Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott made it known on Wednesday that he’s done with the disrespect for him as a running back. He sent off a series of tweets saying put some RESPECT on his name. He noted that since he’s come in the league, he has “dominated year in and year out” and the numbers don’t lie. He also wants people to stop diminishing his name to praise another talented running backs.
Check the stats. Since I entered this league I have dominated year in, year out. Put some RESPECT on my name.
— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) July 16, 2020
That series of tweets along with one of the rankings having Zeke outside of the top 10 made me take a look at exactly where I think Elliott ranks in the league today.
- Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers
In 2019, McCaffrey became the third running back in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and bring in 1,000 receiving yards. That was enough to earn him a 4 year, $64 million contract extension. I think it would be unfair to not have him as the best running back in the league after the numbers he put up in 2019.
- Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys
It doesn’t take long to get to Elliott when talking best running backs in the league. Since coming into the league in 2016, Elliott has rushed for 5,405 yards, which is more than 1,100 more yards than Todd Gurley who is in 2nd place in that same timeframe. There seems to be a misconception on Elliott’s pass catching ability as well. In 2019, only McCaffrey had more scrimmage yards than Zeke. Only two other running backs in NFL history have had at least 7,000 scrimmage yards, 40 rushing TDs and 150 catches in their first four years in the NFL. (LaDainian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis)
I could go on with impressive Zeke stats, but I think you get the point. You can say he’s lost a step, he has no burst etc… but what you can’t question is his overall production, durability and all around game as a running back in the NFL.
- Saquon Barkley – New York Giants
Saquon Barkley will be playing in his third NFL season in 2020. He has topped 1,000 rushing yards in his first two seasons, despite missing three games in 2019. The most impressive thing to me about Barkley is the production without having a star studded offensive line or other elite weapons around him. In their first two seasons, only Barry Sanders in NFL history has accumulated at least 20 total TDs and 3,400 scrimmage yards in under 625 touches.
- Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans
Derrick Henry signed a 4 year, $50 million contract extension on Wednesday after leading the league in rushing in 2019. That production came despite leading the NFL in carries against 8 or more man boxes. When you ask players, scouts and executives around the league, they all say Henry is the most intimidating rusher in the league because of how physical he is. Henry led his team to the AFC championship game along with Ryan Tannehill in 2019.
- Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints
Alvin Kamara exploded on the scene in New Orleans in 2017 winning offensive rookie of the year. After scoring 14 rushing touchdowns in 2018 along side running mate Mark Ingram, Kamara took over as the unquestionable lead back in 2019 but injuries really slowed him down. Despite that, he’s the only player in NFL history to have 2,000 rushing yards and 2,000 receiving yards and three Pro Bowl selections in his first three seasons.
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