Matt Forté (Photo Credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
5. Matt Forté, Chicago Bears
255 total touches, 1,487 yards from scrimmage and 4 total TDs (3 rushing, 1 receiving)
6. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
226 total touches, 1,109 yards from scrimmage and 13 total TDs (12 rushing and 1 receiving)
7. Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
302 total touches, 1,478 yards from scrimmage and 6 total TDs (5 rushing, 1 receiving)
8. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
386 total touches, 1,980 yards from scrimmage and 11 total TDs (8 rushing and 3 receiving)
9. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
132 total touches, 768 yards from scrimmage and 5 total TDs (4 rushing and 1 receiving)
10. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
12 total touches, 92 yards from scrimmage and 1 total TD (1 receiving)
The remaining six backs rounding out the top ten have some fairly big drawbacks. For MJD, it’s his holdout (which we saw last season, really affects a back even after he reports to camp.) For Darren McFadden it’s the inability to stay healthy. For Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson and Matt Forté, it’s the questions surrounding their return from serious knee injuries. For Steven Jackson it’s a lack of upside. The Rams don’t have much else going on.
Each back in this group can legitimately stake a claim as the “most-talented” back in the NFL. However, of these six, I like Matt Forté (knee) and Adrian Peterson (ACL). But that’s assuming they come back fully recovered from their injuries, which is never a complete guarantee. Once they get back onto the field, they will immediately assume their traditional “workhorse” role. A guy like Jamaal Charles isn’t ranked higher because he relies almost purely on speed to be productive. He’s never been a high TD guy, scoring on the ground only 12 times total in the last three seasons. So before drafting him, you have to ask yourself if you’re really sure that he’s going to return to his pre-injury form.
Bottom line here? No matter how much I like anyone from spots 5-10, draft them with caution (and with a capable handcuff).
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