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Top Alabama Running Backs in the NFL: Najee Harris is already a star

Which NFL running backs once called Alabama home, and where do the former Crimson Tide RBs rank in today's NFL?

It’s safe to say that the Alabama Crimson Tide know a thing or two about turning college football running backs into NFL players. With yet another one set to make his entrance into the league in Brian Robinson Jr., where do all the current Alabama RBs stack up against one another? Who’s had the most success in 2021? Here’s the ranking of current Alabama running backs in the NFL.

Top Alabama running backs in the NFL

Who are the best Alabama running backs currently in the NFL? Here are the top five.

5. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints

The veteran of this group by a long shot, Mark Ingram has been doing his thing since 2011. He’s rushed for over 8,000 career yards, including 554 this season. After eight years with the New Orleans Saints, Ingram bounced around with the Baltimore Ravens in 2019-2020 to a half-year with the Houston Texans this season before returning to the Bayou. Ingram has been one of the best to do it on the gridiron over his career, reaching 1,000 yards in three seasons.

Ingram’s best years are behind him, but he’s still proven to be a valuable addition to the Saints backfield. The former Heisman Trophy winner has made believers out of us all.

4. Damien Harris, New England Patriots

A touchdown-scoring machine, Damien Harris has come on strong as the feature back for the New England Patriots this year. With 14 touchdowns to his credit, Harris has been the go-to guy around the red zone. Harris nearly eclipsed 1,000 yards this past season while also proving to be terrific in pass protection for his young quarterback. The Alabama backfield duo of Mac Jones and Harris is one on the rise.

3. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders

A true dual-threat by nature, Josh Jacobs has unfortunately lost a step in his rushing game this past season. Otherwise, he’d maintain his No. 1 spot among former Alabama running backs in the NFL. Still, Jacobs has recorded over 3,000 yards on the ground in his first three seasons. He filed career highs in receptions and receiving yards in 2021 but was kept out of the end zone through the air.

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Jacobs has proven to be worth the first-round selection used by the Raiders back in 2019. Jacobs should be a focal point in Las Vegas’ offense no matter what the new coaching regime looks like.

2. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

A burgeoning star in the NFL, Najee Harris has exploded onto the scene as a rookie in 2021. As one of just five running backs to total 1,000 yards or more on the ground by Week 17, Harris led the league’s running backs in receptions with 70. All told, Harris had 10 touchdowns and over 1,750 yards from scrimmage in a dominant debut campaign.

They’ll have a different quarterback in 2022, but one thing will remain constant in Pittsburgh: Harris is a game-changer. He’s also a very durable guy who can be counted on as the Steelers’ bell cow in a day and age where the term is relatively lost. Harris is a star.

1. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Of course, however, the top spot belongs to Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans. Henry, the reigning rushing crown holder, is already 71st all-time in rushing yards after just five seasons in his career. His 2021 season was marred by injury but Henry had previously rushed for over 1,000 yards in three straight seasons.

In 2020, he became just the eighth running back in history to run for 2,000 or more yards in a single season. His 2,027 rushing yards in 2020 are the fifth-most in a single season in NFL history. Henry is the best true running back in the NFL when he’s healthy.

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. He is also the co-host of Between the Hashes, a college football and NFL draft podcast. You can find his writing here. Follow him on Twitter @CamMellor

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