In the early days of the NFL, the league wasn’t nearly as pass happy as it is right now. The common way to establish a consistent offensive attack was having a good running game. Times have changed, the league is a passing league right now, I’ve even seen many people question how valuable running backs are in today’s game, well, I’m just here to say the future of the running back position in the NFL is rising and looks very bright.
Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliot. Everyone football fan has heard those names before on the highlight shows or being selected super high in your fantasy drafts. They are three of the best running backs in the NFL today. Oddly enough none of those three will be older than 25 once next season begins. They are leading the running back youth movement. The youngest of the three, Elliot, will be just 22 by the start of next year and was in the MVP conversation in 2016. The sky is the limit for these rising stars.
Not only are those three running backs great rushers, the trio is also capable of doing something that a lot of running backs from past eras could not do at a high level: run routes and catch passes. This is especially true for Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson. Both of these backs can run routes that some wide receivers aren’t capable of doing. They help their teams in both the running game and passing game.
You’d be mistaken to think that those three guys are the only promising rising young RBs the NFL has to offer. You know who finished 2nd in the entire league in rushing yards this past season? Jordan Howard. He was a rookie this past year with the Chicago Bears and at just 22-years-old, it appears he will be the focus of the Bears new rebuild. Another rising young running back who played great this past season year was 23-year-old Jay Ajayi of the Miami Dolphins. Without him, there’s almost no chance the Dolphins make the playoffs this past season. Devonta Freeman, of the Atlanta Falcons, and Lamar Miller, of the Houston Texans, are two other young running backs who finished the season with over 1,000 yards rushing last season.
Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon are two of the top backs from the 2015 draft class. Gurley had his struggles this past season but a lot of that is due to the Los Angeles Rams offensive line. If he reaches any semblance of the level he did during his college days, the Rams might have a guy who could contend for the rushing crown for years to come.
There’s also a boatload of good young running backs who are about to enter the league. The 2017 NFL draft class is absolutely stacked at the running back position. Headlining running backs in the 2017 NFL draft class is LSU product Leonard Fournette, he has received comparisons to prime Adrian Peterson since his high school days. Dalvin Cook of Florida State and Christian Mccaffrey of Standford are two other running backs who many people believe will get drafted in the first round. Dalvin Cook has received comparisons to an injury-free Jamaal Charles partly because of his excellent speed. In college Christian Mccaffrey did not only show the ability to dominate by running the football, he also showed that he’s excellent at catching passes and has some dynamic playmaking ability.