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Top 10 Running Backs in 2023

The running back position has been a hot topic in the NFL recently. Saquon Barkley has voiced his displeasure at being franchise tagged and left the possibility of sitting out the 2023 season. Barkley and the Giants will likely work things out but what he is doing now is important for the future of the position. In all, 4 players who made our list of the best running backs of 2023 all have been tagged or have contract disputes.

This past offseason the top 3 running backs available were all franchise tagged. In addition, Chargers running back Austin Ekeler is also not happy about his current contract situation. If it wasn’t for a recent boost in incentives, Ekeler may have been traded. It’s important to point out these details as the real value of running backs has been debated in recent years. One thing you can’t debate is that the players below all play a critical role in their teams’ success. Let’s now look closer at the top 10 running backs in the NFL today.

10. Alvin Kamara

Alvin Kamara had a bit of a down year that we weren’t accustomed to seeing in 2022. In fact, the entire Saints offense took a step back last year and struggled to find an identity. New Orleans hopes the new addition of Derek Carr will help solve their offensive woes and help them take a step forward. Carr will open up the field again for Kamara and the running back should bounce back. Health and off-the-field issues will be a concern for Kamara but as of now, it looks like he won’t be suspended.

2022 Stats: 1,387 all purpose yards | 4 total touchdowns

9. Joe Mixon

When healthy, Joe Mixon has put up consistent numbers throughout his career with the Cincinnati Bengals. Mixon is a true three-down back in one of the league’s best offenses. In 2023, he will have the backfield all to himself as Samaje Perine is now with the Broncos. You can expect another Pro Bowl caliber year from Mixon and plenty of opportunities to score.

2022 Stats: 1,255 all purpose yards | 9 total touchdowns

8. Tony Pollard

When the Dallas Cowboys released Ezekiel Elliott this offseason it signaled a changing of the guard. They were now confident enough to let Tony Pollard be the feature back. Pollard has all the tools of a modern NFL running back. He will now get the chance to showcase those skills for Dallas. The only concern with Pollard is durability. Can he handle the full-time workload?

2022 Stats: 1,378 all purpose yards | 12 total touchdowns

7. Aaron Jones

For most of his career in Green Bay, Aaron Jones has had competition in the Packers backfield. That really hasn’t mattered as Jones has put up numbers regardless. Jones has always been a threat in the receiving game and in 2022 had 5 receiving touchdowns. Now with Aaron Rodgers out of the picture, Jones will be relied on more than ever.

2022 Stats: 1,516 all purpose yards | 7 total touchdowns

6. Saquon Barkley

The aforementioned Saquon Barkley will be playing with a chip on his shoulder next season. For what it’s worth, the Giants should’ve franchise tagged Daniel Jones and paid Barkley his due. It’s now unlikely that the two sides will agree on a new deal before the start of the season. The off-the-field noise won’t slow down Barkley’s production in 2023.

2022 Stats: 1,650 all purpose yards | 10 total touchdowns

5. Nick Chubb

Since his rookie season, Nick Chubb has rushed for 1000+ yards each year he has been in the league. Chubb has always been an old school type of running back who can carry the heavy load. He had 302 rushing attempts last season and is showing no signs of slowing down.

2002 Stats: 1,764 all purpose yards | 13 total touchdowns

4. Derrick Henry

Like Chubb, Derrick Henry is a between the tackles type of runner with breakaway speed. There were rumors this offseason that the Titans might try and trade Henry. Those rumors turned out to be false as Henry looks poised for another big year. No matter who the quarterback is for the Titans, Henry will be the focal point of this offense for the foreseeable future.

2022 Stats: 1,936 all purpose yards | 13 total touchdowns

3. Austin Ekeler

Austin Ekeler is one of the most versatile running backs in the NFL today. Line him up anywhere on the field and Ekeler will deliver. As we mentioned before this is likely Ekeler’s last season for the Chargers due to the contract situation. If he hits free agency expect a big payday for Ekeler.

2022 Stats: 1,637 all purpose yards | 18 total touchdowns

2. Josh Jacobs

Despite being franchise tagged this offseason, Josh Jacobs has been business as usual. Jacobs is a true professional who lets his game speak for itself. In 2022, Jacobs led the league in rushing yards, all purpose yards, yards per game and total touches. Even with a change at quarterback for the Raiders you can expect the gameplan to be the same. Keep feeding Jacobs.

2022 Stats: 2,053 all purpose yards | 12 total touchdowns

1. Christian McCaffrey

When Christian McCaffrey was traded to the San Francisco 49ers this past season it was a bit surprising. Kyle Shanahan has always deployed a running back by committee offensive system. By bringing in McCaffrey he knew he would have to rely heavily on his new star. The trade paid off as the 49ers were just 1 game away from the Super Bowl despite questions at quarterback. Now with a full offseason under his belt, McCaffrey is set for a monster year in San Francisco.

2022 Stats: 1,880 all purpose yards | 13 total touchdowns

Written by
Justin Fuhr

Justin is the Owner of Pro Football Mania. He is an NFL and fantasy football fanatic who enjoys analyzing data and analytics in sports.

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