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    NFL Running Back Rankings 2024: Derrick Henry Lands at No. 2, Thoughts on Top Rookies

    With the 2024 season on the horizon, it's time to update our NFL running back rankings. Christian McCaffrey is still No. 1, but who's after him?

    The NFL running back landscape has undergone significant changes from contract values to overall emphasis for offenses. But while most teams have gravitated toward pass-first approaches, they still need someone to wear down the defensive trenches.

    Most of these RBs have proven to be game-changers the moment they touch the football. With the 2024 season just around the corner, it’s time to update our NFL running back rankings.

    Offense: QB | WR | TE
    Defense: DT | EDGE | CBS

    2024 NFL Running Back Rankings

    Note: This list doesn’t include any players selected during the 2024 NFL Draft. That was an easy call, as there weren’t even any running backs taken during Round 1. However, we’ve added a section highlighting some notable rookies at the bottom.

    1) Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers

    Christian McCaffrey isn’t the greatest blocker, but he more than makes up for it when he has the ball in his hands. An electrifying talent, McCaffrey racked up 1,459 rushing yards and 564 receiving yards while posting 21 scrimmage touchdowns last season.

    Injuries were once a major concern for McCaffrey, but he’s missed just one game since joining the San Francisco 49ers. If he can stay healthy, the 28-year-old shouldn’t experience any dropoff in 2024.

    2023 STATS: 1,459 Rushing Yards, 14 Rushing Touchdowns, 5.4 Yards Per Carry, 67 Receptions, 564 Receiving Yards, 7 Receiving Touchdowns

    2) Derrick Henry, Baltimore Ravens

    Would you pick Derrick Henry as your running back if you were starting a new team? Probably not. He’s 30 years old, and he led the NFL in carries in four of the last five seasons. There’s a lot of tread on those tires.

    But ask yourself this: If you need one running back for one drive, either to take the lead or run out the clock, who are you taking? Henry, still physically imposing, might be the pick. It’s not a stretch to say that Henry might be enough to get the Baltimore Ravens over the hump and back into the Super Bowl.

    2023 STATS: 1,167 Rushing Yards, 12 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.2 Yards Per Carry, 28 Receptions, 214 Receiving Yards

    3) Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

    This is where running back rankings get tough. You hold injuries against some players but make exceptions for others. It’s unfair.

    Exhibit A: Nick Chubb, who tore an ACL in college and tore three ligaments during a game last season. There’s every reason to wonder whether he’ll be the same player in 2024, especially when you consider he’ll turn 29 years old in December.

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    However, he’s simply too good. When healthy, Chubb is probably the second-best running back in football, and you could make a case for him being the best. So, he gets the No. 3 spot, even though we don’t feel great about it.

    2023 STATS: 170 Rushing Yards, 6.1 Yards Per Carry, 4 Receptions, 21 Receiving Yards

    4) Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons

    Bijan Robinson didn’t set the world on fire during his rookie campaign, as running lanes were hard to come by in the Atlanta Falcons’ middling offense. Still, by the end of the season, it was easy to dream big about what Robinson might do in Year 2.

    He finished 2023 with 976 rushing yards to go along with 58 catches for 487 yards. With Kirk Cousins now running the offense, expect those numbers to increase in 2024.

    2023 STATS: 976 Rushing Yards, 4 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.6 Yards Per Carry, 58 Receptions, 487 Receiving Yards, 4 Receiving Touchdowns

    5) Saquon Barkley, Philadelphia Eagles

    Should the Philadelphia Eagles have given Saquon Barkey $26 million guaranteed in free agency? Probably not. Paying running backs is bad business in the NFL, especially those with lengthy injury histories.

    But Barkley is a rare breed. He’s good for at least a few missed games per season, but he never misses a beat once he returns to the field. And he deserves credit for posting great numbers throughout his career despite usually playing in a bad New York Giants offense. He’s a perfect fit for the Eagles, and a career season could be in store.

    2023 STATS: 962 Rushing Yards, 6 Rushing Touchdowns, 3.9 Yards Per Carry, 41 Receptions, 280 Receiving Yards, 4 Receiving Touchdowns

    6) Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts

    Jonathan Taylor was an emerging superstar through two seasons, but injuries limited his production in 2022 and 2023, as did a contract dispute with the Indianapolis Colts. Will we ever get another glimpse of the player who led the NFL with 1,811 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns in 2021?

    Our vote is “yes,” even if Taylor might never match that absurd production. Still just 25 years old, he’s under contract and primed for a major bounce-back season alongside Anthony Richardson.

    2023 STATS: 747 Rushing Yards, 7 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.4 Yards Per Carry, 19 Receptions, 153 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving Touchdown

    7) De’Von Achane, Miami Dolphins

    This might be too high for De’Von Achane, considering we punish some other running backs for small sample sizes. But 7.8 yards per carry is 7.8 yards per carry, and Achane was flat-out incredible when he was healthy last season.

    Blending real track speed with a surprisingly well-rounded game, Achane looked like one of the NFL’s best young running backs. Expect big things in 2024.

    2023 STATS: 800 Rushing Yards, 8 Rushing Touchdowns, 7.8 Yards Per Carry, 27 Receptions, 197 Receiving Yards, 3 Receiving Touchdowns

    8) Breece Hall, New York Jets

    Breece Hall tore his ACL as a rookie in 2022, but you wouldn’t have known it by watching him play in 2023. Playing a full 17 games, Hall posted 994 rushing yards and five scores to go along with a whopping 76 catches for 591 yards and four scores. He’s a true bell-cow running back, and he easily could rank top-five on this list a year from now.

    2023 STATS: 994 Rushing yards, 5 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.5 Yards Per Carry, 76 Receptions, 591 Receiving Yards, 4 Receiving Touchdowns

    9) Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs

    The NFL’s angriest running back, Isiah Pacheco runs like he has a blood feud with the turf. He’s not the most explosive back in football, nor is he all that productive as a pass catcher, but Pacheco is a physical, chain-moving back who’s an ideal fit in the Kansas City Chiefs offense.

    2023 STATS: 935 Rushing Yards, 7 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.6 Yards Per Carry, 44 Receptions, 244 Receiving Yards, 2 Receiving Touchdowns

    10) Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

    Alvin Kamara missed the first three games of last season due to a suspension and was inactive in the season finale, but he still finished with 694 rushing yards to go along with 75 catches for 466 yards and a touchdown.

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    He looked like his usual, shifty self, showing no signs of slowing down despite nearing his 29th birthday. That said, Kamara’s hold on a top-10 spot is tenuous, at best. A regression in 2024 wouldn’t be a surprise.

    2023 STATS: 694 Rushing Yards, 5 Rushing Touchdowns, 3.9 Yards Per Carry, 75 Receptions, 466 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving Touchdown

    11) Josh Jacobs, Green Bay Packers

    The league’s leading rusher in 2022, Josh Jacobs looked a bit out of shape early last season after ending his contract holdout. He lacked the burst and big-play ability that made him so successful the previous season.

    However, Jacobs rounded into form as the season progressed, ultimately finishing with 805 rushing yards to go along with 37 catches for 296 yards in 13 games. Now with the Green Bay Packers, Jacobs is still just 26 years old and primed for a strong season with his new team.

    2023 STATS: 805 Rushing Yards, 6 Rushing Touchdowns, 3.5 Yards Per Carry, 37 Receptions, 296 Receiving Yards

    12) Kyren Williams, Los Angeles Rams

    Kyren Williams was excellent when healthy last season, coming out of nowhere to post 1,144 yards and 12 scores in 12 games after registering just 139 yards as a rookie in 2022.

    But we want to see more, as Williams ran a bit hot and cold before consistently dominating late in the season. If Williams picks up where he left off, we might be talking about one of the five best running backs in football.

    2023 STATS: 1,144 Rushing Yards, 12 Rushing Touchdowns, 5 Yards Per Carry, 32 Receptions, 206 Receiving Yards, 3 Receiving Touchdowns

    13) Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins

    Raheem Mostert probably doesn’t get the respect he deserves after leading the NFL with 18 touchdowns while rushing for 1,012 yards. Perhaps that’s because Achane looked that good, or maybe it’s because both players are viewed as products of Mike McDaniel’s system.

    Regardless, we believe Mostert, with all his speed, is a very good back who might be headed for another big season.

    2023 STATS: 1,012 Rushing Yards, 18 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.8 Yards Per Carry, 25 Receptions, 175 Receiving Yards, 3 Receiving Touchdowns

    14) Aaron Jones, Minnesota Vikings

    Aaron Jones is seemingly always banged up. He’s missed multiple games in five of his 11 seasons, including six in 2023. He’ll also turn 30 years old in December and is entering the back nine of his career. You can’t blame the Packers for cutting Jones and upgrading to Jacobs.

    But that doesn’t mean Jones isn’t a good player. His numbers were solid last season, and he topped 100 yards in both of Green Bay’s playoff games. Jones still has something left in the tank, but how much?

    2023 STATS: 656 Rushing Yards, 2 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.6 Yards Per Carry, 30 Receptions, 233 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving Touchdown

    15) Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks

    Kenneth Walker III appeared primed for a big season in 2023 after excelling as a rookie in 2022. But injuries and an iffy offensive line limited his production, as Walker finished with fewer carries, yards, and touchdowns as a sophomore. His talent remains clear, though, and he could be headed for a breakout campaign in 2024.

    2023 STATS: 905 Rushing Yards, 8 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.1 Yards Per Carry, 29 Receptions, 259 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving Touchdown

    16) James Conner, Arizona Cardinals

    Perpetually underrated, James Conner is one of the better backs in football. He can run, catch, and block at a high level. He’s also tough and is viewed as a locker-room leader.

    Conner missed four games last season, but he arguably enjoyed his best campaign from an efficiency standpoint. He posted career-bests in yards per attempt and yards per game while finishing with a career-high 1,040 yards. Conner’s a good running back, but he isn’t great.

    2023 STATS: 1,040 Rushing Yards, 7 Rushing Touchdowns, 5 Yards a Carry, 27 Receptions, 165 Receiving Yards, 2 Receiving Touchdowns

    17) Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions

    A total liability in blitz pickup, Jahmyr Gibbs has some work to do to smooth out the rougher edges of his game. But the potential is immense.

    After a relatively cold start to his rookie season, Gibbs was on a 1,184-yard, 15-touchdown pace over his final 11 contests. His combination of speed, vision, and receiving ability make it easy to view Gibbs as a future star.

    2023 STATS: 945 Rushing Yards, 10 Rushing Touchdowns, 5.2 Yards Per Carry, 52 Receptions, 316 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving Touchdown

    18) Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots

    The New England Patriots offense was wretched the last two seasons, but where would it have been without Rhamondre Stevenson? Tough, deceptively fast, and improved as a pass catcher, Stevenson has emerged as one of the better all-around backs in the league.

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    He also showed significant improvement with his blitz pickup in 2023. Durability isn’t a concern; however, Stevenson wore down late in the last two seasons after handling huge workloads. If he can stay healthy, Stevenson can establish himself as a borderline top-10 back.

    2023 STATS: 619 Rushing Yards, 4 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.0 Yards Per Carry, 38 Receptions, 238 Receiving Yards

    19) D’Andre Swift, Chicago Bears

    D’Andre Swift was the first player off the board in NFL free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $24 million deal with the Chicago Bears. Kudos to him for cashing in after a career season. Time is everything in the NFL. But is Swift worth it? It’s debatable.

    He disappointed throughout his first three seasons with the Detroit Lions but broke out for the Eagles in 2023 while posting 1,049 rushing yards and 39 catches. Was he a product of Philly’s system, or was that the real Swift? The answer probably is somewhere in the middle.

    2023 STATS: 1,049 Rushing Yards, 5 Touchdowns, 4.6 Yards Per Carry, 39 Receptions, 214 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving Touchdown

    20) Travis Etienne Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars

    Another player who could soar up these rankings over the next year, Travis Etienne Jr. posted over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons while racking up a combined 93 catches.

    The question remains: How much better can he be? It feels like Etienne has already neared his peak, which isn’t an insult. He’s a legitimate franchise running back, but Etienne might not be a star.

    2023 STATS: 1,008 Rushing Yards, 11 Rushing Touchdowns, 3.8 Yards Per Carry, 58 Receptions, 476 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving Touchdown

    21) James Cook, Buffalo Bills

    Another speedy back who struggles to pick up a blitz, James Cook was a breakout star in the second half of last season. He averaged 107 all-purpose yards over the final eight games while establishing himself as one of the top weapons in the Buffalo Bills offense.

    However, Cook is the classic example of a player who might be better in fantasy football than he is in real life. The production is real, but he’s not great between the tackles, and his blocking needs work.

    2023 STATS: 1,122 Rushing yards, 2 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.7 Yards Per Carry, 44 Receptions, 445 Receiving Yards, 4 Receiving Touchdowns

    22) David Montgomery, Detroit Lions

    His backfield mate has a higher ceiling, but David Montgomery is a quality back in his own right. Tough as nails and effective in the red zone, Montgomery posted 1,015 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first season with the Lions. Gibbs’ fantasy managers won’t like it, but Montgomery isn’t going anywhere.

    2023 STATS: 1,015 Rushing Yards, 13 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.6 Yards Per Carry, 16 Receptions, 117 Receiving Yards

    23) Tony Pollard, Tennessee Titans

    Tony Pollard’s debut as the No. 1 back with the Dallas Cowboys didn’t go as expected. Yes, he finished with 1,005 rushing yards and 311 receiving yards, but his efficiency plummeted. Now with the Tennessee Titans, Pollard likely will split carries with Tyjae Spears in 2024.

    2023 STATS: 1,005 Rushing Yards, 6 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.0 Yards Per Carry, 55 Receptions, 311 Receiving Yards

    24) Joe Mixon, Houston Texans

    Never a particularly efficient back, Joe Mixon still finished 2023 with over 1,000 rushing yards for the fourth time in seven seasons. He also topped 50 catches for the second consecutive season.

    But it wasn’t enough to prevent his departure from the Cincinnati Bengals, who traded the 27-year-old to the Houston Texans this offseason.

    2023 STATS: 1,034 Rushing Yards, 9 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.0 Yards Per Carry, 52 Receptions, 376 Receiving Yards, 3 Receiving Touchdowns

    25) Brian Robinson Jr., Washington Commanders

    Brian Robinson Jr. showed a ton of promise during his first two seasons, but he’s yet to truly break out. Six combined fumbles were an issue, as was his limited ability as a pass catcher.

    Robinson should be Washington’s feature back in 2024, and there’s a good chance he will top 800 rushing yards for the first time. But he will split time with Austin Ekeler, who signed with the Commanders on a two-year deal.

    2023 STATS: 733 Rushing Yards, 5 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.1 Yards Per Carry, 36 Receptions, 368 Receiving yards, 4 Receiving Touchdowns

    26) Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Rachaad White’s first season as the feature back in Tampa was largely a success. He finished with 990 yards and six touchdowns to go along with 64 catches for 549 yards and three scores.

    But the 3.6 yards per carry weren’t good, nor was his performance in pass protection. White is talented, but he still has a lot to prove in 2024.

    2023 STATS: 990 Rushing Yards, 6 Rushing Touchdowns, 3.6 Yards Per Carry, 64 Receptions, 549 Receiving Yards, 3 Receiving Touchdowns

    27) Austin Ekeler, Washington Commanders

    Is Ekeler washed up? Ekeler’s final season with the Los Angeles Chargers saw him record a career-worst 3.5 yards per carry and his lowest receptions total since 2018. He still can make plays, but his best days are behind him.

    2023 STATS: 628 Rushing Yards, 5 Rushing Touchdowns, 3.5 Yards Per Carry, 51 Receptions, 436 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving Touchdown

    28) Jaylen Warren, Pittsburgh Steelers

    Najee Harris is the bigger name, but Jaylen Warren is the better back. He’s more efficient, and he’s better as a pass catcher. Really, the only thing Harris has on Warren is superior performance in pass protection.

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    Warren finished his second season with 784 rushing yards and four touchdowns to go along with 61 catches for 370 yards.

    2023 STATS: 784 Rushing Yards, 4 Rushing Touchdowns, 5.3 Yards Per Carry, 61 Receptions, 370 Receiving Yards

    29) Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

    He just isn’t that good. Najee Harris’ numbers have always been a product of volume rather than efficiency. In his three seasons as a pro, Harris posted yards-per-carry totals of 3.9, 3.8, and 4.1, respectively. At this point, Harris is who he is: a solid, durable back with a high floor but a low ceiling.

    2023 STATS: 1,055 Rushing Yards, 8 Rushing touchdowns, 4.1 Yards Per Carry, 29 Receptions, 170 Receiving Yards

    30) Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons

    Tyler Allgeier is a backup in Atlanta, but he could be a lead back for other teams. The second-year pro finished 2023 with 683 yards and four touchdowns to go along with 18 catches for 193 yards with a score. He also earned Pro Football Focus‘ highest pass-blocking grade among all running backs.

    2023 STATS: 686 Rushing Yards, 4 Rushing Touchdowns, 3.7 Yards Per Carry, 18 Receptions, 193 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving Touchdown

    31) Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers

    Chuba Hubbard was supposed to be Miles Sanders’ backup, but he earned the role of Carolina’s lead back early in the season.

    The numbers don’t jump off the page, but Hubbard still racked up 905 yards and five trips to the end zone, plus 39 catches for 233 yards. He’s a solid player.

    2023 STATS: 902 Rushing Yards, 5 Rushing Touchdowns, 3.8 Yards Per Carry, 39 Receptions, 233 Receiving Yards

    32) Devin Singletary, New York Giants

    Someone forgot to tell Devin Singletary that Dameon Pierce was the primary back in Houston. After four solid seasons with the Bills, Singletary joined the Texans and posted a career-high 898 rushing yards. He signed with the Giants in free agency and appears primed to fill Barkley’s shoes as the top back in New York.

    2023 STATS: 898 Rushing Yards, 4 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.2 Yards Per Carry, 30 Receptions, 193 Receiving Yards

    Unranked Rookie RBs

    • Jonathon Brooks, Carolina Panthers
      The Panthers selected Jonathon Brooks with the 14th pick in Round 2. Carolina has Hubbard and Sanders on the roster, but neither is a true franchise back. Brooks has that kind of potential, but the start of his rookie season might be delayed due to the torn ACL he suffered last November.
    • Trey Benson, Arizona Cardinals
      By selecting Trey Benson with the second pick in Round 3, the Arizona Cardinals showed they’re planning for the future at running back. Conner still projects as the top back in Arizona, but he’ll turn 29 next season, and a regression wouldn’t surprise anyone. Benson is a talented runner and pass-catcher, making it easy to envision him as a future every-down back.
    • Blake Corum, Los Angeles Rams
      Why would the Rams use a third-round pick on a running back despite having Williams on the roster? Well, injuries cost Williams 12 games over the last two seasons, so the Rams needed a backup plan. Blake Corum is small (5’8″) but has elite speed and is ultra-competitive. If Williams gets hurt, Corum should be able to pick up the slack.

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