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Ranking The NFC East Starting Running Backs

After ranking the starting quarterbacks of the NFC East, now it is time for the running backs. While there has not been much movement of the running backs in the NFC East, there is plenty of talent. From Ezekiel Elliott in Dallas to Antonio Gibson in Washington, it is beginning to be a toss-up for who is the best. That being said, let’s rank the starting running backs in the NFC East for 2022.

Miles Sanders will likely be the starter once again in Philly. Sanders is entering his fourth season in the NFL and his production has remained consistent. In three years, Sanders has accumulated 2,439 rushing yards, 864 receiving yards, and 12 total touchdowns. Philly has been blessed with a running back room with depth. Sanders has not had to light up the stat book because he has support from the other backs.

However, Sanders has nearly eclipsed 1,000 yards regardless of the depth in Philly. Unfortunately for Sanders, he shared a division with three other star running backs. Until Sanders can eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in a season, he stays at the bottom of this list. He has immense potential when healthy and Philly found a diamond in the rough.

The only reason Barkley is at the third spot on this list is because of his health. As he enters his fifth season, Barkley is the real deal when healthy. He accumulated 2,310 rushing yards in his first two seasons alone. Barkley also is an elite receiving back considering he has 1,482 reception yards.

However, injuries have plagued the Giants superstar. He played only two games in 2020 before an ACL tear. He did manage to play in 13 games in 2021 but high ankle sprains knocked him out for a few games. When Barkley is healthy, he is the Giant’s workhorse running back. He should get at least 25 touches per game to have success. Get Barkley healthy again and he will jump a spot on this list.

Gibson has become a premier running back in the NFC East and NFL overall. Gibson is only going into year three which makes his production even more impressive. He has racked up 1,832 rushing yards and 541 receiving yards. Gibson saw a significant increase in touches in his second year. While he had more turnovers, his yards increased but he saw a drop in touchdowns.

With the Commanders looking to jump up in the NFC East, Gibson will be a big part of that process. Much like Barkley in New York, Gibson will be a high-volume player in Washington. Whether he helps them win via the run game or passing game, Gibson is worth the money. Keeping him healthy and involved will be vital to any sort of Commander’s success in 2022. But until Gibson produces at a high level past his first two years, he stays below the guy at number one.

“Wow, a Dallas Cowboys website ranking Zeke as the best running back, what a surprise.” I can hear the groans already but get over it. The truth here is that Ezekiel Elliott is the best running back in this division until further notice. As he enters his seventh season, Elliott is a staple of this Cowboys offense. Elliott is third all-time in Cowboys team history in rushing yards (7,386). He is also third all-time in rushing touchdowns with 56.

Why do all those stats matter? He has done all of that in only 88 games folks. He has wreaked havoc on the NFC East for his entire career essentially. His worst year by far was the 2020 season where he had six fumbles and only six touchdowns. But guess what, he finished with 979 rushing yards so even in a bad year, he nearly breaks 1,000 yards. Since 2016, Zeke leads the NFL in rushing yards with 7,386 over guys like Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, and many more. That type of player deserves the number one spot.

While he is beginning to split carries with Tony Pollard, Zeke is still the primary running back. Throw aside his injuries sustained in 2021. Why? He still finished with 1,002 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns, and only ONE fumble. Until you show me a running back in this division putting up similar numbers, Zeke holds steady as the best running back in the NFC East and one of the best in the NFL.

Who is the best starting running back in the NFC East? Comment below and join the discussion!

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