Running backs have long been deemed the work horses for NFL teams. Doing the dirty work, running backs are needed to get that few inches in the trenches when it really matters. The 2012 NFL season offered a wide variety of performances at the running back position. Highlighted by an MVP year by Adrian Peterson, running backs are staking their claim that football still relys heavily on the rushing game.
1) Adrian Peterson -
The obvious number one choice for the 2013 NFL season, Adrian Peterson had an absolute incredible year on the ground in 2012. Peterson will be poised to actually break Eric Dickerson’s long standing rushing record in 2013. Coming off an ACL and MCL knee reconstruction, Adrian seemed better post injury than he was before the injury. 2013 should be no different for Peterson who in 2012 led the Vikings to the playoffs with 2,097 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns, and an insane 6.0 yards per carry average. Oh, and he was the MVP of the NFL in 2012, out dualing Bronco’s quarterback Peyton Manning for the coveted award.
2) Arian Foster -
Arian Foster will be expected to sustain his rushing success of the past 3 years. Coming on the scene for the Houston Texans in 2010, Foster has shown the type of consistency necessary to be an All Pro year in and year out. His efforts in 2012 helped the Texans make a playoff run which ended in a loss to the New England Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs. Arian posted an impressive 1,424 yards rushing, 15 touchdowns, and a per carry average of 4.1 yards. Arian Foster will be in the hunt for the rushing title in 2013.
3) LeSean McCoy -
LeSean McCoy did a bit of a disappearing act in 2012. He was coming off of two straight 1,000 yard seasons and was expected to repeat or to even better those numbers in 2012. Well, that didn’t happen as he was only able to put up 840 yards rushing, score only 2 touchdowns, and net a 4.2 yards per carry average. LeSean was able to make this list because of one man, Chip Kelly. LeSean McCoy possesses the skill set that a running back needs to shine in a Chip Kelly offense. This could prove to be very good for LeSean McCoy’s stats. During his tenure at Oregon, Chip Kelly’s offense was very good to the running back position, as LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner were able to have outstanding statistics. LeSean McCoy will have a comeback year for the record books.
4) Marshawn Lynch –
Coming off his best year during his time in the NFL, Marshawn Lynch launched himself into the company of elite NFL running backs. Making the Pro Bowl in 2012, Lynch had 1,590 yards rushing, scored 11 touchdowns, and had a 5.0 yards per carry average. It should come as no surprise that the Seattle Seahawks had a very successful year behind both rookie sensation Russell Wilson and the always entertaining Marshawn Lynch. The Seattle Seahawks should fully expect a repeat performance from Lynch in 2013, as they will be trying to make another run at the Super Bowl. Beastmode is here to stay.
5) Alfred Morris –
Alfred Morris came into the year as an unknown rookie running back who was picked in the 6th round of the 2012 NFL draft at pick number 173. Out of Florida Atlantic, Morris proved to be one of the top RBs in the NFL this past year with 1,613 yards rushing, 13 touchdowns, and a 4.8 yards per carry average. With the injury to RG3, Morris should expect a higher work load on the ground, which could benefit Alfred as he will try and improve on the numbers he put up in 2012. Don’t be surprised if Alfred Morris is competing for the rushing title in 2013.