Stuck in the Backseat: 6 Backup NFL Running Backs Who Could Star Elsewhere
As the NFL continues to change into a pass-first league, the running game is a second thought.
Starting running backs continue to get 20 carries, with 100 yards a game, however, their backups are lucky to get five-to-eight carries.
Teams like Green Bay, New England and Carolina have shed away from the running game, getting most of their offense from the passing game.
With that said, there are many running backs unable to display there talents, thus making them a non-factor in the league.
Here are six backup running backs I believe would star if given the chance to be a starting back in the NFL.
Tashard Choice, Washington Redskins
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I've been on the Tashard Choice bandwagon for a while now, and I'm not jumping off just yet. Until this season, Choice put up big numbers during his limited opportunities.
From 2008-2010, Tashard Choice posted 1,064 yards and eight touchdowns, until rushing for just 75 yards on 28 carries and no touchdowns this season. Choice was cut two weeks ago after DeMarco Murray's breakout game versus St. Louis.
Washington claimed him off waivers after Tim Hightower had a season-ending injury.
Choice has never been given an opportunity to be a starting back, having Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Demarco Murray in front of him in Dallas. In Washington, Ryan Torain and Roy Helu are the teams top backs.
Mike Shanahan loves to switch running backs around, so Choice may finally get his opportunity in Washington.
Mike Goodson, Carolina Panthers
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Carolina's "Double Trouble" isn't so much trouble anymore, as DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have combined for 1,821 yards and six touchdowns in the last two seasons, after each rushing for over 1,000 yards in 2009.
Now with quarterback Cam Newton in Carolina, the running game is all but vanished.
Mike Good, Carolina's third-string running back, posted 452 yards and three touchdowns last season filling in for an injured DeAngelo Williams.
Many believed Carolina should've let Williams sign elsewhere this offseason, allowing Goodson to be the teams No. 2 back.
While injuries have led to him having zero carries this season, the potential for Goodson is still there, and if given an opportunity, could be a legit starting back.
Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers
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During the 2010 draft, running back Jonathan Dwyer was expected to be a first-round pick, ranking close to Bills' first-round pick CJ Spiller.
However, Dwyer fell all the way to the sixth-round, being picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jonathan Dwyer impressed this preseason, rushing for 175 yards and a touchdown.
With running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore dealing with injuries early on, Dwyer got some opportunities to show what he can do. He had a 76-yard run Week 5 against Tennessee.
Michael Bush, Oakland Raiders
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Michael Bush was considered a top 10 pick and Heisman Trophy candidate entering his senior year at Louisville University, until a broken leg in the first game versus Kentucky caused him to end his college career.
Bush entered into the NFL Draft the following year, and fell to the fourth round, where the Oakland Raiders selected him.
Although he has backed up Darren McFadden his entire career, Bush has improved his rushing total each season by 100 yards. He's on pace to continue that streak this season.
Michael Bush is arguably the leagues best backup, and has only one year remaining on his contract, and will surely be one of the more pursued players this Summer.
He may finally get his opportunity to be a feature back next season. After battling back from a broken leg that was potentially career-ending, Bush deserves it.
Mike Tolbert, San Diego Chargers
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Mike Tolbert was an undrafted free agent out of Coastal Carolina University after the 2008 NFL Draft.
Listed as a fullback at the beginning of his career, Tolbert has made a name for himself as a running back, rushing for 1,166 yards and 16 touchdowns in three and a half seasons. This season, he has rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns.
While Tolbert is officially listed as the team's backup running back, he shares carries with 2010 first-round pick Ryan Matthews.
Tolbert was franchised as a fullback, so San Diego got him at a discounted price this season, but things could get pricey if they plan to keep him around next season.
Mike Tolbert has everything you want in a starting back, and could easily go somewhere and be a teams feature back.
Ben Tate, Houston Texans
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Ben Tate was selected in the second-round of the 2010 NFL Draft, however, never played in a regular season game during his rookie year after breaking his ankle during the preseason, leading him to being placed on injured-reserve.
Tate was able to get healthy over the Summer, and has created the best one-two running back punch in the NFL today.
Through eight games this season, Ben Tate has posted 623 yards and two touchdowns. Tate has only started one of those games, with arguably the best running back in the game, Arian Foster, in front of him.
Foster and Tate have both rushed for 100 yards in a game twice this season.
Tate has everything you want in a feature back, and if Houston would be smart to trade him to a team that needs one while the price for him is at his highest.