Top 10 RBs in the NFL – Best Running Backs in the NFL in 2012

Last Updated: September 6th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Another day, another Top 10 list for NFL betting fans to enjoy here at Bankroll Sports. Today, our countdown to the 2012 NFL season continues with a look at the Top 10 running backs in the NFL for the upcoming season.

MJD1: Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens: The things that Rice does for the Ravens are out of this world. This is a man that has played just four seasons in the league and has started for just three full seasons, yet he already has over 6,600 total yards from scrimmage. Rice has at least 60 receptions and at least 250 carries in each of the last three years, and he has accounted for at least 1,775 yards from scrimmage per season in that time. Forget about the touchdowns; others can do that. But no back moves the ball up and down the field like Rice does, and that clearly makes him the most valuable running back in the league.

2: LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia, Eagles: McCoy does a lot of the same things for the Eagles that Rice does for the Ravens, except this is a man that has a nose for the end zone as well. The Pitt Panther is a surprisingly bruising back even though he is just 5’11” and 208 lbs. He had 1,309 rushing yards and 17 scores last year in just 15 games, and he is clearly one of the up and comers that this league has at the running back position.

3: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars: We’ve heard him referred to as a “Little Ball of Hate” and the “Human Bowling Ball,” but whatever you want to call him, MJD is the real deal. He led the league in rushing last year on a Jacksonville squad that literally had no offensive line and zip for a passing game. We think that Jones-Drew is absolutely right to be holding out, especially knowing that he has run the ball an average of 20.7 times per game over the course of the last three years, accounting for a whopping 4,321 yards and 28 scores on the ground with over 1,000 more yards as a receiver in that stretch. If not for his holdout and the fear of a “Chris Johnson-esque” drop off, we would definitely have MJD rated at No. 1.

4: Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans: There’s no way that Johnson can drop out of our Top 5. He had a bad season last year, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t one of the most feared backs in the league. It wasn’t a mistake that he had a 2,000-yard campaign two seasons ago. CJ2K is the real deal, and he’ll be back in the saddle this year as one of the best backs in the league now that he isn’t facing the pressure of living up to his new contract out of a holdout.

5: Matt Forte, Chicago Bears: Forte is another one of these running backs that does it on the ground and in the passing game. He was rewarded with a new contract in the offseason by the Bears, and it’s a good thing that they did that. This is a man that has accounted for an average of 103.6 total yards per game over the course of his four years in the Windy City. The Tulane product is coming off of an injury that cost him the final four games of last season, but we think that Forte is going to be primed and ready to go for a big time 2012.

6: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: The only thing that is keeping All Day out of our Top 5 running backs is that ACL injury that he is coming off of that might cost him the very start of the season. Peterson is as talented of a back as there is, but we are just very cautious over this knee injury, one of the many knocks that he has suffered in his career.

7: Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders: Here is another man that is capable of being the best running back in football if given the opportunity to do so. Run DMC, just like Peterson, has all of the talent in the world, and he was leading the league in rushing last year before suffering what turned out to be a season-ending injury. Of course, there is a question as to whether it is McFadden or the Oakland offensive line that made him look that good, knowing that Michael Bush was able to step into the fold and do basically all of the same things that Run DMC was able to do in the second half of the season.

8: Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns: We might not see it this year, but Richardson is going to be every bit as good of a back as any on this list. He’s big, he’s strong, he can run between the tackles, and that speed burst that he was able to show when he got into space in college was no mistake; he’ll do the same thing at the NFL level. The only question is whether Richardson can really do this game in and game out in the NFL right away as a rookie on a team that is still atrocious. We think that he will.

9: Arian Foster, Houston Texans: Sure, we hear you. Foster had 1,200+ yards last season in a year that he was injured, and he is perennially one of the Top 5 picks in fantasy football. So how can he be down at No. 9 on our list of the Top 10 running backs in the league? The same reason that McFadden is down so low. When Foster was out of the fold, Ben Tate was able to really do some damage, and in the end, both guys almost ended up being 1,000-yard backs. We still aren’t all that convinced that Foster, who was an undrafted rookie just a few years ago, is the more talented of the two backs, but we do recognize that this Houston offensive line is the real deal and is the best unit in the league.

10: Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons: Ryan Mathews, Marshawn Lynch, Frank Gore, Steven Jackson, and Willis McGahee all want to know why they aren’t on this list at all, but we think that Turner has proven over the years that he is worthy of being called a Top 10 back in the NFL. Last year, he was third in the league in rushing 1,340 yards. Remember that this is a man that is only 5’10”, but he does weigh 247 pounds. He started as a bit of a scat back behind LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego before coming to Atlanta, and since that point, he has been awesome. “The Burner” has averaged 20.2 carries for 89.5 yards and 0.85 touchdowns per game as a rusher over the course of the last four years, and short of Jones-Drew, no back can say that. Still, Turner isn’t a valuable blocker in the passing game, nor is he a great receiver, which is why he is down on this list against some of the other more versatile RBs in the NFL.

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Thursday, September 6th, 2012 @ 6:41 am (EST)
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