and his elusiveness has been giving defenses a headache for a long time now. Last year, teams were able to focus on stopping the run in Tennessee, but now that the Titans have Matt Hasselbeck, it should relieve some of that pressure. Johnson is still in a contract dispute with the team, as he is only making about $800,000 this season. Obviously he is worth more than that and he will prove it.

Of course when you have those three talented backs in the division, and your quarterback is Peyton Manning, you likely won't be doing as much running. The Colts were able to keep Joseph Addai after saving money on Manning's big contract. He may not be the runner that those other three are, but he is vital in the pass blocking game.

This trio of running backs is truly something special. All three are very talented and will be stars in this league for quite some time. While I love what Foster did last season, it was only one year. I know what Jones-Drew is capable of, but his injuries might finally be starting to catch up with him. I think Johnson is still the best running back in this division and he will stay there until Foster can repeat the kind of season he had last year.