Predicting the 2019 NFL rushing leaders

Predicting the 2019 NFL rushing leaders

by July 15, 2019 0 comments

Although running back value continues to decrease across the league, everyone still loves to talk about them. Many people idolize the elusive athletes in the backfield. They carry the ball, get featured on every broadcast, and score points. It’d be a lie to say they aren’t fun to talk about.

Box score statistics never really tell the full story of how good or impactful a runner is, but it’s interesting to dive into each players’ situation, and how good of stats they can produce.

Here, we will look at the ball carriers most likely to lead the league in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.

Rushing Yards

1. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

Zeke has a knack for leading the league in rushing. The combination of talent, offensive line dominance and pure volume makes Elliott an easy projection into 2019. It’s easy to assume big numbers for him because he leads the league in carries almost every year. Dallas doesn’t want to have to rely on Dak Prescott to win games, so Zeke will continue to be fed. 

2. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Barkley already has an argument to be the best runner in the NFL. With the departure of Odell Beckham and the diminishing quality of the Giants’ quarterback position, Barkley is inevitably going to receive the motherload of work. It’s just a question of how well his offensive line blocks for him.

3. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

Mixon has been dubbed by some to be the favorite to top the yardage leaders, and it’s easy to see why. He’s become one of the few true bell cow backs, racking up almost 20 carries per game a season ago. Pair that number with his five yards per carry, and Mixon should be the focal point of Cincinnati’s offense.

4. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

In the second half of 2018, nobody in the league was a more effective ball carrier than the former Heisman Trophy winner. Acting as one of the game’s toughest tackles, Henry amassed 4.2 yards after contact per carry, which ranked second in the league (PFF). Dion Lewis seems to be in the rear view mirror, so Henry shouldn’t have to worry about splitting carries too much.

5. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

The only player to top Henry in yards after contact per carry is Chubb, who had an extremely overlooked rookie season. Despite playing only 33 snaps total in the first six games (PFF), Chubb still managed to finish 10th in rushing yards. A full season as the primary back should lead to a lot of production.

Rushing Touchdowns

1. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

When the Cowboys are in the redzone, they’re handing it off to their tailback; Elliott just happens to be the beneficiary. Dallas’ offensive line is at least one of the top three run blocking units in the NFL. Zeke should be able to waltz into the end zone plenty in 2019, just as he always does.

2. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Barkley is phenomenal at finding the end zone, dating back to his days at Penn State. The Giants really want to justify their high selection of Barkley, so he’s going to receive a lot of volume, which inevitably leads to a large sum of touchdowns.

3. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

There may not be a more intimidating goal line presence at the tailback position than Derrick Henry. The Titans likely don’t want to rely on Marcus Mariota to score points, leaving the scoring glory to guys like Henry. With Tennessee’s well-known rushing scheme, it shouldn’t be too tough for the mammoth of an athlete to sneak in.

4. Marlon Mack Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are going to score a lot of points in 2019. What usually happens to lead running backs within a highly potent offense? They get to score touchdowns. Thankfully for Mack, he is the primary ball handler for Indy. With an outstanding offensive line in front of him, Mack shouldn’t be slept on to put up huge numbers.

5. James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers

No one truly exemplified the replaceability of the running back more than James Conner in 2018. Pittsburgh’s offense always puts up a flurry of points, which likely means lots of scores for Conner. Barring anything unforeseen, he should be reliable for a few touchdown dances.

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Leave a Reply