A couple of the rookie running backs have been drafted into situations where they have no chance of winning the starting job. The Rams selected John Kelly, the Cardinals selected Chase Edmonds (pictured). Those guys won't be beating out Todd Gurley or David Johnson.
But both have a strong chance of winning the No. 2 job on those rosters, and who knows? They're then just an injury away from starting a bunch of games as possible full-time running backs on those rosters.
I looked at the top 10 preseason running backs entering last season. To come up with the top 10, I used our Experts Poll results as printed in the preseason magazine. Here's how those 10 guys' seasons turned out.
|2017's TOP 10 PRESEASON RUNNING BACKS|
|David Johnson||1||Landed on IR. Adrian Peterson and Kerwynn Williams main backs in his absence|
|Ezekiel Elliott||10||Served six-game suspension; Alfred Morris had a few usable games|
|LeVeon Bell||15||When Bell sat out finale, Stevan Ridley rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown|
|LeSean McCoy||16||Started all season|
|Melvin Gordon||16||Started all season|
|Devonta Freeman||14||Missed two games; Tevin Coleman productive in them|
|Jordan Howard||16||Started all season|
|Jay Ajayi||7||Traded to Philadelphia; Kenyan Drake was better|
|DeMarco Murray||15||When Murray missed the finale, Derrick Henry went for 117 total yards a touchdown|
|Todd Gurley||15||When Gurley sat out the finale, Malcolm Brown rushed for 54 yards and caught 4 passes|
So there's something to be said for having handcuff backs to fill in when starters go down or are traded. Maybe you'll have a nobody who doesn't get on the field as more than a change-of-pace. But maybe you'll have Kenyan Drake.