With the NFL becoming a passing league more and more each season, the championship teams still realize that you must be able to run the football and play very tough defense. Out of the top 10 rushing teams last season, 6 of them were in the playoffs. The Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks ranked 4th in the NFL and the San Francisco 49ers ranked 3rd. I felt they were by far the two best teams last season with the Green Bay Packers right behind them two and they ranked 7th in the league in rushing.
View my article Dallas Cowboys: Top 10 QBs on 2014 Schedule.
Among the many things I looked at when making this list such as their size and speed, age, and their production from last season. One of the top things I looked at was the average yards per rush over their career. I also looked at their offensive line to see if they had prototype size and speed along their offensive line.
Name, team, height, weight, 40 time, age, 2013 rushing attempts-yards, average yards per rush over their career, how many of their projected linemen have prototype size and speed.
- LeSean McCoy, Eagles, 5.11, 208, 4.5, 26, 314-1607, 4.8, 9 TD, 5 of 5, 3 over 30
- Alfred Morris, Redskins, 5.10, 218, 4.67, 25, 276-1275, 4.7, 7 TD, 4 of 5 OL
- Matt Forte, Bears, 6.2, 218, 4.46, 28, 289-1339, 4.3, 9 TD, 4 of 5 OL
- Frank Gore, 5.9 217, 4.58, 31, 276-1128, 4.6, 9 TD, 5 of 5 OL
- Toby Gerhart, Jags, 6.0, 231, 4.53, 27, 36-283, 4.7, 2 TD, 3 of 5 OL
- Arian Foster, Texans, 6.1, 227, 4.68, 27, 121-542, 4.5, 1 TD, 4 of 5 OL
- Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts, 5.10, 214, 4.55, 28. 41-186, 4.6, 2 TD, 5 of 5 OL
- Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks, 5.11, 215, 4.46, 28, 301-1257, 4.2, 12 TD, 5 of 5 OL
- Rashad Jennings, NY Giants, 6.1, 239, 4.59, 29, 163-733, 4.3, 6 TD, 5 of 5,
- Jonathan Dwyer, Cardinals, 5.11, 229, 4.59, 25, 49-197, 4.2, 0 TD, 4 of 5 OL
Philadelphia Eagles' LeSean McCoy was the leading rusher in the NFL last season, is still in the prime of his career and he believes that he is the best running back in the NFL. The Cowboys shut McCoy down in their first meeting last season, holding him to 55 yards rushing, but he did catch 6 passes. In the last regular season game of the season, McCoy played much better, rushing for 131 yards versus the Cowboys. It still remains to be seen how the loss of DeSean Jackson and how the addition of Darren Sproles will effect him this season.
Washington Redskins 3rd year player Alfred Morris was 4th in the NFL last season in rushing is in the prime of his career and is 2nd on my top 10 list of running backs the Cowboys will face this season. Morris had two good games versus the Cowboys last season, in week 5 he rushed for 81 yards at 5.1 yards per carry average with a touchdown. In week 15, he rushed for 88 yards and 1 touchdown. The Redskins offense will definitely be better this season with the addition of DeSean Jackson and a more healthy RGIII. Defenses will have to choose their poison, do they want to try to stop Morris or the passing attack of Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, and RGIII.
Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte comes in at 3rd on my list. He is in the twilight of his career at 28 years of age, but his level of production has not dropped off any as he finished 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards last season. He torched the Cowboys last season with 102 rushing yards and 72 yards receiving in one game last season. The Cowboys will have to choose their poison with Forte, or Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Martellus Bennett.
San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore is in the twilight of his career at 31 years of age, but he is still proving to be very productive. His number of carries will definitely go down with the drafting of Carlos Hyde of Ohio State, but Gore still has some gas left in his tank and comes in at 3rd on my list.
5th year running back Toby Gerhart will finally get his chance to show what he can do now that he has signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. For 4 seasons he has backed up arguably the best running back in the NFL in Adrian Peterson. The Jaguars offensive line is not very good, but Gerhart is in the prime of his career and has the size and speed to be very productive.
Houston Texan running back Arian Foster comes in this list at number 6 and is back after missing 8 games last season. The Texans signed Andre Brown and drafted Alfred Blue, so there is competition for Foster, but he should be the starter and can still be very competitive.
Newly acquired Indianapolis Colt running back Ahmad Bradshaw comes in at number 7 on my list. He will have competition from Trent Richardson and Vick Ballard, but I think he will become the starter and is the best back of the three.
8th on my list is Seattle Seahawk running back Marshawn Lynch. Lynch is in the twilight of his career at 28 years of age and definitely hears the beat of a different drummer, but he showed what he could do last year in finishing 6th in the NFL last season in rushing yards.
Rashad Jennings who signed with the New York Giants during free agency comes in at number 9 on my list of running backs the Cowboys will face this season. Jennings was signed by the Giants to be the bell cow of their offense, but then they drafted Andre Williams, my top rated running back in this year's draft, who could take some carries from Jennings along with David Wilson returning from injury. Jennings is in the twilight of his career, but is still producing very well.
New Arizona Cardinal running back Jonathan Dwyer is the 10th best running back the Cowboys will face this season. He will have to battle Andre Ellington for carries, but I feel that Dwyer is the better runner and should get the majority of carries. Dwyer has the prototype size and speed. Ellington should be the change of pace back in my mind.