The running back position is very unique in the current NFL landscape. There are only a few players who are truly game-breaking at the position. However, there are a ton of players who are viable and can contribute to a team’s success on the ground. Running back is also a violent position, so teams must have some depth in case their starter gets hurt. Also, a lot of the success of running backs is determined by the offensive line, but for this specific exercise, we’ll focus on the guys who will actually be carrying the football.
Without further ado, let’s break down all 32 running back rooms, rank each team’s running back situation and put them into tiers.
2023 NFL RB Rankings
* designates a rookie
No. 1 San Francisco 49ers
Christian McCaffery, Elijah Mitchell, Jordan Davis and Tyrion Davis-Prince
No. 2 Green Bay Packers
Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Patrick Taylor and Tyler Goodson
No. 3 Atlanta Falcons
Bijan Robinson*, Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson
No. 4 Cleveland Browns
Nick Chubb, Jerome Ford and Demetric Felton
No. 5 Tennessee Titans
Derrick Henry, Tyjar Spears*, Hassan Haskins and Julius Chestnut
The 49ers, Falcons and Packers have loaded running back rooms. All three of these teams have at least two players who would be getting starting snaps on other teams. McCaffery is the ultimate do it all back while Aaron Jones and AJ Dillion form the best duo in the league. Rookie Bijan Robinson has the potential to be better than everyone. Add in sophomore Tyler Allegier and veteran Cordarrell Patterson, and it’s pretty obvious Atlanta will focus on running the ball this season.
The Browns and Titans have the luxury of having two of the three best running backs in all of football. Despite limited depth behind Chubb and Henry, these guys are so good on their own that their team’s running back room is worthy of tier one just because of their skill sets.
No. 6 Philadelphia Eagles
D’Andre Swift, Kenneth Gainwell, Rashaad Penny and Boston Scott
No. 7 Los Angeles Chargers
Austin Ekler, Josh Kelly, Isaiah Spiller and Larry Rountree
No. 8 Indianapolis Colts
Jonathan Taylor, Zack Moss, Evan Hull* and Jake Funk
No. 9 Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs, Ameer Abdullah, Brandon Bolden and Zamir White
No. 10 New Orleans Saints
Alvin Kamara, Jamaal Williams, Kendre Miller* and Eno Benjamin
No. 11 Detroit Lions
David Montgomery, Jahmyr Gibbs*, Craig Reynolds and Justin Jackson
No. 12 Dallas Cowboys
Tony Pollard, Malik Davis, Deuce Vaughn* and Rick Dwodle
No. 13 Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Mixon, Trayveon Williams, Chase Brown* and Chris Evans
Most of the tier-two teams have a stud lead running back. The Chargers, Colts, Saints, Cowboys and Bengals all have players who are in discussion to be in the top-10 of the position. The reason some of these teams are higher than others is depth. Josh Kelly and Isaiah Spiller are great backups to the stud Austin Ekler, while Jamaal Williams and Alvin Kamara form a potentially deadly duo. Home run hitters such as Josh Jacobs and Tony Pollard also simply cannot be ignored.
As for the Eagles, Lions and potentially the Colts, these teams have multiple running backs that can hurt you. Swift, Gainwell and Penny all bring a different dynamic to Phildelphia’s backfield. Montgomery has been very solid in his career, and Gibbs has the potential to be a Tony Pollard-type. The versatility these teams possess has them ranked right with the best of them.
No. 14 New York Giants
Saquon Barkley, Matt Breida, Eric Gray* and Gary Brightwell
No. 15 Kansas City Chiefs
Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Deneric Prince*
No. 16 Carolina Panthers
Miles Sanders, Chuba Hubbard, Raheem Blackshear and Spencer Brown
No. 17 Denver Broncos
Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, Tony Jones Jr. and Tyler Badie
No. 18 Jacksonville Jaguars
Travis Etienne Jr., Tank Bigsby*, JaMycal Hasty and D’Ernest Johnson
No. 19 New York Jets
Breece Hall, Michael Carter and Israel Abanikanda*
No. 20 Washington Commanders
Brian Robinson, Antonio Gibson, Chris Rodriguez Jr.* and Jaret Patterson
No. 21 Seattle Seahawks
Ken Walker, Zach Charbonnet*, DeeJay Dallas and Kenny McIntosh*
There is a lot of talent here and plenty of these teams are capable of jumping to higher tiers this season, but most of these teams have some lingering question marks. Saquon Barkley will return for the Giants, but outside of him, the rest of the Giants’ running back room looks bleak. The opposite is true for the Chiefs and Panthers, who don’t have a home run hitter, but have a great overall room filled with guys who can contribute on almost every down and distance.
The Broncos, Jaguars and Jets all have potential studs, but injuries have hampered their production so far in their young careers. Hall, Etienne and Williams are all supremely talented, and if they stay healthy, they can certainly elevate these teams. The Commanders and Seahawks both have an interesting combo of players who are talented and bring different skill sets to the table.
No. 22 New England Patriots
Rhamondre Stevenson, Pierre Strong Jr. and Ty Montgomery
No. 23 Miami Dolphins
Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr. and De’VOn Achane*
No. 24 Baltimore Ravens
J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill and Melvin Gordon
No. 25 Houston Texans
Dameon Pierce, Devin Singletary, Mike Boone and Dare Ogunbowale
No. 26 Pittsburgh Steelers
Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren and Antony MacFarland
No. 27 Chicago Bears
Khalil Herbert, D’Onta Foreman, Roschon Johnson* and Travis Homer
No. 28 Buffalo Bills
James Cook, Damien Harris and Latavius Murray
No. 29 Minnesota Vikings
Alexander Mattison, Ty Chander, Kene Nwangwu and DeWayne McBride*
With running back being such an interchangeable position, you see some good teams ranked very low here. The Ravens, Dolphins and Bills should all be fighting for a playoff spot despite their lack of a true home run hitter in the run game. In the Ravens and the Bills’ case, their QB can pick up tough yards on the ground and run designed RPOs and run plays, so their running backs need to be best at pass protection more than anything.
The Patriots and Vikings have good lead-backs and relatively unknown backup running backs. In the NFL, a lot of great running backs come out of the woodwork, so there’s no real reason to think these units are going to be really bad this season.
The Bears, Steelers and Texans are hoping their young rushers develop into lead-backs. Najee Harris has shown flashes in Pittsburgh but is struggling to find some consistency. Dameon Pierce looked like an animal at times last season, and he can potentially highhandedly improve the Texans ranking throughout the season. The Bears also have a solid mix of talent.
No. 30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rachaad White, Chase Edmonds, Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Patrick Laird
No. 31 Arizona Cardinals
James Conner, Corey Clement and Keaontay Ingram
No. 32 Los Angeles Rams
Cam Akers, Kyren Williams, Zach Evans* and Ronnie Rivers
The Buccaneers’ running back room is probably getting a little disrespected here. This unit has a great chance of moving up the ladder, but it also lacks any real firepower. James Conner was good for the Cardinals last year, but now he is another year older, and there is not much behind him in Arizona. The Rams are probably going to be a mess. It seems inevitable at this point. None of these teams are doomed due to their lack of star power, but not having a reliable run game could also hamper these teams during the season.
2023 NFL RB Rankings – Potential Starters
- Nick Chubb
- Christian McCaffery
- Derrick Henry
- Austin Ekler
- Josh Jacobs
- Alvin Kamara
- Jonathan Taylor
- Tony Pollard
- Aaron Jones
- Bijan Robinson
- Saquon Barkley
- Javonte Williams
- Joe Mixon
- Breece Hall
- Rhomdondre Stevenson
- Travis Etienne Jr.
- Isiah Pacheco
- Dameon Pierce
- D’Andre Swift
- Kenneth Walker
- David Montgomery
- Brian Robinson
- Najee Harris
- Miles Sanders
- Raheem Mostert
- J.K. Dobbins
- Alexander Mattison
- Khalil Herbert
- Rachaad White
- James Cook
- James Conner
- Cam Akers
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