2011 could be the year of the running back in the NFL. Thanks to the lockout, quarterbacks and wide receivers may need more time to develop chemistry and get on the same page early in the season. Offensive coordinators will turn to their running backs to pick up the slack as passes fall harmlessly to the turf.
The new rules concerning practice time and full pads contact could also lead to a rushing revolution in the NFL. After one regular season game, it is evident that tackling is a skill that needs to be practiced. The Saints-Packers game was marred by many missed tackles.
NFL running backs are licking their chops at the prospect of running against defenses with rusty tackling techniques. As tacklers work to sharpen their skills, the NFL's fastest running backs will enjoy an uptick in their yards per carry and leave defenders grasping at air.
If any one of the players on this list is given the briefest opening to slither through, or finds himself matched up with a linebacker in open space, the result could be a quick trip to the end zone.