The NFL regular season opener is one week away, just a little reminder to keep you guys foaming at the mouths. In exactly 6 days we'll get the beginning of what I believe will be an amazing season, orchestrated by some of the most talented players that we have come accustomed to viewing. So in a celebration like mood, these past 4 days I will be ranking the best offensive skill players by position in the NFL. However this is not the same old simple 1-10, the rules are different. So here is the criteria for Gold and Silver players.
Gold Players: Plays at an elite-championship level, determines the outcome of a game based of his performance, creates mismatches for multiple players, is a premiere weapon on the field, & is rated in the upper level of his position.
Silver Players: Plays at an elite-championship level, impacts a game based of his performance, can't be eliminated by 1 vs 1 coverage, is a featured player on the field, & is rated in towards the mid-level of his position.
Gold Running Backs: Arian Foster, Ray Rice, Maurice Jones Drew, LeSean McCoy, Marshawn Lynch & Adrian Peterson
- Arian Foster is a beast, but his running style is also the smoothest in the NFL. Being banged up most of the year last season he had 1,224 yds, and 10 tds. So if he's completely healthy look for a bigger year from Foster.
- Ray Rice is one of the more complete backs in the NFL, arguably the most complete back. He's great in the rushing attack (last season 1,364 yds & 12 tds), reliable pass protector, and one of the better receiving backs. Baltimore's best player in my opinion.
- Maurice Jones Drew led the NFL in rushing last season with 1,606 yds, and 8 tds. He's a work horse especially for that young Jaguars team who now has seem to find some stride. Lets hope his hold out doesn't affect his production, history says it does.
- LeSean McCoy is the quickest, and arguably the most explosive back in the NFL. And as far as scoring he's the best at that as last season he had 17 tds, to go with his 1,309 yds. He'll be fine whether Vick is healthy or not, it's the team as a whole that will suffer.
- Marshawn Lynch goes beast mode on defenses, and he's been consistent with that so far. Last season he had 1,204 yds, and 12 tds. His Seahawks have a good O-line, and a pretty talented young QB in Russel Wilson. Let's see if the "Skittles man" will go beast mode again this season.
- Adrian Peterson faced an ugly injury last year, so it would make sense if he fell down the running back's rankings. Before the injury he finished with 970 yds, and 12 tds. However it's a new year, and when healthy this man is arguably the best running back in the NFL. Let's see how AD bounces back.
Silver Running Backs: Matt Forte, Chris Johnson, Michael Turner, Jamaal Charles, Darren Sproles & Darren McFadden
- Matt Forte in terms of being complete is in the top 2 or 3. The man is a great runner, one of the best pass protectors, and he is arguably the best receiving back in the NFL. He has had some injury issues as well, last season it hindered him some as he finished with 997 yds, and 3 tds. If he can stay healthy his production/numbers will jump of the page.
- Chris Johnson is so fast you shouldn't blink when he runs. Had a slow start last year but he finished strong with 1047 yds, and 4 tds. Now that he is approaching this season with a new attitude look for CJ2K to start with a bang.
- Michael Turner has consistently been one of the best backs in the NFL. Strong guy, with some pretty smooth moves. Finishing last season with 1340 yds, and 11 tds I know he is primed for another great season. It's the playoff performances we've have not seen out of him yet, or his Falcon teammates for that matter.
- Jamaal Charles only had 12 rushes last season, due to injury. However before that Charles had two seasons of rushing over 1,200 yds. When healthy he is one of the more explosive backs the NFL has to offer. I expect a nice bounce back season for the Chief's prized jewel.
- Darren Sproles struck gold last season due to his pairing with Drew Brees. Sproles is the quickest back in the NFL in my opinion. Due to his versatility on the field whether it's rushing, recieving from the backfield which he is so good at he had a great season (603 rushing yds, 710 receiving yds, and 7 tds). I look for Sproles to be one of the main targets from Brees in New Orleans this season, and continue his high level of play.
- Darren McFadden runs so hard, he runs at such a high level it rivals the likes of Marshawn Lynch and a healthy Adrian Peterson. Last season however he suffered from the injury bug, finishing with 614 yds, and 4 tds. If he can stay healthy he will take a lot of pressure off of QB Carson Palmer, and his numbers will greatly increase.
Thanks for reading today's Gold & Silver rankings for the running backs. Friday we will have the Gold & Silver wide receivers.
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