10) Derrius Guice, WSH
2018 stats: N/A
A consensus top-40 talent from the 2018 NFL draft, Guice suffered a torn ACL in the first quarter of the Washington Redskins’ preseason opener against the New England Patriots that ended his rookie campaign. Ironically, the injury occurred on a play which that showcased everything he was poised to bring to the Redskins’ offense. He’s back this year and has already been proclaimed as the team’s biggest x-factor by USA Today.
9) Jordan Howard, PHI
2018 stats: 250 attempts, 935 yards, 9 touchdowns
In late March the Philadelphia Eagles added one of the standout young runners in the NFL. Howard eclipsed 1100 yards in his first two seasons. Due to the emergence of Tarik Cohen in Chicago and Howard’s yards-per-carry average taking a slight dip, the Eagles were able to snag him for a sixth-round pick. For a team that went from third in rushing in 2017 to 28th in 2018, Howard presents a chance to get back to the rushing tendencies that LaGarette Blount allowed them to have.
8) Kerryon Johnson, DET
2018 stats: 118 att, 641 yds, 3 TDs
The volume should be much higher for second-year running back Kerryon Johnson. From weeks 3 to 11 he showed he is more than capable of being the Lions number one back. In fact, in the only two games they handed him the ball more than 15 times he went for 101 yards and 158 yards.
7) Aaron Jones, GB
2018 stats: 133 att, 728 yds, 8 TDs
Jones finally secured the starting running back position after a brief suspension sidelined him for the first two games. Following his return, the Packers jostled with a three-man backfield before they gave him the keys in week 8. From weeks 8 to 14 he only was held out of the end zone once.
6) Dalvin Cook, MIN
2018 stats: 133 att, 615 yds, 2 TDs
Cook has battled with injuries since he entered the league, but his talent still can’t be denied. His 4.7 yards-per-carry and 7.7 yards-per-reception makes him a threat rushing and receiving. The hiring of Gary Kubiak can only help him, but that’s only if the third-year pro can stay healthy.
5) Sony Michel, NE
2018 stats: 209 att, 931 yds, 6 TDs
New England has a reputation of finding success with players other teams turn down. Michel is not one of those. Michel missed three games during the regular season, but still nearly eclipsed 1000 yards rushing. He also finished the season with six touchdowns on the year. However, in the postseason, in New England style, Michel shined the brightest. In three games he rushed for 336 yards and accumulated six touchdowns. His arrow only points up from there.
4) Todd Gurley, LAR
2018 stats: 256 att, 1,251 yds, 17 TDs, 59 rec, 580 rec yds, 4 rec TDs
Gurley only carried the ball 30 times during the Rams super bowl run with 16 of those coming in their first game against Dallas. From week 14 on, Gurley only eclipsed 50 yards rushing once. And it was mostly due to injury. He is still is a respected back in this league. But his health remains a key factor in what Gurley we will see in 2019.
3) Le’Veon Bell, NYJ
2018 stats: N/A
Was he a product of Pittsburg’s offense? Did the weapons in Pittsburg help boost his stats? Only time will tell.
2) Alvin Kamara, NO
2018 stats: 194 att, 883 yds, 14 TDs, 81 rec, 709 rec yds, 4 rec TDs
Kamara saw more of a workload on the ground this year, which was partially due to the absence of former teammate Mark Ingram through the first few weeks of the season. The backfield is all Kamara’s now. Though his receptions remained the same from 2017 to 2019, is carries went up by 74 and his rushing touchdown total went up by six. Kamara averaged 152.8 scrimmage yards per game and it will be interesting to see what Sean Payton does with the unquestionable RB1 in New Orleans.
1) Saquon Barkley, NYG
2018 stats: 261 att, 1,307 yds, 11 TDs, 91 rec, 721 yds, 4 TDs
Barkley was the entire Giants’ offense and he was rewarded with the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. With Odell Beckham being shipped to Cleveland and Eli Manning still under center it’s crazy to think we may see his workload increase. Though Sterling Shepard is a nice receiver, we know he is no OBJ. If Eli continues to regress you have to wonder how much can the Giants rely on one man to carry their offense? But for now, Barkley is undoubtedly the most dynamic threat the Cowboys will see out of the backfield in 2019.
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