Peyton Hillis and the Top 5 Power Backs in the NFL: Speed Isn't Everything

Mal SullyContributor IINovember 9, 2010

Peyton Hillis and the Top 5 Power Backs in the NFL: Speed Isn't Everything

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    CLEVELAND - NOVEMBER 07:  Running back Peyton Hillis #40 of the Cleveland Browns scores a touchdown in front of Jerod Mayo #51 of the New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 7, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty I
    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Keyword: Speed.

    That's what defines the National Football League today. And it's what predominates in the running attack of most teams.

    But remember when there were fewer speedy backs and more hard-nosed, lower-the-pads backs who just wanted to take the hit on you?

    So do I. Here is the list of the top five "power backs" in the NFL Today.

Peyton Hillis, Cleveland Browns

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    CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 03:  Running back Peyton Hillis #40 of the Cleveland Browns is hit by defenders Roy Williams #31 and Pat Sims #90 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 3, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Get
    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Peyton Hillis was traded to Denver in the offseason for Brady Quinn and was supposed to be the starting fullback over Lee Vickers.

    But suddenly the Browns' feature back, Jerome Harrison, got injured, so the team promoted Hillis to running back. The rest is history.

    This year he has run all over opposing defenses, whether it's rushing the ball or catching it. He is on pace to rush for over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns by the end of the year. If he does this, he not only accomplishes great numbers but achieves a spot in history.

    The power running back used to always be the starting back. But once defenses got smarter and could easily stop these power backs, teams found that speedy backs could break gaps quicker and evade tacklers. So the power back disappeared. But nowadays it appears that defenses not used to the hard-nosed style of running can get pounded.

    The Browns rely on Peyton Hillis to carry them through contests. Without him they would probably be 1-7. (Go Colt!)

    Statistics Prediction: 

    1,319 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns, with 62 receptions for 500 yards and two touchdowns.

Ryan Torain, Washington Redskins

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    Look at that run. 

    Ryan Torain is a pure tough runner, and you know it.

    He can hit that exelaration mark fast while hitting people at the same time for big gains. This year through five games he has 400 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, along with three receiving touchdowns. I think that number will increase big time as the Skins look to keep pressure off of Donovan McNabb.

    Statistics Prediction: 

    1,122 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, with 16 receptions for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

Toby Gerhart, Minnesota Vikings

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 14: Toby Gerhart #32 of the Minnesota Vikings runs the ball against the St. Louis Rams during the preseason game at Edward Jones Dome on August 14, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Vikings defeated the Rams 28-7. (Photo by Joe Robbi
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Currently Gerhart is a backup to Adrian Peterson and will probably not get the starting job for awhile, but he will help mightily on third down.

    He was a tough running back to take down at Stanford and led the country in rushing yards and touchdowns. He fell 23 votes short—the closest tally in NCAA history—to Mark Ingram for the Heisman.

    Toby Gerhart is one of the best No. 2 options in the league, if you ask me. He can really catch the ball and is good at earning yards after the catch.

    Also, Toby is so entertaining to watch because he can get the ball on just a short screen or a dive run and get yards by hitting people, often making the whole defense bring him down.

    Statistics Prediction: 

    431 rushing yards and three touchdowns, with 22 receptions for 220 yards and three touchdowns.

Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons

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    ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 07:  Michael Turner #33 of the Atlanta Falcons rushes away from Geno Hayes #54, E.J. Biggers #31 and Stylez G. White #91 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Georgia Dome on November 7, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    He size is his advantage. Michael Turner is a small back weighing a chunky 227 pounds, but that doesn't hold him back.

    Michael Turner has a unique style of running the football. He usually waits and pounds anybody who comes near him, then when he finds a hole...ZOOM!...He is gone.

    He was a career backup in San Diego, but when he hit free agency many teams where interested. He chose Atlanta, who gave him a six-year, $34 million contract. At the time I thought that was a bunch of BS, but was I wrong.

    In his first game as a Falcon he ran for 220 yards and two touchdowns! Ever since then he has been their missing piece. With himself, Matt Ryan and Roddy White, Atlanta is becoming a solid football team.

    Statistics Prediction: 

    1,450 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, with 16 receptions for 190 yards and one touchdown.

Bonus: Tim Tebow, Quarterback, Denver Broncos

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    Watch this video. 

    As you watch it, remember that this is just Tim Tebow's first touchdown in the NFL! (Preseason)

    Now he did get injured there, but it takes guts for a quarterback (thank you, John Elway) to take that kind of a hit.

    He has been used by the Broncos as a goal-line runner this year, but with the team slumping he may get some more playing time, even though Kyle Orton has been spectacular.

    Statistics Prediction:

    337 yards passing and two touchdowns, with 267 yards rushing and four touchdowns.