Here is is how the NFL running backs stacked up at the beginning of May:
1) Adrian Peterson, Vikings: He’s hoping Favre returns to open up running room.
2) Chris Johnson, Titans: Is a holdout looming? The man is not happy with his contract.
3) Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars: Jacksonville has to get better this year, right?
4) Ray Rice, Ravens: Explosive talent will benefit from passing upgrades. Led RBs in catches and receiving yards.
5) Michael Turner, Falcons: Rushed for 1,699 yards two years ago, when he was healthy.
6) Steven Jackson, Rams: A less awful passing scheme would greatly help him.
7) Frank Gore, 49ers: Averaged 4.9 yards per carry and caught 52 passes.
8) Cedric Benson, Bengals: He turned around career – and now Bengals are ready to surge.
9) Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers: Willie Parker’s exit guarantees him a big workload.
10) Ryan Grant, Packers: Rushed for 1,253 yards and 11 TDs.
11) Beanie Wells, Cardinals: Can QB Matt Leinart emerge and keep defenses from loading the box?
12) DeAngelo Williams, Panthers: He averaged 5.2 yards per carry in 13 games.
13) Shonn Greene, Jets: Thomas Jones exits, makes him the go-to back.
14) Jamaal Charles, Chiefs: Larry Johnson’s exit allowed him to bust out in second half.
15) Pierre Thomas, Saints: Most reliable runner in large offensive cast.
16) Knowshon Moreno, Broncos: Josh McDaniels doesn’t rotate RBs as much as Shanahan did.
17) LeSean McCoy, Eagles: Brian Westbrook moves on down the trail, handing him the job.
18) Jonathan Stewart, Panthers: Averaged 5.1 yards per carry and scored 10 TDs.
19) Fred Jackson, Bills: Replaced Marshawn Lynch last year as the feature back. Good receiver. Topped 1,400 total yards.
20) Ryan Mathews, Chargers: Rookie should revitalize San Diego running game.
21) Ronnie Brown, Dolphins: He proved he can run the wildcat. But can he stay healthy? Coming back from foot surgery.
22) Joseph Addai, Colts: He scored 13 TDs in this pass-happy attack.
23) Matt Forte, RB, Bears: He seems excited about the new offense. But is new offensive coordinator Mike Martz excited about him?
24) Jerome Harrison, Browns: Took over as the feature back. Cleveland has to improve its offense, right?
25) Darren Sproles, Chargers: Returned to San Diego to keep his passing down role.
26) Felix Jones, Cowboys: Is this year he emerges as a go-to playmaker?
27) C.J. Spiller, Bills: Elite collegiate talent will earn role immediately.
28) Thomas Jones, Chiefs: Third-leading NFL rusher for Jets last season. Still an effective red-zone finisher. But can K.C. get to the red zone?
29) Clinton Portis, Redskins: Fading veteran has much competition for carries.
30) Joe McKnight, Jets: Team has big plans for this talented rookie in the offense.
31) Marion Barber, Cowboys: Time to take a lesser role?
32) Ricky Williams, Dolphins: Ronnie Brown’s injury gave him more to do, but he can’t run the wildcat.
33) Brandon Jacobs, Giants: Red zone specialist rushed for 15 TDs two years ago.
34) Jahvid Best, Lions: Detroit’s coaching staff was overjoyed to add this rookie to its offense.
35) Reggie Bush, Saints: His touches declined dramatically the last three seasons in New Orleans. But he’s still a talent.
36) LaDainian Tomlinson, Jets: He claims he isn’t washed up. Anybody believe him?
37) Donald Brown, Colts: Big finisher for potent offense?
38) Justin Forsett, Seahawks: Suddenly Seattle has a massive RB crowd.
39) Chester Taylor, Bears: Versatility makes him a great fit for the new Air Martz offense.
40) Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants: His role increased steadily over three seasons.
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