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Old 07-10-2013, 07:11 PM    (permalink
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Default DEBATE: NFL's Deepest Backfields

NFL.com has posted an article ranking the top backfields in the NFL, I know they put a decent weight on the 2nd RB but I am unaware how much they put on the 3rd RB also.

1. San Francisco 49ers (Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Anthony Dixon, Jewel Hampton,
Marcus Lattimore)

Gore at age 30 remains highly productive, but the 49ers have planned for his eventual departure with a packed stable of backs. Hunter is coming off Achilles surgery but remains a strong bet to keep the No. 2 spot if he's healthy come September. James completes coordinator Greg Roman's three-headed monster in the backfield. Dixon is a possible cut amid reports the 49ers "really like" Hampton. Then there's Lattimore, who looms as Gore's potential replacement if he makes it back from knee surgery.

2. Seattle Seahawks (Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, Christine Michael, Derrick Coleman)

Lynch was the NFL's second-best runner behind Peterson last season. Like the 49ers, Pete Carroll's Seahawks have used the past two drafts to stock the shelves with physical young runners. Turbin was valuable spelling Lynch last season and should hold onto the No. 2 job. Running backs coach Sherman Smith said in June that Michael will have to earn his carries as a rookie, but he's going to win people over with his battering-ram style of play.

3. Baltimore Ravens (Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Anthony Allen, Bobby Rainey, Damien Berry)

Like Gore and Lynch, Rice is another workhorse back who has carried the load for years. We tabbed Pierce to make the leap this season and move into more of a split-duty role with Rice. Pierce's workload increased as last season wore on, and the Ravens leaned hard on his downhill, tackle-shedding style in the playoffs. Rice is still the main dish, but Pierce makes this ground game a versatile beast.

4. Houston Texans (Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Deji Karim, Ray Graham, Cierre Wood)

If Tate could stay healthy, I'd be tempted to rank the Texans above the Ravens. The fourth-year pro struggled with injuries last season, but coach Gary Kubiak said Tate had a "really good" offseason. Foster is the unquestioned centerpiece here, with a league-leading 1,115 touches over the past three seasons. The Texans don't use Tate consistently enough to call this a committee approach, but both runners have been sensational in spots. We expect Houston to again crush teams on the ground.

5. Philadelphia Eagles (LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Felix Jones, Chris Polk, Matthew Tucker)

Gregg Rosenthal likes the Eagles' backfield more than I do, but nobody's debating McCoy's value. He's arguably a top-five back and should enjoy a bounce-back season in Chip Kelly's run-heavy attack. Brown's four fumbles in four starts were an issue, but he was explosive when he wanted to be. Add Jones to the mix, and all three runners should see work in 2013.

6. New Orleans Saints (Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram, Travaris Cadet,
Khiry Robinson)

Trading Chris Ivory to the New York Jets was addition by subtraction for the Saints. This was a crowded house last season, but Thomas is in position to have a productive year alongside Ingram. After the Saints finished 25th on the ground in 2012, coach Sean Payton told the team "we've got to get back to running the ball, having 100-yard games nonstop," according to Thomas. Sproles, meanwhile, gives Drew Brees one of the league's most dangerous, pass-catching X-factors out of the backfield.

7. New England Patriots (Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Leon Washington, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden)

Ridley's 1,263 yards and 12 scores didn't receive enough fanfare last season. He was an effective tackle-shedder and entered the offseason program "looking like a house." Ridley is the unquestioned starter here, especially with Vereen being used as a wide receiver in spring practices. Bolden is a punishing runner bound to improve upon his 56 carries as a rookie. Blount is fighting for a roster spot, while Washington remains dangerous as a return man.

8. Carolina Panthers (Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert, Kenjon Barner,
Armond Smith, Tauren Poole)

Question marks abound. Stewart's ankle problems make him a shaky proposition heading into camp. If healthy, he'll start over Williams, who turned 30 in April and hasn't crossed the 1,000-yard mark since 2009. Carolina makes this list because of quarterback Cam Newton. Teams must prepare for him like a running back, and his 1,447 rushing yards over two seasons are no fluke. Tolbert is a versatile fullback who can carry the ball. Barner, Smith and Poole will compete for snaps, and someone from this group could emerge if Stewart and Williams are hobbled.

Honorable mentions: Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos
In addition, bleacher report also posted the top backfields in the NFL two a little over a month ago here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1...gh-otas/page/2

How would you rank the top backfields in the NFL? Personally, I am going to go two deep as that's what most but will factor in the 3rd and even 4th backs if they are worth factoring in.

1. Seahawks - Marshawn Lynch has gone from bust to top 5 RB in production. Behind him is Robert Turbin, who showed good ability as a rookie and Christine Michael, one of my favorite RBs from the class.

2. Texans - Foster is one of the best backs in the league, and Ben Tate is, in my opinion one of the top 2-3 backups in the league and could start for numerous teams.

[b]3. 49ers [/B Top to bottom the deepest backfield in the league in my opinion. Gore is a top 10-15 back, I really like Hunter and James showed some promise when given a chance. O yeah, they also have Lattimore stashed away.

4. Ravens - Ray Rice is one of the most complete backs in the NFL, Bernard Pierce is similar to Ben Tate and could carry the load if needed.

5. Bills - CJ Spiller is getting better and better, Fred Jackson may be on the decline but he could still produce and is still one of the better backups in the league despite his age.

6. Eagles - McCoy is one of the best, and I touted Bryce Brown as a steal before the draft. He's one of the most talented RBs I've seen, if he can hold onto the ball he can be something special. They also have Felix Jones.

7. Titans - I still consider CJ one of the best backs in the league, and Shonn Greene has crossed 1000 yds twice in his 4 year career, and is one of the most proven backups in the league.

8. Saints - This is perhaps the most complimentary set of RBs in the league. There is no one I would place as a top RB, but Thomas does well running, Sproles is a beast out of the backfield and Ingram is decent.

9. Patriots - Ridley is a stud, I've heard positive things about Vereen this offseason. Blount can still pound the ball and Washington is pretty dynamic.

10. Bears - Forte is one of the more complete backs and Michael Bush can pound it with the best of em, and is pretty decent out of the backfield as well.

How would you rank them?
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