The 33rd Team’s Robert Smith explains why he has been so impressed with Cordarrelle Patterson’s start to the 2022 NFL season.
Traded in the offseason from Cleveland to Carolina, quarterback Baker Mayfield faces the Cleveland Browns in Week 1.
“Coming to the stadium on the visiting side was just different,” Rolle said. “Tennessee was all I knew. … I remember the crowd booing me, so it wasn’t one of those things where I felt like. ‘Man, we gotta get them.’ But you obviously want to play well.”
Najee Harris is a great back and a perfect fit, really, for what the Pittsburgh Steelers like to be. Pittsburgh’s always had that physical mentality, and they certainly have a physical back in Harris.
He is such a tremendous back, and you can see there isn’t anything he can’t do.
The talk is he doesn’t have that high-end, breakaway speed, but you don’t necessarily need to have that because he is such a versatile back. Like any great back, it all starts with that great vision. He does a good job of understanding where his blocks are and the alignment of the defense. Harris has tremendous balance and tremendous burst, and power, as well.
And then there’s that versatility. He caught 74 balls last season, which led all running backs. That is a tremendous part of his game, and it is just so valuable to have a back with that type of versatility in your offense.
What Harris did at Alabama carried over into his rookie season with Pittsburgh. He reached that magic 300-carry number that a lot of running backs just don’t reach. But you saw exactly why he was so reliable for Pittsburgh.
With new talent flooding the league every season, the race to finish as a top three NFL Running Back is as crowded as ever. Having finished his own career with four straight seasons of at least 1000 yards rushing, former Vikings back Robert Smith is an expert on what it takes to succeed in an NFL ground game.
Here’s a look at Smith’s top three running backs heading into the 2022 NFL season.
3) Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints
Although Alvin Kamara might spend a few weeks sidelined due to a suspension, he still makes the list because he has all the traits that make a great running back. “What makes him so dangerous,” Smith says, “is his ability not just to run the ball out of the backfield, but to split out and be a great receiver as well.” Kamara has the vision, balance, power, speed and pass-catching ability to be an all-around threat.
2) Derrick Henry— Tennessee Titans
A throwback guy with incredible size, Derrick Henry is a dangerous runner. His ability to see over offensive lineman, at times, allows him to have a better sense of where defenders are coming from at the second level of the defense. And speaking of defenders, “once they get to the tackle point,” Smith says, “it’s one thing to get there. It’s another thing to make that tackle.” Henry is a running back that is incredibly difficult to prepare for, and even more difficult to bring down.
1) Jonathan Taylor— Indianapolis Colts
Coming off a big, 1800-yard season, Jonathan Taylor combines all the traits of Kamara and Henry— aside from Henry’s size of course. The difference maker for Taylor, though, is his high-end speed. It allows him to break off long runs and those kinds of explosive plays are always a big factor in a team’s offensive success. “I think he’s the most dangerous running back in the league,” says Smith, “ he’s a guy that can take it to the house on any play.”