Ranking all 32 NFL RB groups from worst to best
Diamond Images / Getty

With the NFL draft and the major part of free agency in the rearview mirror, rosters around the league are taking shape. In a four-part series, theScore's football editors rank all 32 teams by their total talent at quarterback, pass-catcher, running back, and defense. Depth charts are projections of teams' post-training camp rosters.

Next up are rushing groups.

Position Group Rankings
QB l REC | RB l DEF

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

RB Depth FB Depth
Ronald Jones II N/A
Ke'Shawn Vaughn
Dare Ogunbowale  
T.J. Logan   
Raymond Calais  

The Bucs may have the top receiving corps and arguably the best quarterback of all time, but they enter 2020 with the most unproven backfield. In his first two seasons, Jones was unable to wrest the starting job from Peyton Barber. In his nine career starts, he has just one 100-yard rushing game, and it came in Week 17 last season. Joining him now are Vaughn, a pass-catching rookie, and Ogunbowale, who has 11 career carries.

31. Philadelphia Eagles

RB Depth FB Depth
Miles Sanders N/A
Boston Scott  
Corey Clement  
Elijah Holyfield  
Michael Warren  
Adrian Killins Jr.  

As injuries mounted late in 2019, Sanders and Scott were pressed into action and both fared adequately, helping Philadelphia win its division. But none of the six options elicit great confidence entering 2020. Sanders, a 2019 second-round pick, will get the first opportunity to hold down the starter's job. The other five backs will be fighting for playing time and to remain on the roster.

30. Chicago Bears

Nuccio DiNuzzo / Getty Images Sport / Getty
RB Depth FB Depth
David Montgomery N/A
Tarik Cohen  
Ryan Nall  
Napoleon Maxwell  
Artavis Pierce  

The Bears intend to use Montgomery like the feature back he was drafted to become. However, the Iowa State product needs to produce in 2020 after a disappointing rookie season. Montgomery finished 13th in the league in carries but was unable to crack 900 yards. There isn't much in the form of depth behind him, either.

29. Arizona Cardinals

RB Depth FB Depth
Kenyan Drake N/A
Chase Edmonds  
Eno Benjamin  
D.J. Foster  
Jonathan Ward  

The Cardinals paid top dollar to keep Drake after he impressed with eight touchdowns and 800 yards over his eight games following a midseason trade. It'll be a lot to ask for him to keep up his 5.2 yards per carry average. If he turns back into a pumpkin, there's a lean group behind him, led by rookie seventh-round pick Benjamin.

28. Miami Dolphins

RB Depth FB Depth
Jordan Howard Chandler Cox
Matt Breida  
Kalen Ballage  
Myles Gaskin  
Malcolm Perry  
Patrick Laird  
De'Lance Turner  

The worst rushing team a year ago, Miami signed Howard in free agency and acquired Breida via trade in an effort to rejuvenate the backfield. Though improved, the Dolphins still don't have a true bell cow, and the depth behind those two veterans is utterly abysmal.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars

RB Depth FB Depth
Leonard Fournette Connor Slomka
Chris Thompson  
Devine Ozigbo  
Ryquell Armstead  
Tavien Feaster  
Nathan Cottrell  
James Robinson

Fournette emerged as a receiver out of the backfield with 76 catches last year, yet something about him still screams "one-dimensional" - perhaps its his lack of elusiveness. With a career average of four yards per carry, Fournette hasn't lived up to his billing as a No. 4 overall pick. His backups are relatively anonymous, except for Thompson, who had a decent stint with the Redskins.

26. Los Angeles Rams

RB Depth FB Depth
Malcolm Brown N/A
Cam Akers  
Darrell Henderson Jr.  
John Kelly  
James Gilbert  
Xavier Jones  

In the post-Todd Gurley era, the starting running back job could go to any of Brown, Henderson, or Kelly. They each flashed promise in limited opportunities as Gurley's backup. However, Akers is likely to become the new lead dog. He's a home run hitter, and with other capable backs surrounding him, he may not have to handle the lion's share of the carries.

25. Washington Redskins

Scott Taetsch / Getty Images Sport / Getty
RB Depth FB Depth
Derrius Guice N/A
Adrian Peterson  
Antonio Gibson  
Peyton Barber  
Bryce Love  
J.D. McKissic  
Josh Ferguson  

Well, Washington certainly has the depth - a necessity after Guice missed his entire rookie season and only played in five games his sophomore year. He's penciled in as the starter, but 35-year-old Peterson might have to take on the majority of the workload again. If Gibson or Barber see a significant amount of carries, something has likely gone very wrong.

24. Los Angeles Chargers

RB Depth FB Depth
Austin Ekeler Bobby Holly
Justin Jackson Gabe Nabers
Joshua Kelley  
Darius Bradwell  

Ekeler is versatile but has to show he's capable of grinding between the tackles for an entire season before he can be considered a legitimate starter. He'll get a chance to prove his worth in 2020 as he takes over top duties from Melvin Gordon. Jackson has been adequate when pressed into duty, but nobody after Ekeler sparks much excitement.

23. Atlanta Falcons

RB Depth FB Depth
Todd Gurley Keith Smith
Brian Hill  
Ito Smith  
Qadree Ollison  
Craig Reynolds  
Mikey Daniel  

The inclusion of Gurley alone - the 2017 Offensive Player of the Year - would normally warrant a spot much higher in the rankings, but his troublesome left knee has to be a concern. The Rams ultimately released him and the Falcons signed him to a one-year deal without being able to put him through a physical. If his touches have to be monitored, career backups Hill, Smith, and Ollison may be exposed.

22. Buffalo Bills

RB Depth FB Depth
Devin Singletary Patrick DiMarco
Zack Moss  
T.J. Yeldon  
Taiwan Jones  
Christian Wade  

As a rookie, Singletary averaged 5.1 yards per carry and was a tackle-breaking machine. He also added value in the passing game. The Bills replaced backup Frank Gore with a rookie in Moss, who carries more upside but also more uncertainty. For a third running back, Yeldon is adequate.

21. Houston Texans

RB Depth FB Depth
David Johnson Cullen Gillaspia
Duke Johnson  
Buddy Howell  
Karan Higdon Jr.  
Scottie Phillips  

If David Johnson returns to 2016 form - the year he totaled over 2,000 yards of offense - the Texans will be sitting pretty. Unfortunately, the sample on him over the last three seasons has been discouraging. Duke Johnson may be the best running back on this roster, but he won't be the one taking most of the snaps.

20. Detroit Lions

Carmen Mandato / Getty Images Sport / Getty
RB Depth FB Depth
Kerryon Johnson Nick Bawden
D'Andre Swift Luke Sellers
Bo Scarbrough
Ty Johnson  
Jason Huntley  
Wes Hills  

Johnson was thought to be the answer to the Lions' persistent problems at running back when he was a second-round selection in 2018, so it was an eye-opener when Detroit used another second-rounder on Swift in 2020. At best, the Lions will have two backs with the ability to take the load off Matthew Stafford. At worst, they have a committee headed by a 21- and 22-year-old.

19. Pittsburgh Steelers

RB Depth FB Depth
James Conner Derek Watt
Jaylen Samuels Trey Edmunds
Benny Snell Spencer Nigh
Anthony McFarland Jr.  
Ralph Webb  
Kerrith Whyte  

Without a viable passing game to lessen the burden in 2019, Conner struggled to run against loaded boxes. Granted, injuries played a factor, and running against extra defenders isn't easy for anyone. But the tailbacks behind him have shown to be nothing more than replacement-level, with the exception of McFarland, who's entering the fold as a rookie.

18. Cincinnati Bengals

RB Depth FB Depth
Joe Mixon N/A
Giovani Bernard  
Rodney Anderson  
Trayveon Williams
Samaje Perine
Devwah Whaley  

Mixon got going in the final month of the 2019 season, salvaging what would have been a substandard campaign. Bernard is coming off his worst season but has been a solid backup throughout his career. Beyond those two, we're looking at late-round picks and former college standouts who have been plagued by injuries since turning pro.

17. Indianapolis Colts

RB Depth FB Depth
Marlon Mack Roosevelt Nix
Jonathan Taylor  
Jordan Wilkins  
Nyheim Hines  
Darius Jackson  
Bruce Anderson III  

Quietly, Mack has developed into one of the most effective rushers in the league, though his success is aided by Indianapolis' terrific offensive line. The Colts drafted Taylor, a decorated collegian at Wisconsin who figures to steal some of his carries. Wilkins and Hines serve as useful depth, but aren't game-breakers.

16. Kansas City Chiefs

RB Depth FB Depth
Clyde Edwards-Helaire Anthony Sherman
Damien Williams John Lovett
Darrel Williams  
Darwin Thompson  
DeAndre Washington  
Elijah McGuire  

The Chiefs are ripe with potential contributors, even if none of them stand out individually. Williams doesn't do anything great, but is solid at everything. Edwards-Helaire is more of the same and is in line to share time with Williams in 2020. Running backs tend to maximize their talents in Andy Reid's spacious offense.

15. Las Vegas Raiders

Daniel Shirey / Getty Images Sport / Getty
RB Depth FB Depth
Josh Jacobs Alec Ingold
Jalen Richard  
Lynn Bowden Jr.  
Rod Smith  
William Stanback  

Jacobs thrived as a rookie, but there isn't much behind him to get excited about. While he averaged 4.8 yards per carry in 2019, Richard posted a career-worst 3.7 yards per attempt. Bowden is the wild card: Las Vegas plans to use him as a utility player after he scampered for 1,468 yards in his final year at Kentucky - as a wide receiver who converted to quarterback.

14. Tennessee Titans

RB Depth FB Depth
Derrick Henry N/A
Darrynton Evans  
Senorise Perry  
Shaun Wilson  
Dalyn Dawkins  
Khari Blasingame  

The presence of Henry, the 2019 rushing champion, automatically puts Tennessee in the top 15. But the lack of depth behind him is concerning. The Titans drafted Evans to replace Dion Lewis, who was released after a couple of disappointing campaigns, but left themselves without a receiving tailback or any proven options behind their leader.

13. New York Jets

RB Depth FB Depth
Le'Veon Bell N/A
Frank Gore
Trenton Cannon  
Lamical Perine  
Kenneth Dixon  
Josh Adams  
Jalin Moore  

Bell is better than the numbers he registered in 2019 when he played behind a broken offensive line. He should look more like the Steelers version of himself in 2020. The Jets added Gore to help manage his workload, and even at 36, the veteran can still get the job done in short-yardage situations.

12. Carolina Panthers

RB Depth FB Depth
Christian McCaffrey Alex Armah
Reggie Bonnafon  
Mike Davis  
Jordan Scarlett  
Rodney Smith  

The Panthers have arguably the best running back in all of football, and Bonnafon is a better backup than most. Nonetheless, should McCaffrey slip on a banana peel, everything comes crashing to a halt in Carolina.

11. New England Patriots

RB Depth FB Depth
Sony Michel Dan Vitale
Damien Harris Jakob Johnson
James White  
Rex Burkhead  
Brandon Bolden  

New England has a little bit of everything in its backfield - but no star leading the way. Although Michel is looking to rebound from a poor sophomore year, he did help power the Patriots to a Super Bowl title in 2018. White is one of the best pass-catching tailbacks in the league, though he doesn't break many tackles. Burkhead can be useful in spurts as a rusher, receiver, or blocker.

10. Dallas Cowboys

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty
RB Depth FB Depth
Ezekiel Elliott Jamize Olawale
Tony Pollard  
Jordan Chunn  
Darius Anderson
Rico Dowdle  
Sewo Olonilua

Trivia question: Who's the player that caused Jerry Jones to exclaim, "Zeke who?" That would be Pollard. His preseason performance allowed the Cowboys owner to be comfortable with Elliott's holdout. Zeke is one of the league's best rushers and is coming off a 1,357-yard, 12-touchdown season. Now that's a top-10 backfield.

9. Green Bay Packers

RB Depth FB Depth
Aaron Jones Elijah Wellman
A.J. Dillon Jordan Jones
Jamaal Williams  
Dexter Williams  
Damarea Crockett  
Patrick Taylor Jr.  

The decision to use a second-round pick on Dillon certainly was a head-scratcher, but it helps make the Packers' backfield one of the deepest in the NFL. He'll be joining Jones, who shared the league lead in rushing touchdowns with 16 a year ago. If the RB1 needs a breather in 2020, there are many capable options.

8. Seattle Seahawks

RB Depth FB Depth
Chris Carson Nick Bellore
Rashaad Penny  
DeeJay Dallas  
Travis Homer  
Patrick Carr  

Despite injury concerns - both Carson and Penny are questionable for the start of the 2020 season due to major injuries - the Seahawks employ a pair of running backs who could both be starters. Carson's coming off a career year (1,230 yards, 7 TDs) and Penny has a career 5.3 yard per carry average. Their uncertain status going into training camp is likely what led to the fourth-round selection of Dallas.

7. New York Giants

RB Depth FB Depth
Saquon Barkley George Aston
Dion Lewis  
Wayne Gallman
Elijhaa Penny  
Jon Hilliman  
Javon Leake  

The Giants get a top-10 spot based on Barkley alone. New York has a number of insurance policies should something happen to its superstar as well. However, Lewis is coming off of two lost years in Tennessee and Gallman has done little with his opportunities over the past three seasons. Nonetheless, it's a deeper group than most.

6. New Orleans Saints

RB Depth FB Depth
Alvin Kamara Michael Burton
Latavius Murray Ricky Ortiz
Dwayne Washington
Tony Jones Jr.  

Kamara's first season as the lead back in the Saints' backfield was somewhat of a disappointment. Still, he remains one of the game's most dynamic players. Murray has started at least six games in each of the past five seasons and is one of the best backup options in the league.

5. Minnesota Vikings

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty
RB Depth FB Depth
Dalvin Cook C.J. Ham
Alexander Mattison Jake Bargas
Mike Boone  
Ameer Abdullah  
Tony Brooks-James  

Although Minnesota's rushing attack is fronted by a 2019 Pro Bowler, Cook's career has been beset by injury. He's played in 29 of a possible 48 games over his three years in the league. As such, he's supported by a trio of running backs who could start at a moment's notice.

4. Denver Broncos

RB Depth FB Depth
Melvin Gordon Andrew Beck
Phillip Lindsay  
Royce Freeman  
Khalfani Muhammad  
Jeremy Cox  
LeVante Bellamy  

Gordon and Lindsay are both capable starters and former Pro Bowlers who can live between the tackles, on the edges, and contribute as pass-catchers. Those two have pushed Freeman, previously a quality No. 2, down the depth chart. Even at fullback the Broncos are strong, as the emergence of Beck - a college tight end - allowed the team to trade Andy Janovich months after signing him to a three-year extension.

3. Baltimore Ravens

RB Depth FB Depth
Mark Ingram Patrick Ricard
J.K. Dobbins  
Justice Hill  
Gus Edwards
Ty'son Williams
Bronson Rechsteiner  

If it feels like the Ravens add another weapon to their backfield every year, it's because they do. While Ingram is the bell cow who is coming off a 1,018-yard, 10-touchdown campaign, Edwards pitches in as a power back. Hill showed promise as more of a slasher, but Dobbins is likely the centerpiece of the future. Oh, there's also Lamar Jackson, who rushed for over 1,200 yards as a quarterback.

2. Cleveland Browns

RB Depth FB Depth
Nick Chubb Andy Janovich
Kareem Hunt Johnny Stanton
Dontrell Hilliard  
D'Ernest Johnson  
Ben LeMay  
Brian Herrien  

Chubb might be the best in the league at his position. His career average of 5.1 yards per carry is astounding given the deficiencies of the offensive line in Cleveland. His effectiveness usually keeps Hunt, a former rushing champion in his own right, glued to the bench. No other team can rival what the Browns have atop the depth chart.

1. San Francisco 49ers

MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images / MediaNews Group / Getty
RB Depth FB Depth
Raheem Mostert Kyle Juszczyk
Tevin Coleman  
Jeff Wilson Jr.  
Jerick McKinnon  
Jamycal Hasty
Salvon Ahmed   

The deepest rushing group in the NFL is the unit that made Matt Breida expendable. Not only do the Niners own a quartet of backs who could start and flourish, Juszczyk is also the best fullback in the game. Mostert deserves to enter 2020 as the full-time starter after his career year was capped by a four-touchdown performance in the NFC title game and an appearance in the Super Bowl. However, should he falter, the Niners won't be afraid to sub in one of their many big bats off the bench.

Comments
Ranking all 32 NFL RB groups from worst to best
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!
Daily Newsletter
Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox