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Five intriguing running backs from the preseason

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We ranked our top 20 running backs Thursday. Here are five other runners who caught our eye during the preseason.

» Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville Jaguars: Pay no mind to anyone disparaging Gerhart's athleticism. As Rotoworld's Evan Silva pointed out, he was a starting outfielder on the Stanford baseball team, finished a close second in the Heisman Trophy race and posted more impressive SPARQ numbers than Steven Jackson, one of the most accomplished tailbacks of the past decade.

» Chris Johnson, New York Jets: The 1,000-yard season isn't cool. You know what's cool? The 1,400-yard season. A boom-or-bust runner with little power and a waning ability to make defenders miss in space, Johnson hasn't touched 1,400 rushing yards since he broke into the 2,000-yard club. On a positive note, he looked better in space during the preseason than he has for the past couple of years.

» Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions: Bush was one of the NFL's most impressive backs early last season before durability concerns reared their ugly head once again. Bush isn't a foundation back, but he's a dangerous playmaker on 12-14 touches per game.

» Shane Vereen, New England Patriots: Vereen is one of the league's best receiving backs, but it's a niche role. Don't believe the hype about the Patriots benching Stevan Ridley to run Vereen between the tackles.

» Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers: Finally healthy, Stewart looked better in the preseason than he has since the 2008-11 span in which he was one of of most talented backs in the league. The Panthers believe their offense can be dynamic if Stewart stays out of the trainer's room this year. That's a Matterhorn of an "if."

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