Home Philly Eagles NFC East Positional Power Rankings: Running Backs

NFC East Positional Power Rankings: Running Backs

Welcome to the NFC East Positional Power Rankings! Now that the NFL draft is over, we will be breaking down 1 position group per week and power ranking each unit in the division. Today we are talking about the running backs!

If you missed any of the previous articles in our series you can check them out here:

1) New York Giants 

The Depth Chart & 2020 Stats

  • Saquon Barkley 19 carries for 24 yards (1.8 YPA); 60 receiving yards
  • DeVontae Booker – 93 carries for 423 yards (4.5 YPA) and 3 TDs; 84 receiving yards; 1 Fumble

Saquon Barkley only appeared in 2 games last season before tearing his ACL. While he wasn’t off to a great start, the sample size if far too small to cause concerns. What is a concern is how Barkley will return from the ACL injury. I’m personally not too concerned about it. When you see other running backs come off of the same injury late in the season like Adrian Peterson in 2012, it does a lot to wipe away the concerns around Barkley’s injury which occurred months earlier than Pederson’s.

If Barkley isn’t back to normal it could spell disaster for the Giants who don’t have much behind him, but assuming he comes back at 100% Barkley is a top 3 RB in the NFL and easily the top running back in the NFC East.

2) Philadelphia Eagles

The Depth Chart & 2020 Stats

  • Miles Sanders – 164 carries for 867 yards (5.3 YPA) and 6 TDs; 197 receiving yards; 4 fumbles
  • Kerryon Johnson – 52 carries for 181 yards (3.5 YPA) and 2 TDs; 187 receiving yards and 1 TD; 2 fumbles
  • Boston Scott – 80 carries for 374 yards (4.7 YPA) and 1 TD; 212 receiving yards and 1 TD; 2 fumbles
  • Kenny Gainwell – Rookie

The Eagles come in at #2 on this list with the running back stable of Miles Sanders, Kerryon Johnson, Boston Scott, and the rookie Kenny Gainwell. Last season wasn’t the best season for Miles Sanders, but he still had his fair share of memorable runs. The Eagles expect this to be the year that he really puts it all together.  

But, as is the Eagles way, they will go with a heavy running back by committee approach. They claimed Kerryon Johnson off of waivers after an unproductive 2020 season and hope to get him back on track. The Eagles also return Boston Scott and added Kenny Gainwell in the draft. Scott is best served as a running back 3 and Gainwell figures to be featured in the passing game.

3) Dallas Cowboys 

The Depth Chart & 2020 Stats

  • Ezekiel Elliott – 244 carries for 979 yards (4.0 YPA) and 6 TDs; 338 receiving yards and 2 TDs; 6 fumbles
  • Tony Pollard – 101 carries for 435 yards (4.3 YPA) and 4 TDs; 193 receiving yards and 1 TD 

It may surprise people to see the Cowboys this far down the list, but I don’t think people fully appreciate how dreadful last season was for Ezekiel Elliott. Although he put up nearly 1,000 yards, he had the worst year of his career in yards per game, yards per carry, fumbles, and TDs. Looking back at the last couple of years, it is clear that Elliott’s production is falling off just as he enters the big part of his contract. His yards per game have fallen every season of his career from 109 to 98 to 96 to 85 to 65 last season. Over the last 3 years, his yards per carry have fallen from 4.7 to 4.5 to 4.0. You could argue that it is a byproduct of defenses stacking the box against him, but he only faced a heavy box on 12.7% of his runs last season.  

Unless Elliott bounces back in a major way, you could argue that Tony Pollard is the better option for the Cowboys both in terms of value and production. Pollard faced a heavy box on over twice the percentage of his carries as Elliott and still posted better yards per attempt and a breakaway run rate of 5% compared to Elliott’s 1.6%.

4) Washington Football Team 

The Depth Chart & 2020 Stats

  • Antonio Gibson – 170 carries for 795 yards (4.7 YPA) and 11 TDs; 247 receiving yards; 2 fumbles
  • JD McKissic – 85 carries for 365 yards (4.3 YPA) and 1 TD; 589 receiving yards and 2 TDs; 3 fumbles

Antonio Gibson could be an up-and-coming back in the NFC East. As a 3rd round draft pick, Gibson made an impact in 2020 providing more value in the running game than most people anticipated. The backfield is fully his this year and he will have the chance to prove that he can maintain that level of production for a football team that will need him to take some of the pressure of an aging Ryan Fitzpatrick in the passing game. If he can take that next step it isn’t crazy to think that he will be #2 on this list next offseason.

Positional Power Rankings

  Cowboys Eagles Giants Football Team
QB 1 2 3 4
RB 3 2 1 4
WR ?? ?? ?? ??
TE ?? ?? ?? ??
OL ?? ?? ?? ??
DL ?? ?? ?? ??
LB ?? ?? ?? ??
DB ?? ?? ?? ??
SPT ?? ?? ?? ??
AVG 2 2 2 4