Backfields around the league have experienced a reshuffling this offseason. NFL Network analyst and former All-Pro running back Maurice Jones-Drew has surveyed the recent relocations of notable RBs, answering one question for each: Will the player have more or less success with his new team in 2019 than he did with his previous club in 2018?
Of course Bell's production will increase from last year. For those of you who spent 2018 under a rock, the former Steeler missed the entire 2018 NFL season because he didn't sign his franchise tender. Now with the Jets, Bell is an ideal player to have in the backfield while Sam Darnold develops under center. In fact, Bell is the exact running back first-year Jets head coach Adam Gase longed for during his time with the Dolphins. Bell has the ability to line up anywhere and make defenders miss as the focal point of the Jets' 2019 offense. I have him projected to log fewer scrimmage yards than he had in his last two (playing) seasons in Pittsburgh, simply because he won't be surrounded with the same kind of offensive talent in New York.
2019 prediction: 1,200 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards, 10 total TDs.
The Ravens haven't had a 1,000-yard rusher since 2014, but that will change with Ingram in the backfield. The main reason the veteran didn't reach the mark in 2018 with the Saints was his four-game suspension. Not to mention, he split carries with stud Alvin Kamara, who had himself a career year with 14 rushing touchdowns. As the RB1 in Baltimore, which has a run-first offense, Ingram should receive the bulk of the carries, with Lamar Jackson being the other major component of the ground attack. The second-year quarterback is a huge running threat and will provide opportunities for Ingram to make plays.
2019 prediction: 1,000-plus rushing yards, 200 receiving yards, 12 total TDs.
Coleman wasn't utilized well in Steve Sarkisian's offense, as the former Falcons coordinator often didn't stay committed to the run game. I get Sark's tendency to throw the ball, with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley on the perimeter, but the run game -- even one without the injured Devonta Freeman -- should have been a bigger part of the offense. (The Falcons ranked 31st in rushing attempts in 2018.) Now reunited with Kyle Shanahan, Coleman will be put in a position to succeed in both the run and pass games. There's a good chance he'll play a bigger role in the pass game than he has in the past, with the 49ers lacking a true No. 1 receiver. The only thing keeping me from putting Coleman in the "GREATER PRODUCTION" category is he will likely split carries with Jerick McKinnon, who is coming back from a torn ACL.
2019 prediction: 170 carries, 800 rushing yards, 40 receptions, 400 receiving yards, nine total TDs.
Hyde's production decreased significantly after he was traded from Cleveland to Jacksonville midway through last season. More of a zone runner, he struggled in the Jaguars' power scheme, which called for a much more bullish type of running style than Hyde was used to in Cleveland (and in San Francisco, where he spent the first four years of his career, before that). The void left by Kareem Hunt in Kansas City led the Chiefs to sign Hyde, which seemed like a good idea in theory ... But after sizing up the situation, I don't like this fit for Hyde. The Chiefs, who are loaded with offensive talent in the pass game, have a crowded backfield, with Hyde, Damien Williams and Darrel Williams. And they might draft another back in April. There simply aren't enough carries to go around, so Hyde's production will stay consistent with what he did in 2018.
2019 prediction: 500 rushing yards, six TDs.
In Minnesota, Murray was a solid downhill runner who paired with the explosive and versatile Dalvin Cook. Now in New Orleans, Murray will be a solid downhill runner who pairs with the explosive and versatile Alvin Kamara. He knows this role well and should provide similar production in Sean Payton's offense.
2019 prediction: 140 carries, 600 rushing yards, six rushing TDs, 20 receptions, 150 receiving yards.
SIMILAR PRODUCTION UPON RETURN
We already know Hunt will be suspended for the first eight games of the season. When his suspension ends, though, I expect him to be the same dynamic playmaker he has always been. (In 11 games last season, Hunt recorded 15 scrimmage touchdowns.) When he's on the field, his effort is out of this world. He just needs to stay out of trouble.
2019 prediction: 700 rushing yards, 300 receiving yards, seven total TDs.
Davis is the same type of running back as Jordan Howard -- a physical, downhill runner who has the ability to run through tackles and punish defenses. This signing must mean the Bears are still trying to trade Howard. If Howard stays on the roster, Davis' carries will be very limited. If Howard isn't on the roster, Davis will still split carries with Tarik Cohen, who was a beast in 2018. Davis' 2019 production is a question mark until we see what happens with Howard, but as things stand today, I'm expecting his production to go down. (UPDATE: The Bears traded Howard to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a 2020 sixth-round pick on Thursday night, the Eagles announced.)
2019 prediction: 50 carries, 300 rushing yards, two rushing TDs, 15 receptions, 100 receiving yards, one receiving TD.
Gore will be 36 years old at the start of the 2019 season. That's ancient for NFL running backs, but I know he can still play. The veteran led the Dolphins in rushing yards last season, proving he still has some juice left in the ol' legs. This signing by the Bills is more about Josh Allen than anything else; Gore is a second back who can help lead a young offense on the field and in the locker room. Plus, Gore is a capable three-down back who can do everything from pass protection to plunging in the rock on the goal line. He will be able to spell LeSean McCoy, also on the back end of his career, when needed.
2019 prediction: 75 carries, 400 rushing yards, two rushing TDs, 10 receptions, 100 receiving yards.