Ranking all 32 RB1s heading into 2020: Saquon Barkley at No. 6

There is no shortage of uncertainty as the 2020 NFL season continues to creep up.

One thing that isn't a mystery right now is the pecking order of all 32 RB1s. Yep, that's right. The answer key is waiting for you below. Let's jump right in.

Note: If a team operates with a running back committee, I simply chose the player who I think will have the most production in 2020.

Rank
1
Christian McCaffrey
Christian McCaffrey
Carolina Panthers · Fourth season

2019 stats: 16 games | 287 att | 1,387 rush yds | 4.8 ypc | 15 rush TDs | 116 rec | 1,005 rec yds | 4 rec TDs


McCaffrey made it impossible to put another back at No. 1. He earned this spot fair and square. Last season, McCaffrey played in 93.4 percent (1,004 snaps) of the Panthers' offensive snaps, the highest rate among running backs, per Next Gen Stats. Even with Carolina undergoing a complete offensive overhaul this offseason, it won't matter. McCaffrey is unstoppable.

Rank
2
Ezekiel Elliott
Ezekiel Elliott
Dallas Cowboys · Fifth season

2019 stats: 16 games | 301 att | 1,357 rush yds | 4.5 ypc | 12 rush TDs | 54 rec | 420 rec yds | 2 rec TDs


People can say what they want about Zeke, but he's been the most consistent back since he was drafted. He's been terrific and deserved the big contract extension he received last August. Zeke's also developed into a solid player catching the ball out of the backfield. We'll no doubt see him continue to put up gaudy numbers this season in Mike McCarthy's offense. 

Rank
3
Nick Chubb
Nick Chubb
Cleveland Browns · Third season

2019 stats: 16 games | 298 att | 1,494 rush yds | 5.0 ypc | 8 rush TDs | 36 rec | 278 rec yds | 0 rec TDs


Coming off a career year, Chubb is in good position to be even better in 2020. He will excel as a one-cut runner in Kevin Stefanski's offense and behind a revamped offensive line with bookend tackles who can set the edge and help Chubb get in space. 

Rank
4
Alvin Kamara
Alvin Kamara
New Orleans Saints · Fourth season

2019 stats: 14 games | 171 att | 797 rush yds | 4.7 ypc | 5 rush TDs | 81 rec | 533 rec yds | 1 rec TD


Kamara was still productive when playing through injury last season, thanks to his uncanny ability to dodge defenders. Now, with receiver Emmanuel Sanders joining Michael Thomas on the perimeter, defenses will be forced to pick their poison, and they will be less likely to load the box. That's great news for Kamara as he enters a contract year.

Rank
5
Joe Mixon
Joe Mixon
Cincinnati Bengals · Fourth season

2019 stats: 16 games | 278 att | 1,137 rush yds | 4.1 ypc | 5 rush TDs | 35 rec | 287 rec yds | 3 rec TDs


This is going to be Mixon's best year yet. The Bengals' offensive line will be healthier. A.J. Green will be back. And Cincinnati drafted two major offensive weapons in quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Tee Higgins. Mixon will take a lot of pressure off Burrow and set up big-play opportunities in the passing game. Mixon's blocking ability often goes unnoticed, but it's a huge reason why he's in my top five and Saquon Barkley's not.

Rank
6
Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley
New York Giants · Third season

2019 stats: 13 games | 217 att | 1,003 rush yds | 4.6 ypc | 6 rush TDs | 52 rec | 438 rec yds | 2 rec TDs


Barkley is one of the most talented players in the NFL. There's no questioning that. BUT his pass protection is horrible. Remember when Jamal Adams grabbed the ball out of Daniel Jones' hands and took it to the house? Well, that was Barkley's block. He missed it, and it cost the Giants big time. I need to see this part of his game improve.

Rank
7
Derrick Henry
Derrick Henry
Tennessee Titans · Fifth season

2019 stats: 15 games | 303 att | 1,540 rush yds | 5.1 ypc | 16 rush TDs | 18 rec | 206 rec yds | 2 rec TDs


I know the two sides still have until July 15 to get a deal done, but I'm still trying to figure out why the Titans haven't signed Henry to a long-term extension yet. He was incredible last season, winning the league rushing title and taking the team to the AFC Championship Game. So they franchise-tag Henry and pay Ryan Tannehill, the guy who turned around and handed the ball to Henry? Hmmm ... doesn't quite add up, does it? All I know is, I'm ready for Henry to ball out again.


UPDATE: The Titans and Henry agreed to terms on a four-year deal worth $50 million right before Wednesday's deadline, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

Rank
8
Dalvin Cook
Dalvin Cook
Minnesota Vikings · Fourth season

2019 stats: 14 games | 250 att | 1,135 rush yds | 4.5 ypc | 13 rush TDs | 53 rec | 519 rec yds | 0 rec TDs


Cook had the best season of his career in 2019, scoring a touchdown in 11 games (tied for most in the NFL), and it feels like he's just getting started. He's able to turn nothing into something with his explosiveness and tackle-breaking ability. Cook wants a new contract, and the Vikings should give it to him. They don't beat the Saints in the playoffs without his brilliant performance. He's so valuable to Gary Kubiak's offense and will prove as much again this fall. 

Rank
9
Josh Jacobs
Josh Jacobs
Las Vegas Raiders · Second season

2019 stats: 13 games | 242 att | 1,150 rush yds | 4.8 ypc | 7 rush TDs | 20 rec | 166 rec yds | 0 rec TDs


Jacobs proved to be exactly what I thought he was coming out of Alabama as a three-down back who thrives between the tackles and as a pass catcher. Expect Jon Gruden to continue to run the ball to set up big plays downfield -- likely to rookie speedster Henry Ruggs III -- putting Jacobs in prime position for another 1,000-yard-plus season in 2020.

Rank
10
Aaron Jones
Aaron Jones
Green Bay Packers · Fourth season

2019 stats: 16 games | 236 att | 1,084 rush yds | 4.6 ypc | 16 rush TDs | 49 rec | 474 rec yds | 3 rec TDs


I'm still trying to figure out why the Packers drafted another running back (A.J. Dillon in the second round), because Jones has been phenomenal. I mean, he had 19 total touchdowns last season. As a do-it-all back, Jones takes pressure off QB Aaron Rodgers. I wouldn't be surprised if he lands in my top five after another productive season.

Rank
11
Kenyan Drake
Kenyan Drake
Arizona Cardinals · Fifth season

2019 stats: 14 games | 170 att | 817 rush yds | 4.8 ypc | 8 rush TDs | 50 rec | 345 rec yds | 0 rec TDs


The way Drake ran versus Seattle last season (166 rushing yards, two TDs) is one of the reasons he's in this spot. He is a completely different player in Kliff Kingsbury's offense, and it shows. Now that the Cardinals have a true No. 1 receiver in DeAndre Hopkins, who will demand double- and triple-teams, Drake should feast. I wouldn't be surprised if Drake has his best season to date.

Rank
12
Austin Ekeler
Austin Ekeler
Los Angeles Chargers · Fourth season

2019 stats: 16 games | 132 att | 557 rush yds | 4.2 ypc | 3 rush TDs | 92 rec | 993 rec yds | 8 rec TDs


Ekeler was great as the Chargers' featured back during Melvin Gordon's holdout at the beginning of last season, so I know he can handle the load. He's elusive in open space as a mismatch for linebackers and will be the team's No. 1 targeted pass catcher with Tyrod Taylor, who's been criticized for being conservative, under center.

Rank
13
Leonard Fournette
Leonard Fournette
Jacksonville Jaguars · Fourth season

2019 stats: 15 games | 265 att | 1,152 rush yds | 4.3 ypc | 3 rush TDs | 76 rec | 522 rec yds | 0 rec TDs


Fournette bounced back last season after a down 2018, but he wasn't used much in the red zone. With the addition of offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, I expect Fournette, whose fifth-year option wasn't picked up, to get plenty of touches in an effort to protect QB Gardner Minshew and help set up big-play opportunities off play-action. One thing I know for sure is that it's imperative that the Jags get their bell cow going if they want to have any type of success this season.

Rank
14
Mark Ingram
Mark Ingram
Baltimore Ravens · 10th season

2019 stats: 15 games | 202 att | 1,018 rush yds | 5.0 ypc | 10 rush TD | 26 rec | 247 rec yds | 5 rec TDs


The Ravens' backfield is absolutely loaded, with the addition of rookie J.K. Dobbins. Just like last season, MVP Lamar Jackson will open up running lanes to allow the backs to run the ball right down the defense's throat. Dobbins will get some love, but Ingram's experience and ability to run through contact and close out games will keep this team moving forward.

Rank
15
Chris Carson
Chris Carson
Seattle Seahawks · Fourth season

2019 stats: 15 games | 278 att | 1,230 rush yds | 4.4 ypc | 7 rush TDs | 37 rec | 266 rec yds | 2 rec TDs

Carson, who finished in the top five in rushing yards last season, has been highly productive the last two seasons, but I have one major problem with his game. He simply coughs up the ball too much. Carson had seven fumbles last year alone. That is a killer for any offense.

Rank
16
Devin Singletary
Devin Singletary
Buffalo Bills · Second season

2019 stats: 12 games | 151 att | 775 rush yds | 5.1 ypc | 2 rush TDs | 29 rec | 194 rec yds | 2 rec TDs


The Bills will have a committee spearheaded by Singletary, who, as a rookie, showed his ability to make people miss and line up out wide, along with his elusiveness out of the backfield. Even though he may have to share carries with T.J. Yeldon and Zack Moss, the opportunities will be fruitful, because the run game will be the focus. The addition of Stefon Diggs will also help the run game, as the No. 1 receiver will draw an extra defender out of the box. 

Rank
17
Marlon Mack
Marlon Mack
Indianapolis Colts · Fourth season

2019 stats: 14 games | 247 att | 1,091 rush yds | 4.4 ypc | 8 rush TDs | 14 rec | 82 rec yds | 0 rec TDs


Coming off solid back-to-back seasons, Mack is a home-run hitter playing behind a great offensive line. He should get the call early on, but I can see Mack splitting carries with rookie Jonathan Taylor by Week 6. Staying healthy will be key for the Colts' fourth-year back.

Rank
18
Damien Williams
Damien Williams
Kansas City Chiefs · Seventh season

2019 stats: 11 games | 111 att | 498 rush yds | 4.5 ypc | 5 rush TDs | 30 rec | 213 rec yds | 2 rec TDs


The Chiefs' backfield got a little more crowded this offseason after the selection of Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the final pick in the first round. He'll have a role in Andy Reid's offense, but Williams will benefit from his experience and the limited offseason. The Chiefs will lean on Williams early on, and what happens from there is dependent on how well the rookie plays.

Rank
19
Todd Gurley
Todd Gurley
Atlanta Falcons · Sixth season

2019 stats: 15 games | 223 att | 857 rush yds | 3.8 ypc | 12 rush TDs | 31 rec | 207 rec yds | 2 rec TDs


For the first time in his career, Gurley won't be the featured player in the offense. The Falcons' offense goes through Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Co., so expect Gurley to face fewer loaded boxes than he did with the Rams. The first-year Falcons back should have a big year in 2020, but he sits at No. 19 here because there are simply too many mouths to feed.

Rank
20
Le'Veon Bell
Le'Veon Bell
New York Jets · Seventh season

2019 stats: 15 games | 245 att | 789 rush yds | 3.2 ypc | 3 rush TDs | 66 rec | 461 rec yds | 1 rec TD


Bell struggled mightily in his first year in New York, with the biggest culprit being a poor offensive line, which is why the talented back fell this far down the list. The Jets did bring in some much-needed O-line help this offseason, which should help, but a lot of Bell's success rides on Adam Gase's play-calling. Gase must feed Bell in order to develop and get more out of Sam Darnold.

Rank
21
Miles Sanders
Miles Sanders
Philadelphia Eagles · Second season

2019 stats: 16 games | 179 att | 818 rush yds | 4.6 ypc | 3 rush TDs | 50 rec | 509 rec yds | 3 rec TDs


Sanders flashed during his rookie season, and we should expect to see more big plays out of him as the starter out of the gate in Year 2. The speed added in the passing game should open things up for the dual-threat back. He needs to prove he can be the player he was at Penn State consistently and that can handle the toll of being the guy for an entire season.

Rank
22
Tevin Coleman
Tevin Coleman
San Francisco 49ers · Sixth season

2019 stats: 14 games | 137 att | 544 rush yds | 4.0 ypc | 6 rush TDs | 21 rec | 180 rec yds | 1 rec TD


Coleman was the presumed starter when he arrived in San Francisco last offseason, and while he ended up in a committee in 2019, his stock has only gone up since, with Matt Breida being dealt to the Dolphins this offseason and Raheem Mostert requesting a trade. Coleman should get the bulk of the carries and continue being a threat in the passing game in 2020. That said, you never know what kind of shenanigans Kyle Shanahan has up his sleeve.

Rank
23
Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson
Washington Redskins · 14th season

2019 stats: 15 games | 211 att | 898 rush yds | 4.3 ypc | 5 rush TDs | 17 rec | 142 rec yds | 0 rec TDs


Despite Derrius Guice being the more explosive running back, Peterson gets the nod because, well, Guice can't stay healthy. Peterson has proven he can get the job done even at 35 years old. The health and performance of the offensive line will make all the difference for Peterson in 2020.

NOTE: If I were still playing, I'd probably rank myself here alongside Peterson. Y'all hear that? I'm ready to suit back up if I need to.

Rank
24
Melvin Gordon
Melvin Gordon
Denver Broncos · Sixth season

2019 stats: 12 games | 162 att | 612 rush yds | 3.8 ypc | 8 rush TDs | 42 rec | 296 rec yds | 1 rec TD


Phillip Lindsay has been a steady player for the Broncos, but newcomer Gordon's ceiling is much higher. This duo will likely split carries, but Gordon's production will exceed Lindsay's. The Broncos have a young, talented offense outside of the running game -- Drew Lock, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant -- so there's a good chance Gordon could put up some big numbers if he can stay on the field.

Rank
25
James Conner
James Conner
Pittsburgh Steelers · Fourth season

2019 stats: 10 games | 116 att | 464 rush yds | 4.0 ypc | 4 rush TDs | 34 rec | 251 rec yds | 3 rec TDs


Conner has to stay healthy. Period. He'll have two or three really good weeks, then be on the sideline for two or three more. It's hard for the back and the offense to get in a rhythm when the starting RB can't stay on the field. Conner has been a top-10 back in this league, and he could be again with a bounce-back performance.

Rank
26
Sony Michel
Sony Michel
New England Patriots · Third season

2019 stats: 16 games | 247 att | 912 rush yds | 3.7 ypc | 7 rush TDs | 12 rec | 94 rec yds | 0 rec TDs


Michel and the Patriots' run game couldn't get going last season. Michel must step up in his third season to take some of the load off the Patriots' new quarterback. If he can do that and Cam Newton returns to his old form, the two have a real chance to build off one another and keep the Pats at the top of the AFC East. 

Rank
27
David Montgomery
David Montgomery
Chicago Bears · Second season

2019 stats: 16 games | 242 att | 889 rush yds | 3.7 ypc | 6 rush TDs | 23 rec | 185 rec yds | 1 rec TD


Montgomery's success depends on whether or not Matt Nagy wants to run the ball. They abandoned the run game week after week in 2019, and it showed in the team's 8-8 record. I'm expecting Montgomery to get the bulk of the carries and Tarik Cohen to continue to be frequently used in certain packages. The second-year back can do a little bit of everything, but needs Nagy to commit to running the rock.

Rank
28
Kerryon Johnson
Kerryon Johnson
Detroit Lions · Third season

2019 stats: 8 games | 113 att | 403 rush yds | 3.6 ypc | 3 rush TDs | 10 rec | 127 rec yds | 1 rec TD


This was a tough choice between Johnson and rookie D'Andre Swift, who made it clear last week that he's ready to compete "full force" for snaps, but I'm sticking with Johnson. He's been productive when healthy and has two years of NFL experience, while Swift is battling the challenges of a limited offseason. That said, with splitting carries in an offense that goes through Matthew Stafford, this already feels like an uphill battle for Johnson.

Rank
29
David Johnson
David Johnson
Houston Texans · Sixth season

2019 stats: 13 games | 94 att | 345 rush yds | 3.7 ypc | 2 rush TDs | 36 rec | 370 rec yds | 4 rec TDs


Being traded to Houston had to feel like a breath of fresh air for Johnson, and I think the injury-prone back landed in the right spot. He's a versatile weapon who will thrive as a runner and pass catcher in Bill O'Brien's offense. I'd love to have Johnson higher on this list, but he has been inconsistent over the last few seasons.  

Rank
30
Jordan Howard
Jordan Howard
Miami Dolphins · Fifth season

2019 stats: 10 games | 119 att | 525 rush yds | 4.4 ypc | 6 rush TDs | 10 rec | 69 rec yds | 1 rec TD


Howard is in this spot for several reasons. He is several years removed from a 1,000-yard rushing season and is in a new scheme on a rebuilding team. He's also recovering from a shoulder injury that kept him out for the final six games of last season and will be sharing the backfield with Matt Breida.

Rank
31
Florida St. running back Cam Akers poses for a headshot during the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 in Indianapolis. (Ben Liebenberg via AP)
Cam Akers
Los Angeles Rams - Rookie

There's a lot riding on the rookie's shoulders as the likely three-down back featured in Sean McVay's offense. Akers will get plenty of opportunities in McVay's outside zone scheme but sits so low on this list because of the shortened offseason. His success depends on how quickly he can adjust to the pro game without full OTAs, preseason and adjusted training camp.

Rank
32
Ronald Jones
Ronald Jones
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Third season

2019 stats: 16 games | 172 att | 724 rush yds | 4.2 ypc | 6 rush TDs | 31 rec | 309 rec yds | 0 rec TDs


Jones improved in Year 2 and made a leap from his rookie season, securing his role as Tampa's bell cow this fall. But Bruce Arians' loaded offense aims to push the ball downfield, so I'm expecting fewer opportunities for Jones.

Related Content

Earl "Curly" Lambeau, 37, coach of Green Bay Packers of National Football League, poses in 1931, location unknown. (AP Photo)

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.