Running backs always have the greatest amount of volatility of all positions so getting a heads up on any back that might find a more favorable situation next year is always critical. So is knowing which backs appear best posed to do something in 2020 should his opportunities improve.
Another critical component that gets hidden in total numbers is the quality of the offensive line. And working within a top passing offense also tends to make the running lanes easier to find. There are many characteristics and factors involved with valuing a running back, so here are a few metrics that can help further define a player.
Notable Running Backs
Tevin Coleman/Latavius Murray – Both players enjoyed good blocking with their respective “yards before contact” but those were the only top marks for each player. Both had that advantage and yet were among the worst with yards after contact. Not impressive.
Devin Singletary – Appears posed for a solid sophomore campaign after posting among the highest marks in almost all rushing related metrics. He already assumed the primary rushing role and recorded one of the best marks for broken tackles in just his first season.
Josh Jacobs – He wasn’t a full-time back in Alabama which speaks volumes about what they had for talent on hand. His rookie year saw him assume a full-time role from the start and he was effective after contact and breaking tackles. He’s one of the best gambles in all of Las Vegas this year.
Kenyan Drake – He not only ranked No. 2 with yards per carry (5.2), but that was comingled with some games back in Miami. The Cardinals had one of the worst lines coming into 2019, so either the Dolphins wasted a stud running back or Drake is just a late bloomer. He’s a nice fit for their Air-Raid system.
Nick Chubb – This is what you want to see. He did not have a great offensive line as shown from his yards before contact, but he ranked among the best with what he did once he had the ball and was contacted by the defense. He’s another back with growing promise heading into 2020.
Raheem Mostert – Hard to wrap your head around this guy who was never really a running back before. He was a special teams ace and a speedster with some size. But he roared into prominence for the 49ers last season with top marks when he touched the ball.
Miles Sanders – He’s another rookie that got better down the stretch and his stats as a receiver mean that he’ll stay on the field more. The Eagles love their committee but Jordan Howard is a free agent and they have to consider at least stepping up Sanders’ role all season.