2020 NFL Running Back Tiers
The latest Burbs Football round-up, the team started on a new mini-series of tiered rankings for every positional group in the NFL. Here's the second edition of that series. For this slate of positional rankings, the team took a look at each team's backfield as a whole/running backs that received notable playing time in the prior year. Of course, some of the top backs in the league justifiably earned a higher spot even with a weaker backup.
Tier 1: Diamond
1. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley/Dion Lewis/Wayne Gallman
2. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey/Reggie Bonnafon/Mike Davis
Our top tier, diamond, consists of two future Hall of Famers in Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey. In both of their short careers, they have been able to establish themselves as the leagues premier talent. While their styles of play differ, they both give opposing defensive coordinators nightmares and are a pain to game plan for. Barring any injuries, the two of these guys are on pace to have some of the most prolific careers at the running back position.
Tier 2: Platinum
3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Alvin Kamara/Latavius Murray/Ty Montgomery
4. DALLAS COWBOYS: Ezekiel Elliott/Tony Pollard/Jordan Chunn
5. CLEVELAND BROWNS: Nick Chubb/Kareem Hunt/D'Ernest Jordan
6. GREEN BAY PACKERS: Aaron Jones/Jamaal Williams/AJ Dillon
7. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Dalvin Cook/Alexander Mattison/Mike Boone
The one thing that this tier has in common is an elite lead back paired with an elite backup. These backfields have shown to be extremely productive with both players and make up for a deadly duo. While the lead back is obviously better, the backup is not a far drop off and is able to produce at nearly the same level. As far as the list goes these are all pretty interchangeable and close together but this is where we believe everyone stands heading into next season.
Tier 3: Gold
8. TENNESSEE TITANS: Derrick Henry/Darrynton Evans/Khari Blasingame
9. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Raheem Mostert/Telvin Coleman/Jerrick McKinnon
10. BALTIMORE RAVENS: Mark Ingram/J.K. Dobbins/Justice Hill
11. DENVER BRONCOS: Melvin Gordon/Phillip Lindsay/Royce Freeman
12. CINCINNATI BENGALS: Joe Mixon/Giovani Bernard/Trayveon Williams
13. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Marlon Mack/Johnathan Taylor/Nyheim Hines A step below our second tier we have our gold tier, a tier that has great talent but the collective talent just can't compete with the tier above. Most of these backfields are very good and our team would not be surprised to see them move up throughout the season. As for Derrick Henry, we believe his talent is up there with the lead backs of the Platinum tier but his supporting cast just simply is not good enough to push the Titans backfield higher on this list.
Tier 4: Silver
15. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Chris Carson/Rashaad Penny/Travis Homer
16. NEW YORK JETS: Le'Veon Bell/Frank Gore/Kenneth Dixon
17. ARIZONA CARDINALS: Kenyan Drake/Chase Edmunds/Eno Benjamin
18. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Damien Williams/Clyde Edwards-Helaire/Darwin Thompson
19. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: Josh Jacobs/Jalen Richard/Devontae Booker
20. ATLANTA FALCONS: Todd Gurley/Ito Smith/Brian Hill
21. BUFFALO BILLS: Devin Singletary/Zach Moss/T.J. Yeldon
22. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Miles Sanders/Boston Scott/Corey Clement
Our silver tier represents backfields that have above-average starting talent combined with decent depth. Most comparable to our Gold tier, these backfields are built similarly but just not anywhere near the skill level. This tier is highlighted by Le'Veon Bell and Todd Gurley, who about a year or two ago would've found themselves much higher in these rankings. The two of these guys are major question marks this year and didn't have the same elite level of play last year. It will be interesting to see how they adjust in the 2020 season.
Tier 5: Bronze
23. DETROIT LIONS: Kerryon Johnson, D'Andre Swift, Bo Scarbrough
24. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: James White/Sony Michel/Rex Burkhead
25. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Leonard Fournette/Chris Thompson/Ryquell Armstead
26. HOUSTON TEXANS: David Johnson/Duke Johnson/Buddy Howell
27. PITTSBURGH STEELERS: James Conner/Benny Snell Jr./Jaylen Samuels
28. MIAMI DOLPHINS: Jordan Howard/Matt Brieda/Kalen Ballage
29. LOS ANGELES RAMS: Malcom Brown/Darell Henderson/Cam Akers This section of our rankings represents a grouping of guys that have shown flashes of being good running backs but haven't made the jump or haven't shown it on a consistent enough basis to put themselves amongst the next tier. Collectively, each backfield isn't necessarily bad but it could be improved or needed depth to the inconsistent play.
Tier 6: "Meh"
30. CHICAGO BEARS: David Montgomery/Tarik Cohen/Ryan Nall
31. WASHINGTON REDSKINS: Adrian Peterson/Derrius Guice/Antonio Gibson
32. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Ronald Jones/Keshawn Vaughn/Dare Ogunbowale
This last tier can be defined by the unknown and an aging with Adrian Peterson. For the bears, David Montgomery in his first year was just "meh" and didn't show any true flashes of greatness. As for the Redskins they have an aging Adrian Peterson(still effective just old) and Derrius Guice, a runner that has struggled a tremendous amount with injuries. Similarly the Bucs drafted Ronald Jones two years ago and added Keshawn Vaughn this past draft. Ronald Jones' small portion size of play and minor struggles paired with Keshawn Vaughn's inexperience is not a good combination.