Ranking the best running backs before the 2022 NFL season


Few things are more pleasing as a fan than having an unstoppable running back.

When your player runs into monstrous defenders and comes out on the other side, he looks like a superhero.

Even though most running backs aren’t highly-touted first-round picks, the NFL is full of stud backfield options.

Here are the 10 best running backs entering the 2022 season:

1. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Speaking of superheroes, look no further than this 6-foot-3, 247-pound beast. Henry led the league in carries, rushing yards and touchdowns in 2019 and 2020. He was on his way to doing the same in 2021 before an injury limited him to just eight games. Despite playing less than half of the season, Henry still finished sixth in touchdowns (10) and ninth in yards (937).

2. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts

As Henry reaches the end of his prime, Taylor is just entering his. The 23-year-old led the league in carries, rushing yards and touchdowns last season, finishing second in Offensive Player of the Year voting and earning First-Team All-Pro. Only six players in NFL history have had more rushing yards in their first two seasons than Taylor (2,980).

3. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

When healthy, no running back in the NFL is a better dual-threat option than McCaffrey. The first two words of the previous sentence are the problem though, as CMC has played 10 games in total over the last two years. He didn’t miss a game in his first three seasons, peaking in 2019 with 2,392 combined rushing and receiving yards and 19 total touchdowns.

4. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

Fresh off three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, Cook remains one of the league’s top backs. He’s scored 35 rushing touchdowns since 2019, only trailing Henry and is six ahead of third place despite missing eight games. The former second-round pick has made three straight Pro Bowl appearances as he enters his age-27 season.

5. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

Despite sharing Cleveland’s backfield with Kareem Hunt, Chubb has emerged as a dominant running back since being drafted in 2018. He has three Pro Bowl appearances and three 1,000-yard seasons, plus 996 yards in his rookie campaign. Chubb is an incredibly consistent player, each season scoring eight or more touchdowns and averaging five or more yards per carry.

6. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

If his rookie year was any indication, Harris is in for a stellar career. He rushed for 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns while adding 74 receptions, despite playing behind a weak Steelers offensive line. The first-round pick didn’t miss a game and was rewarded with a Pro Bowl appearance in his maiden campaign.

7. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

Undrafted in 2017, Ekeler began his career as a backup before quickly earning playing time. Last season was his best yet, finishing with 911 rushing yards, 647 receiving yards and 20 total touchdowns. With Justin Herbert as his quarterback, Ekeler gets less attention from defenses and is clearly able to make them pay.

8. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

Mixon was an above-average running back in his first four seasons, but he took things to another level in 2021. The Bengals made it to the Super Bowl, and even though Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase got most of the attention, Mixon was a key component. He rushed for 1,205 yards and 13 touchdowns – both ranking top-five in the NFL.

9. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Since entering the league in 2017, all Kamara has done is make the Pro Bowl. For five straight seasons, the former third-round pick has proved draft experts wrong. Kamara has 68 total touchdowns since 2017, which leads the NFL. He has surpassed 1,300 yards from scrimmage in all five seasons.

10. Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After the Jaguars drafted Fournette at No. 4 overall in 2017, it seemed like he was destined for stardom. While Fournette had flashes of brilliance in Jacksonville, he’s grown to national fame on the big stage with Tom Brady and the Bucs. Fournette had four touchdowns in four postseason games when the Bucs won Super Bowl LV, and he followed that up with 10 total touchdowns in 2021.

Honorable mention: Aaron Jones; Saquon Barkley; Ezekiel Elliott; D’Andre Swift; James Conner

Contact Us