All 32 NFL teams will report for training camps in less than two months, and the excitement for the 2010 season is building.
We continually tweak our rookie rankings for you right up until the season begins, and it is time to release our latest update.
Here is the latest on several running backs making headlines since our May ranking update.
Ryan Mathews is going to get the football early and often for the Chargers as they attempt to improve on their 31st ranked running game last season. Darren Sproles was retained to reprise his role as third-down back and return specialist extraordinaire; however, the Chargers identified Mathews as the one player in this draft class that could replace the future hall of famer LaDainian Tomlinson. Norv Turner has already gone on record saying that they could give Mathews 300 total touches this season. Mathews should be the first rookie running back taken in all formats.
Tom Kowalski, from MLive.com, reports Jahvid Best is going to be Detroit’s starting running back on opening day. Even when Kevin Smith comes back from injury, Best is still likely to receive the bulk of carries. Jim Schwartz has first-hand experience on what an electrifying young running back can do for this team from his days with Chris Johnson in Tennessee. Best is in early contention with Ryan Mathews for offensive rookie of the year in 2010.
C.J. Spiller’s immediate value is tied to the fate of embattled running back Marshawn Lynch. Lynch has not spoken with new head coach Chan Gailey yet, and rumors are swirling that Lynch could be looking for a new home very soon. Spiller was the top running back on most draft boards prior to the NFL Draft, and now he faces an uncertain future with the struggling Bills. Spiller will still produce enough big plays to warrant fantasy consideration as a rookie. In return yardage leagues, Spiller’s value vastly increases. Don’t let Spiller’s immediate situation deter you from taking him during your rookie draft, he is a nice consolation prize at the fourth overall pick after Bryant, Mathews and Best are off the board.
Eric Mangini has been impressed with the maturity of rookie Montario Hardesty thus far in offseason team activities. Hardesty recently lined up as the starting running back over late-season breakout player Jerome Harrison. A time-share for Hardesty and Harrison seems inevitable, but the early camp reports are encouraging for Hardesty owners.
The ranking score for each player is based on several factors:
- Pre-draft scouting reports
- College production
- Strength of team scouting department
- Draft selection
- Offensive scheme
- 2010 Team Schedule
Running Back Rankings (RB) – Previous Ranking in Parenthesis
- Ryan Mathews – Chargers 9.20 (1)
- Jahvid Best – Lions 8.79 (2)
- C.J. Spiller – Bills 8.72 (3)
- Ben Tate – Texans 8.47 (4)
- Montario Hardesty – Browns 8.27 (5)
- Toby Gerhart – Vikings 8.01 (6)
- Jonathan Dwyer – Steelers 7.65 (7)
- James Starks – Packers 7.30 (8)
- Joe McKnight – Jets 7.15 (9)
- Anthony Dixon – 49ers 7.11 (10)
- Deji Karim – Jaguars 6.90 (11)
- Charles Scott – Eagles 6.59 (12)
- LeGarrette Blount – Titans 6.28 (13)
- Lonyae Miller – Cowboys 5.99 (14)
- Javarris James – Colts 5.72 (15)
- Dimitri Nance – Falcons 5.69 (16)
- Shawnbrey McNeal – Chargers 5.53 (17)
- Joique Bell – Bills 5.36 (19)
- Stafon Johnson – Titans 5.31 (18)
- Keiland Williams – Redskins 5.19 (20)