There's been a reshuffling at the offensive skill positions in the free agency. NFL Network analysts Maurice Jones-Drew, David Carr and Nate Burleson will survey the offseason relocations of notable running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers, answering one question for each: Will the player have more or less success with his new team than he did with his previous club? Today, MJD examines running backs (in alphabetical order).
LeGarrette Blount, Detroit Lions: MORE SUCCESS
It's no surprise Blount had a productive year in Philadelphia one year after he led the league in rushing touchdowns (18) with the Patriots. He was very effective in the Eagles' committee-backfield approach, finishing the season with his highest yards-per-carry mark (4.4) since 2013. Now entering his 10th pro season, Blount's play should compare to his Patriot days. He'll be Detroit's first- and second-down back, leaving the rest of the cast fighting for third-down reps -- and making Blount the team's first 100-yard rusher since my colleague Reggie Bush in 2013.
2018 prediction: 200 carries, 1,000 yards, 15 TDs.
Isaiah Crowell, New York Jets: LESS SUCCESS
Finishing a little short of 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons in Cleveland, Crowell won't even approach that milestone this year with the Jets. He's a solid back, but it's not likely he'll get enough attempts to rack up huge numbers. Like last year, the Jets will look to ride the legs of Bilal Powell again this season.
2018 prediction: 120 carries, 600 yards, three TDs.
Frank Gore, Miami Dolphins: LESS SUCCESS
The Dolphins will limit the soon-to-be 35-year-old in his 14th NFL season and lean on Kenyan Drake as their featured back. That shouldn't surprise many, as Drake is younger and has more in the tank (sorry, Frank). Along with taking on a leadership role, Gore will be utilized as a pass blocker and out of the backfield in Adam Gase's offense. Yet Drake's injury history might allow Gore to get an opportunity to start several games in the middle of the season to bulk up his numbers.
2018 prediction: 150 carries, 700 yards, six TDs.
Jeremy Hill, New England Patriots: MORE SUCCESS
Hill's fourth season with the Bengals ended on injured reserve (ankle), with head coach Marvin Lewis and the team medical staff not seeing eye to eye with their starting running back. Parting ways should play in Hill's favor, especially with him going to New England. Hill, who had one 1,000-yard rushing season (as a rookie) in four years in Cincinnati, should be a first- and second-down back for the Patriots with his downhill running style. He'll share the backfield with Rex Burkhead and James White, who will split carries on third down.
2018 prediction: 200-plus carries, 1,000 yards, 10 TDs.
Carlos Hyde, Cleveland Browns: LESS SUCCESS
A lot of Hyde's success will depend on who Cleveland takes in the draft. Sure, the Brownspaid Hyde in free agency, but they still look poised to draft a running back. If Hyde is Cleveland's RB1, he'll be a solid first- and second-down guy, in which he should accrue simliar numbers to his 2017 campaign. The addition of Tyrod Taylor will help immensely because the defense must account for the quarterback's ability to run. None of this will matter, though, if the Brownstake the most talented player in the draft, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. In that case, Hyde's touches will be few and far between.
2018 prediction: ???
Dion Lewis, Tennessee Titans: SIMILAR PRODUCTION
Lewis led the 2017 Patriots in touches (212), rush yards (896) and total touchdowns (10). The 27-year-old back finished with 1,000 scrimmage yards, and I expect him to do the same in Tennessee despite having a different role. With Derrick Henry taking over as Tennessee's first- and second-down guy, Lewis will see a lot of action on third down and various situational plays. Look for Marcus Mariota to utilize the first-year Titan plenty in the passing game, and we've all seen how dangerous Lewis can be when he gets to the outside.
2018 prediction: 80 carries, 400 rush yards; 50 receptions, 600 yards; 10 total TDs.
Doug Martin, Oakland Raiders: LESS SUCCESS
Although Jon Gruden is determined to pound the rock, Martin isn't going to be the go-to back in his offense. The Raiders' backfield is full of guys who are going to compete for carries, including Martin, Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and Marshawn Lynch. There's just not enough to go around for Martin to make a huge jump even from his last two lackluster seasons.
2018 prediction: 110 carries, 400 yards, three TDs.
Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers: MORE SUCCESS
McKinnon's 2017 campaign set him up to become a feature back in San Francisco. The 25-year-old racked up 991 scrimmage yards on just 201 touches in Minnesota, proving he can be utilized between the tackles, on third down and in the passing game. McKinnon's going to blow last year's production out of the water in his first season in the Bay Area. Expect Kyle Shanahan to use him in every way, shape or form, and make sure McKinnon is in the best situations to create mismatches.
2018 prediction: 200 carries, 1,000 yards, 10 rush TDs; 60 rec., 600 yards, five rec. TDs.
Jonathan Stewart, New York Giants: LESS SUCCESS
It's hard to see Stewart, who is the all-time leading rusher in Panthers franchise history, having a greater role in New York than he did in Carolina (prior to the Christian McCaffrey days). There are a lot of mouths to feed in the Giants' backfield, with Stewart joining Wayne Gallman, Paul Perkins and Orleans Darkwa. And like in Cleveland, there's been talk of New York drafting Saquon Barkley. Big Blue's committee backfield won't necessarily favor the veteran, but the team better beef up that offensive line in the draft for whoever's getting the rock.
2018 prediction: 180 carries, 600 yards, six TDs.