As a feature in the 2024 Sharp Football Preview Book, the Sharp Football Analysis team ranked positional units across the league for the 2024 season.

The ranking guidelines were up to the specific voter with the only requirement that the focus is on the upcoming season only, not the future outlook.

With a combination of numbers, film, and projections, the rankings were averaged for quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers/tight ends, offensive line, defensive front seven, defensive secondary, and head coach.

Next up: 2024 NFL running back rankings.

Sharp Football Analysis Positional Rankings
Quarterback
Wide Receiver & Tight Ends
Running Backs
Offensive Line
Front Seven
Secondary
Head Coach

In addition to Warren’s deep, detailed write-up on all 32 NFL teams, each chapter of Warren Sharp’s 2024 Football Preview features page after page of full-color charts, stats, and heatmaps as well as the full unit rankings for every squad. Click here for a full FREE chapter from the 2024 Football Preview.


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2024 NFL Running Back Rankings

RankTeamScore
1San Francisco 49ers99
2Detroit Lions95
3Miami Dolphins89
4Atlanta Falcons88
5Philadelphia Eagles87
6Seattle Seahawks82
7New York Jets80
8Indianapolis Colts75
9Pittsburgh Steelers71
10Baltimore Ravens69
10Green Bay Packers69
12Chicago Bears63
13Jacksonville Jaguars58
14Cleveland Browns54
15New Orleans Saints53
15Tennessee Titans53
17Buffalo Bills48
18Los Angeles Rams45
19Kansas City Chiefs41
20Washington Commanders40
21Minnesota Vikings37
22Houston Texans35
23Arizona Cardinals33
24Tampa Bay Buccaneers27
24New England Patriots27
26Carolina Panthers24
26Denver Broncos19
28Cincinnati Bengals11
28Los Angeles Chargers11
28Las Vegas Raiders11
31New York Giants6
32Dallas Cowboys1

Score based on average ranks of positional unit (on a 100-point scale) for all 32 teams, from Sharp Football staff voters. If all voters had a team at #1, that score would be 100. Ties are broken by the highest vote on any ballot. 

What team has the best running backs in the NFL?

32. Dallas Cowboys

The lowest spot on the Dallas roster is running back, which finished dead last in our rankings, a drop of 15 spots from a year ago. Tony Pollard has moved on to the Titans after posting a career-low yards per carry in 2023, and Ezekiel Elliott has returned after a one-year stint in New England.

31. New York Giants

The biggest drop for the Giants came at running back with Saquon Barkley leaving for the Eagles in free agency. With Barkley in the fold, the Giants were fifth in our rankings last year. With Barkley gone, they’ve tumbled to 31st. Devin Singletary signed with the Giants after rushing for a career-high 898 yards with the Texans in 2023 and should enter training camp as the lead back.

28. Los Angeles Chargers

The ceiling is high for the Chargers backfield, but to reach that level J.K. Dobbins needs to stay healthy and return to form. Among 75 running backs with at least 200 carries since 2020, no one has averaged more yards per attempt than Dobbins (5.8). Unfortunately, he’s missed 42 games over the last three years.

28. Las Vegas Raiders

Las Vegas dropped 20 spots in our backfield rankings due to the loss of Josh Jacobs. His replacement Zamir White is a more physical runner, which likely fits what Antonio Pierce wants this offense to look like in 2024. White ranked ninth in yards per attempt when contacted at or behind the line of scrimmage last year while Jacobs ranked 48th out of 49 running backs.

28. Cincinnati Bengals

Votes for Cincinnati’s backfield ranged from 25th to 32nd. Those voting on the high end of that spectrum are likely hoping for a breakout performance from Chase Brown, their 2023 fifth-round pick. In limited action, Brown gained 10 or more yards on 9.1% of carries. For comparison, among full-time ball carriers, only Miami’s De’Von Achane was better.

27. Denver Broncos

Denver has plenty of depth in the backfield with Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, Jaleel McLaughlin, and rookie Audric Estime. The issue is Williams, Perine, and Estime have overlapping skill sets as downhill runners with limited burst.

26. Carolina Panthers

Miles Sanders was supposed to be the team’s lead back, but he lost his job to Chuba Hubbard halfway through the year, rushing just 14 times for 33 yards in the final month of the season. Second-round rookie Jonathon Brooks is coming back from an ACL injury but should establish himself as the lead back later in the season.

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay had our lowest-rated backfield last year, but that ranking has been pushed up to 24th this year. The Bucs had the worst yards per carry in the NFL last year, and Rachaad White posted a success rate of 40.8 percent. They drafted Bucky Irving in the fourth round after he averaged 6.3 yards per carry at Oregon.

24. New England Patriots

New England has depth in the backfield but very little explosive talent. Even when Rhamondre Stevenson crossed the line of scrimmage untouched, he still gained 10 or more yards on just 9.4% of his carries, ranked 42nd out of 49 ball carriers.

23. Arizona Cardinals

James Conner topped 1,000 yards for the first time in his career in 2023, and the Cardinals picked Trey Benson in the third round of the draft. Those two factors encouraged our panel enough to boost the Arizona backfield up eight spots from last year’s ranking of 31st.

22. Houston Texans

Houston’s backfield is its lowest-ranked unit, but Joe Mixon is an upgrade over Devin Singletary and Dameon Pierce. When contacted at or behind the line of scrimmage, Pierce was stuffed for zero or negative yards at the league’s fourth-highest rate. Mixon also brings more explosive ability, as he ranked 20th in rate of gaining 10 or more yards, compared to Pierce at 43rd out of 49 ball carriers.

21. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings turned to Aaron Jones as their lead back in 2024 after ranking 24th in the NFL in yards per carry last year. Jones missed time due to injury in 2023 but still posted a 62 percent success rate. He ran for 226 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Packers’ two playoff games.

20. Washington Commanders

The Commanders are hopeful Austin Ekeler can bounce back after a disappointing 2023 season, but our panel isn’t so sure, ranking the Washington backfield 20th. That is still an improvement from their spot a year ago. Ekeler struggled for the Chargers last year, averaging a career-low 3.5 yards per carry.

19. Kansas City Cheifs

Running back is the Chiefs’ only unit ranked outside the top half of the league. There’s just not enough explosive ability in this backfield. Kansas City running backs ranked 23rd in percentage of carries gaining 10 or more yards (8.2%).

18. Los Angeles Rams

After just 35 carries as a rookie, Kyren Williams led the NFL with 95.3 rushing yards per game, topping 1,000 yards in just 12 games played. The Rams added Blake Corum in the third round of this year’s draft to bolster their depth. Their final ranking of 18th is 12 spots ahead of where they finished last year.

17. Buffalo Bills

Votes for the Bills backfield ranged from 12th to 22nd. James Cook has established himself as an explosive weapon 一 he gained 10 or more yards on 14% of his carries, ranked 12th out of 53 ball carriers. However, depth is a significant concern with Ty Johnson and rookie Ray Davis competing for backup duties.

15. Tennesee Titans

The Titans run game will look a lot different with Tony Pollard taking over for Derrick Henry. Theoretically, they should be more explosive, but the numbers didn’t play out that way last year. With seven or fewer defenders in the box, Henry gained 10 or more yards 10.6% of the time compared to a 9.7% rate for Pollard in Dallas.

15. New Orleans Saints

The Saints are keeping the status quo at running back with Alvin Kamara and Jamaal Williams atop their depth chart. Both guys missed time due to different reasons, but Kamara still topped 1,000 yards from scrimmage for the seventh consecutive season. Williams scored just one touchdown in 2023 after leading the NFL in rushing TDs the year before.

14. Cleveland Browns

With Nick Chubb returning from a significant knee injury, the Browns backfield situation is tough to predict. As a result, votes ranged from 11th to 20th. The decision to stick with Jerome Ford as the backup doesn’t help. Ford was stuffed for zero or negative yards on a league-worst 27.5% of his carries last year.

13. Jacksonville Jaguars

Mediocre depth and Travis Etienne’s penchant for negative plays hold back the Jaguars’ backfield despite flashes of greatness. Etienne was stuffed at or behind the line of scrimmage on 25.5% of his carries last year, the league’s second-worst rate.

12. Chicago Bears

Where the Bears have made up the most ground this year is with their offensive weapons. Chicago added D’Andre Swift to their backfield after Swift rushed for a career-high 1,049 yards for the Eagles in 2023. Roschon Johnson and Khalil Herbert will also get touches after both topping 500 yards from scrimmage.

10. Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore’s backfield climbed 10 spots in our rankings from a season ago with the addition of Derrick Henry. He might be the perfect ball carrier for the Ravens, as their offense often allows defenses to stack the box. When Henry was hit at or behind the line of scrimmage last year, he was stuffed in the backfield just 30% of the time, the league’s third-lowest rate.

10. Green Bay Packers

The Packers made a big move in their backfield this offseason, signing Josh Jacobs and releasing Aaron Jones. Jacobs won the rushing title in 2022 but took a step backward last year, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry. Third-round rookie MarShawn Lloyd could offer a great complement to Jacobs.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers

The backfield is Pittsburgh’s top-ranked unit. The depth provided by Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris is impressive. Don’t expect their production to live up to this ranking, however, until they give the lion’s share of the workload to the correct ball carrier.

8. Indianapolis Colts

The Colts backfield landed somewhere between seventh and 10th on every ballot. Most would agree Jonathan Taylor individually ranks higher than that, but the depth is atrocious. Trey Sermon, Evan Hull, and Tyler Goodson are unacceptable backups behind a starter who missed 13 games over the last two years.

7. New York Jets

Votes for the Jets’ backfield ranged from fifth to 12th. Breece Hall is a big-play threat but needs to cut down on the negative plays. 24.7% of his carries went for zero or negative yards last year, ranked 45th out of 49 ball carriers.

6. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks boast a top-10 backfield for the second straight year led by Kenneth Walker and Zach Charbonnet. Walker has 18 touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons, and Charbonnet topped 671 yards from scrimmage in his rookie year. As a team, the Seahawks finished 16th in yards per carry last season.

5. Philadelphia Eagles

The biggest jump for the Eagles is the acquisition of Saquon Barkley, who replaced D’Andre Swift and lifted the RB ranking 11 spots to number four. Barkley’s numbers took a step back after a Pro Bowl season in 2022, but the Eagles are hopeful some of his struggles were a result of playing behind the league’s worst offensive line.

4. Atlanta Falcons

It was a fairly disappointing rookie season for Bijan Robinson, who finished with under 1,000 rushing yards. Tyler Allgeier posted a higher success rate than Robinson and took only 28 fewer carries in 2023. While our panel dropped them down slightly, the Falcons backfield still finished inside our top five.

3. Miami Dolphins

A deep Miami backfield landed in the top six on every ballot and received one first-place vote. Raheem Mostert is getting up there in age, but De’Von Achane is as explosive as any ball carrier in the league. Few teams have a weapon as talented as rookie Jaylen Wright as the third-string running back.

2. Detroit Lions

Detroit rushed for over 2,300 yards in 2023 and led the NFL with 27 rushing touchdowns. That was good enough for our panel to bump them all the way to second in our rankings behind only San Francisco. In his first year with the Lions, David Montgomery topped 1,000 yards for the second time in his career, and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs rushed for 945 yards and 10 TDs.

1. San Fransisco 49ers

Unsurprisingly, Christian McCaffrey topped our running back rankings for the second straight season after topping 2,000 yards from scrimmage and scoring 21 total touchdowns. Since his time in Carolina was derailed by injury, McCaffrey has averaged nearly 120 yards from scrimmage per game and averaged over five yards per carry in the playoffs.

Sharp Football Analysis Positional Rankings
Quarterback
Wide Receiver & Tight Ends
Running Backs
Offensive Line
Front Seven
Secondary
Head Coach