We can feel the outrage as we hit the “publish” button. How can DeMarco Murray not be first on a list of running backs after leading the NFL in rushing?
First, this is a list based on ranking the top backs for 2015. Murray may have led the NFL in several key statistics in 2014, but he’s with a different team and he hasn’t had a consistent track record of that sort of production over the years. And then there is the matter of the Dallas Cowboys not believing enough in Murray’s staying power to have him stay around on a big contract, declining to match an offer the averages $8 million per year that the Eagles were willing to fork over.
While Murray still makes the list, he isn’t No. 1 and his former team didn’t adequately replace him with another superstar, despite the consistent rumors that they were angling for Adrian Peterson. Instead, the Cowboys opted for someone who was once considered a potential superstar, Darren McFadden, that never lived up to that billing.
But, this isn’t about snubs, it’s about expected production and there are plenty to like in backfields across the NFL this year:
Philadelphia Eagles, rely on him and will he be able to keep pace in Chip Kelly high-paced offense? Here’s guessing the race for the rushing title is much closer this year and Murray comes back to the pack at around 1,300 yards.
LeSean McCoy, Arian Foster, Justin Forsett or any one of about a half dozen backs could fill this final spot, but Charles is getting it because of his history as a 1,000-yard back in every season in which he started at least six games (five times), his average, and him being one of only four backs to average at least 5 yards a carry and gain 1,000 yards last year. But here is why Charles was only 13th in rushing yards: He only averaged 13.7 carries a game. Give him the ball five more times a game and he is a 1,500-yard producer at 5 yards a carry.
Honorable mention: LeSean McCoy, Arian Foster, Matt Forte, Eddie Lacy, Justin Forsett, Jeremy Hill.
NFL’s top 5 running backs for 2015
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