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.”