Last week we took a look at the starting quarterbacks in the NFC East, ranking them and deciding who reigns supreme atop the division.
After coming to the conclusion that the Philadelphia Eagles currently have the best quarterback situation in the NFL, we now move onto the next offensive position group to rank across the division. A group so strong that even a former 1,000 yard rusher will find himself at the bottom of these rankings.
The running backs.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
Despite coming in last in our running back group rankings, the Eagles have arguably a top 2 rushing attack in this division. The thing is, I believe much of that can be attributed to their offensive line rather than individual talent at the running back position.
Former Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi had a nice year with the Eagles in 2017 and is penciled in as the starter this season as well. He’s a former 1,000 yard rusher and ran for 873 on 208 carries a year ago, but the rest of the NFC East is simply deeper at the position.
Currently behind Ajayi are players like Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey, and Josh Adams; all three of which are yet to really make their mark on the NFL stage. Adams, the rookie out of Notre Dame, may be a sleeper to win some carries in 2018, however.
Darren Sproles also returns from a season ending injury a year ago, but it’s fair to wonder just how much the aging veteran has left to give.
3. New York Giants
Despite using the second overall pick in last year’s draft to select a running back, the New York Giants currently come in third in our position group power rankings.
Yes, I fully expect rookie Saquon Barkley to be a beast at the next level and add a dimension to the Giants offense which they haven’t had in quite some time. But I also don’t think that as an overall unit their running backs are all that impressive.
Behind Barkley is veteran Jonathan Stewart, who appeared to be on his last leg in Carolina. Second year running back Wayne Gallman is also still on the roster, and could be the third down/change of pace pass catcher out of the backfield any offense needs.
Barkley is going to eat up the majority of snaps and carries, as he should, but I just need to see it out of him in the NFL before anointing their running back group a higher spot in this division.
2. Washington Redskins
It’s quite possible that the Washington Redskins have the deepest running back group in the NFC East after drafting LSU RB Derrius Guice in the 2018 NFL Draft. Guice now joins a group already containing Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine, and Chris Thompson, all of which have been productive at points in their NFL careers.
Guice is currently regarded as RB2 on this roster, but I fully expect him to win the starting job by the beginning of the season.
With Derrius Guice running behind Washington’s solid offensive line, and Chris Thompson providing the pass catching threat out of the backfield, the Redskins pose a serious threat on the ground in 2018.
1. Dallas Cowboys
It can be argued that the Cowboys suffer some of the same “depth” issues at running back behind Ezekiel Elliott that the Giants do behind Barkley, but when you’re starter is a top three runner in football, those issues don’t matter much.
Elliott has proven over the first two years of his career just how valuable he is to the Cowboys offense, as they look like a completely different (and much worse) team when he isn’t out there.
Behind Elliott is fellow Ohio State alum Rod Smith. Smith filled in admirably for Elliott when given opportunity to do so in 2017, and will be an interesting player to watch with Elliott back in the line up this season.
Bo Scarbrough and Darius Jackson will battle it out for the RB3 job in Dallas, but regardless of the winner, this is one of the top rushing attacks in all of football, and the best in the NFC East.