The 2017 running back class has taken over the league

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Five weeks in to the 2019 season, one thing is clear: The running backs who entered the league in 2017 have taken over.

As to rushing yardage, four of the top five leaders entered the league in 2017. And the list of quality running backs is so long that it’s difficult to list them all without leaving someone out.

Thursday’s PFT Live included a draft of the best running backs who entered the league in 2017. We went four rounds and could have gone six or seven. Check out the results in the attached video.

And check out this list from which we had to choose, based on draft order: Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, James Conner, Tarik Cohen, Wayne Gallman, Marlon Mack, Aaron Jones, Chris Carson. Undrafted that year were Matt Breida, Austin Ekeler, and Corey Clement.

39 responses to “The 2017 running back class has taken over the league

  1. I couldn’t argue with any of these picks. I think they all went in the right order. Tough pick between Cook and McCaffrey, but Cook has higher average yards per carry and yards per reception so he gets the nod.

    It really was a historic draft for great running backs, and most of them were drafted relatively late.

  2. Packer fans are not going to be happy with this draft. They’ve been saying for the last two years that Aaron Jones is better than Dalvin Cook, and here Cook goes first overall and Jones isn’t even in the top 8. Probably not in the top 10, either, because Conner and Mixon should be ahead of him. Or Ekeler.

    For some reason, it’s very important to them that no Viking player be considered better than any Packer player. It’s weird.

  3. Could it be partly a symptom of the NFL becoming more of a passing league and thus teams filling RB slots with younger cheaper guys to save money for silly QB money and top WRs?

  4. This doesn’t surprise me, RBs have one of the easiest transitions into the league, and these young lads are getting into their prime.

    This ALSO shows why you shouldn’t burn a high draft pick on an RB, not only can you get skillful players in later rounds, you can avoid the issue of them getting salty about the Team Option, on a 1st round draft.

  5. Rob Brzezinski is a Magician says:
    For some reason, it’s very important to them that no Viking player be considered better than any Packer player. It’s weird.
    ______________________

    That’s where you are wrong, the Vikings had Moss, who was better than ANY WR that GB had during his career, and quite possibly their history, the Vikings had AP who is likely to be one of the most athletically gifted RBs in NFL history. You can have Cook and be happy, The Packers and their fans are fine with Jones.

    Packers don’t care if you have a certain player better than them, whats important to GB fans is that they have the better TEAM.

  6. Best Runner: Cook
    Best Dual Threat: McCaffrey
    Overrated: Jones and Mixon
    Underrated: Carson
    Wildcard: Ekeler

    Fixed that for you.

  7. Given the off-field situation, I’d have to go with Kareem Hunt as the Wildcard of the group.

    We know he could run, we know he could catch. Does he come back in shape, can he stay out of trouble, can he run behind a suspect Browns OL? Lots of talent, but lots of questions.

    His ceiling is as high as any RB from that draft class. But his floor is probably the lowest, given the risk of further discipline.

    Wildcard indeed.

  8. The league has changed. About 5 years ago, nobody wanted to draft a running back in the first round. Nobody wanted to draft a quarterback in the first round either. Now teams are willing to trade up to pick quarterbacks, and they are taking running backs in the first round again.

  9. iamthegreatcornflorio says:

    October 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Best Runner: Cook
    Best Dual Threat: McCaffrey
    Overrated: Jones and Mixon
    Underrated: Carson
    Wildcard: Ekeler

    Fixed that for you.

    _____________

    Aaron Jones? Overrated? Most people don’t even know his name. The kid is one of the most elusive backs in the NFL and hasn’t really had a chance to shine because of his injuries against the bears the last two years in a row. This year is different. Aside from getting stuffed behind the line against the best run defenses in the NFL he has been absolutely electric. He’s averaging over 5 yards in his CAREER. He is finally starting to emerge as an all-star, and he was drafted in the 5th round. Packers got a good deal with him.

  10. Only one that is a Super Bowl winner is Clement and he was a big reason why they won that Super Bowl

  11. californianewton says:
    October 10, 2019 at 7:58 pm
    Now teams are willing to trade up to pick quarterbacks, and they are taking running backs in the first round again.
    ____________________

    Some teams are taking RBs in the first I still consider it a mistake, the work load and inevitable injuries and and wear and tear that come with that position. The Rams are all ready worried about Gurlys health, Gordon wants a new deal, but his back ups are proving to be effective behind that line. Zeke is a pretty good weapon but he has what I would argue to be one of the best OLine. I enjoy watching Barkley as well, but there is talk of him missing 1/3 of this season all ready. I love what CMC is doing but he the touches are going to catch up with him.

    All teams are going to need at least 2 RBs to be effective through out the course the year. I just don’t like investing a 1st round on them, I promise you there is a position you can address with player higher, and still get a solid RB to split carries with in a later round.

  12. Impressive group. Difficult to say what the order would be for a redraft.

    McCaffrey, Cook, Mixon, Kamara, Hunt, Connor, Mack, Carson, Fournette – perhaps 3 standout but not by much in McCaffrey, Cook, Hunt, & Kamara as far as production.

    Mixon & Fournette could be in that group as far as ability.

  13. iamthegreatcornflorio says:
    October 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm
    Best Runner: Cook
    Best Dual Threat: McCaffrey
    Overrated: Jones and Mixon
    Underrated: Carson
    Wildcard: Ekeler

    Fixed that for you.

    ———————————
    Calling a player drafted in the later rounds “over-rated” is ridiculous. A pleasant surprise, absolutely.

  14. All I know is, whenever I see McCaffrey getting a big run he’s in the wide open with nobody around him and giant holes to run through.

    When I see Kamara run, multiple defenders are left flailing in his wake because he broke 5 or 6 tackles.

    I’m not saying Kamara is better than McCaffrey, but if I had a marginal offensive line and I needed a back to make the most of every play, I’d pick Kamara no question.

  15. Rob Brzezinski is a Magician says:
    October 10, 2019 at 6:25 pm
    For some reason, it’s very important to them that no Viking player be considered better than any Packer player. It’s weird.
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    For some reason, it’s very important the Vikings pay way too much for pedestrian talent. It’s weirder.

  16. This also speaks to the lack of longevity at the position. How many teams are rolling with a 5th year, 6th year, or more running back? How many free agent veteran RBs have just vanished in the last few years at an age where guys at other positions are in their prime? (Demarco Murray, Jay Ajayi, etc.) A RB is often washed up when a WR is hitting his stride. A guy like Mark Ingram is lucky he shared time early in his career and has found a coach that likes vets. Adrian Peterson is a total anomaly. Who’s the next oldest #1 RB? Devonta Freeman maybe?

  17. Cook has had a really nice 3 games in his entire career.

    That’s in 3 years.

    3 good games in 3 years.

    He’ll disappear the second half of this season, just like Thielen did last year.

  18. Run CMC being “over rated” is the stupidest and funniest comment on here.

    As a Jags fan I’d take Mc over Fournette every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

    RunCMC
    Kamara
    Cook
    Fournette
    Carson

    Is how I would rank the top 5 RBs from this class

  19. Shaggy is correct about the Packers wanting and having the better TEAM and roster.

    The Purple Stalker is the one always rattled by the fact that the Packers overall roster is superior to the Vikings. He knows this deep down and it eats him alive.

    You see him in meltdown mode and calling Aaron Jones “bush league” and “Erin.” He also does this to Aaron Rodgers. Doing this is actually him putting Aaron Jones among the many high-quality players that he wishes the Packers didn’t have.

    It’s extreme jealousy and it’s part of his illness. He can’t stand to see anyone happy and enjoying a successful life. The Packers and our love of them is all he knows about us so he chooses to lash out at that one small aspect of our overall happiness in life.

    Poor Barney

  20. Even when you try and compliment them, they still get offended Rob. Weird people indeed.
    Their sensitivity is predictable… and delicious.

    Cook is pretty good, McCaffrey is a beast.

  21. Packers don’t care if you have a certain player better than them, whats important to GB fans is that they have the better TEAM
    ___
    What? For the most part of this past decade the Packers have been an Aaron Rodgers 1 man team. Even Packer fan will complain about the garbage roster TT gave Rodgers.

  22. “TT” is better by 10 miles than any GM the Vikings ever had.

    His 2 Super Bowl rings say hello.👌

  23. tokyosandblaster says:
    October 11, 2019 at 9:48 am

    Cook has had a really nice 3 games in his entire career.

    That’s in 3 years.

    3 good games in 3 years.

    He’ll disappear the second half of this season, just like Thielen did last year.
    ______________

    I’d love to know what you consider to be a “good game.” He’s had four excellent games this year alone.

    Which one of these games do you consider “not good”?

    111 yards rushing, 9 yards receiving, two touchdowns, 5.3 ypc
    154 yards rushing, 37 yards receiving, one touchdown, 7.7 ypc
    110 yards rushing, 33 yards receiving, one touchdown, 6.9 ypc
    132 yards rushing, 86 yards receiving, 6.3 ypc

    Your jealousy has blinded you to the obvious.

    By the way, if we use 100 yards rushing as the barometer for a good game, Cook has twice as many good games than Jones has had this season alone. In their careers, Cook has six 100-yard games in 20 career games. Jones has five in 29.

  24. freefromwhatyouare says:
    October 11, 2019 at 10:36 am

    The Purple Stalker is the one always rattled by the fact that the Packers overall roster is superior to the Vikings. He knows this deep down and it eats him alive.
    ________

    If the Packers’ overall roster is always superior to the Vikings, and I think we can agree that Rodgers is better than Cousins, how do you explain the poor record the Packers had the last two years compared to the Vikings? Bad luck?

  25. What? For the most part of this past decade the Packers have been an Aaron Rodgers 1 man team. Even Packer fan will complain about the garbage roster TT gave Rodgers
    __________

    While the roster was missing some desireable skills at times and TT could have done more if willing to step out of his comfort zone, this isnt the NBA, you dont make it to Conference finals cuz of one star player, and they were in 3 during TTs span in GB and an OT game against zona away from another with Rodgers at the helm. VIKING fans know bad teams dont make it to NFC title games.

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