Top 5 Running Backs Under 25

Russell TakeharaContributor IIINovember 30, 2011

Top 5 Running Backs Under 25

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    The running back revolution is upon us.

    So much is asked of the position that many promising players cannot cut it in this league. No longer just a ball carrier, a running back must be able to catch, break tackles and pass protect. The wear and tear of the job description leads to a low life expectancy, even among the best backs.

    Running backs of yesterday will be remembered, but not missed as several young playmakers are taking the league by storm. They win games and fill highlight reels with their freakish athleticism, breakaway speed and dangerous versatility. Running backs are able to take the step from college and contribute immediately. 

    Here is the next generation of running back nightmares.

    Check out: Top 5 Quarterbacks Under 25

Ray Rice: Age 24

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    Coming out of Rutgers in 2008 as a second-round pick, Rice projected to be a very nice third-down back. He quickly took over the starting role and has cemented his status among the game's top ball-carriers.

    He had his best season in '09 when he ran for 1,339 rushing yards and 702 receiving—a true dual threat.

    With Flacco's inconsistency, Rice is the heart and soul of the Raven's offense.

Ben Tate: Age 24

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    In his second year, Tate has put up some eye-opening numbers as Arian Foster's backup.

    With 712 yards and 5.6 yards per attempt, Tate is one of the most efficient runners all season and his totals rival that of many full-time starters.

    He is in a similar situation as Michael Turner when he spelled LaDainian Tomlinson. Once Ben Tate gets his own offense, he could be a beast on the field.

Darren McFadden: Age 24

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    Now in his fourth NFL season, Darren McFadden has not lived up to the expectations that made him the fourth overall pick in 2008. He has, however, shown Raider fans flashes of the ability and production that makes him a potential superstar.

    If he is able to maintain his health, Run DMC is a feared offensive weapon who can rank among the game's elite.

LeSean McCoy: Age 23

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    At 23 years of age, the young McCoy is dominating the game. He leads the league with 1,050 rushing yards along with 13 total touchdowns. He has been the lone bright spot on a underachieving Eagles team and it appears Andy Reid needs to focus more of the offense around their young star.

    He has blazing speed and the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. If it weren't for his team's dismal standing, he would be getting serious MVP consideration.

    LeSean McCoy is taking over the game.

Trent Richardson: Age 21

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    The highly gifted Trent Richardson has yet to step on an NFL field, but the way scouts rave about his potential, he seems ready to shine in many pro backfields already.

    The Heisman candidate has such gifted physical ability that Alabama strength and conditioning coaches have limited the amount of weight he is allowed to put up because he has reached dangerous workout levels.

    His draft stock has been compared to that of future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson and is a lock to go in the top 10, if not the top five.


    Check out: Top 5 Quarterbacks Under 25