While the 2009 Draft didn't have a super-flashy, number-one consensus pick, the class as a whole does look to have a lot of depth and could potentially turn out to be very deep indeed.

In the interests of putting everything into perspective so that it can be better organized and put into useful form, I've gone and done the UNTHINKABLE and ranked the Top 7 rookie running backs of 2009 as I see them, followed by some honorable mentions dealing with some toss-ups and late round super-sleepers.

So go and get a drink, put on your slippers, do some push-ups -- whatever it is that your crazy ### does to get ready to read some delicious fantasy football analysis. Please don't hesitate to print this bad-boy out and take it with you on your marathon outings into the bathroom either. Nothing makes bathroom reading better than rookie running back rankings (in my opinion, at least).

Ready. Steady. GO!

7. Donald Brown (IND)

I like Brown a lot, but just can't shake the feeling that Joseph Addai isn't going anywhere anytime soon. As long as Peyton Manning is the QB, the Colts RB2 would be worth a serious look if only in much deeper leagues.

For Addai owners though, it's obvious that Brown would be a viable and practically mandatory handcuff unless you wanted to be beating yourself with a toaster throughout the season should the LSU alum possibly go down at some point with an injury.

On the skill set front though, Donald Brown is an absolute beast of a workhorse. He had a ridiculous 367 carries last year en route to 2,083 yards and 18 touchdowns. While 2,083 yards is certainly impressive no matter what division it was accomplished in, I'm much more impressed and infatuated with those 367 carries. Say what you want about his yardage totals and how they correlate to less-than-stellar opposing defenses, but no matter how poor the defenses you face are, if you pound that rock 367 times... then you my friend, are what I like to call, "A HOUUUUUSEEEEEE".

Bottom line: An extremely tempting handcuff for any and all Addai owners as well as a worthy "roll the dice" pick in deeper leagues. This kid has the potential to be an absolute train of a workhorse RB and is also one of the best off-the-field rookie prospects there is. This kid straight up has his shiz-niz together, and you won't have to worry about him ever being suspended for a few games for trying to stab a taxi cab driver or something.

2009 fantasy RB potential (Out of four, "Wow I am EXCITED!" faces):


6. James Davis (CLE)

Despite the fact that Eric Mangini has gone on record to state that he plans to use Jerome Harrison frequently in a spell roll for rumbling, bumbling starting RB Jamal Lewis, we should all take this with a grain of salt since this is, in fact, Eric Mangini we're talking about here.

Seriously though, while it remains to be seen if Browns rookie RB James Davis' skill set will be more worthwhile for the Browns to use to spell Lewis this year instead of Harrison, we can take a look at the formers career stats thus far and then go from there.

Jerome Harrisons career statistics (2006-08): 77 carries for 448 yards (5.8 average), 1 TD and 23 receptions for 182 yards and 1 TD

Not bad until you take into account that he's only ran the ball an average of 25 times per year and most of these carries came near the end of games when the defense had become weakened by a constant barrage of Jamal Lewis' He-Man runs.

So what you really have to do is decide whether or not you think Harrison is going to keep up this fantastic pace when the team starts to use him more in the rushing game. Personally, I don't think he will and would be best used on third-and-long, Wildcat or special RB/WR-reverse type plays and situations.

Davis on the other hand has solid speed, is consistent and has stayed healthy for nearly his entire career. Although he split carries in 2008 with fellow Clemson RB C.J. Spiller, Davis still managed to rack up 751 yards rushing and cross the goal line a total of 11 times despite only 171 carries. He also tacked on 14 receptions for 123 yards as well.

In 2006 and 2007 Davis had much better years as the teams feature back and nearly left school early to declare for the NFL Draft -- instead deciding to go back to school and finish up his degree. In those two years combined though, Davis amassed a total of 2,251 yards on the ground via 417 carries (5.3 average) and 27 touchdowns. So while many people have been less-than-impressed with Davis' 2008 campaign, it seems that the young rookie does a lot better when he's the one GETTING the majority of the carries.

With Jamal Lewis not getting any younger – especially from his style of running that, while punishing to opposing defenders, certainly can't be good for his own body either, it's really going to come down to whether James Davis can outshine Jerome Harrison to claim the future starting role. You also have to wonder if they'll both perform well and we'll be seeing them transition into a fearsome, two-headed RBBC once Jamal Lewis hangs up his train cleats.

With Brady Quinn a definite possibility to become the Browns starting QB (it'd be a near certainty if anyone but Mangini was at the coaching helm), the opportunity for lots and lots of carries is definitely something that could become a reality.

Bottom line: No matter of how you think the Browns RB situation will unfold just make sure you keep your eye on James Davis.

2009 fantasy RB potential (Out of four, "Wow I am EXCITED!" faces):


5. LeSean McCoy (PHI)

The heir apparent to the Brian Westbrook era, LeSean McCoy might not see too much on-the-field action in 2009. Or then again, he very well could.

Let's focus on what we know.

Brian Westbrook is a rare and special talent whom, while getting up there in age, certainly has somewhat of a ways to go before he's ready to be replaced for good. We also know that the entire Eagles offense runs through, around, and on top of the versatile star. Add to this that Westbrook rarely leaves the field because he can run, catch and block all equally well, and what you're left with is a puzzled look on your face as you try and predict how much on-the-field playing time rookie RB LeSean McCoy will experience.

Again, let's focus on what we KNOW.

We know that there's a definite possibility that McCoy could be the featured star of the Eagles own Wildcat formation, should they decide to run it very often this year. But with the success that the formation has had thus far in the league, it would probably be a safe bet to assume that this will end up becoming a reality.

We also know that the only real threat for the RB2 job in regards to McCoy is Lorenzo Booker who again, for all we know, is no real threat at all (2.7 rushing average last year).

Taking a look at the past, last year's backup to Westbrook, Correll Buckhalter, was given 76 carries on the year. Buckhalter was also the backup in 2006 and 2007 as well and was actually given 83 and 62 carries in those years respectively. Now, in an effort to steer clear of trying to forecast injuries too much, those three yearly carry totals give us a pretty solid look at how the Eagles dish out touches to their second in running back command.

It's not THAT out of the question to think that McCoy will get 75 carries this year as well as see at least 25 Wildcat-type plays in order to put him at the century mark for touches. For a backup to a player like Westbrook that is on the field so much, that isn't bad. It isn't bad at all.

Bottom line: An even more mandatory handcuff for Westbrook owners, especially when you consider that McCoy is just as versatile and would be given just as much focus should Westbrook go down. But as we just mapped out, even as an RB2, McCoy is definitely worth a look if you like what you've seen from him thus far.

2009 fantasy RB potential (Out of four, "Wow I am EXCITED!" faces):

W00t W00t

4. Bernard Scott (CIN)

Rookie RB Bernard Scott has found himself on a Bengals squad in which he is surrounded on all sides by mediocre, patchwork running backs. This fact alone would make him a promising prospect to see a lot of playing time and even possibly become the starter, but luckily (for the Bengals), there's a whole lot more to this rough-and-tumble tale.

Scott was a BEAST in college, racking up more than 4,200 yards and finding the end zone 62 times in just TWO years at Abilene Christian University. It's been reported that the Bengals are VERY impressed with his quickness and speed when getting to the perimeter. This kids athleticism is obviously already on the NFL level and he has a small level of competition for the starting job – so why isn't everyone ranting and raving over him?

Let me say it again. Scott was a BEAST in college. An absolute beast in every sense of the word.

Unfortunately, in typical Cincinnati Bengal fashion, Scott was drafted despite the fact that he's had some pretty hefty off-the-field issues, reportedly being arrested five different times and playing for THREE other colleges before "settling in" at Abilene Christian.

You know, cause it's not like the Bengals have had problems with their players off-the-field criminal activity before or anything, right?

<Obligatory pause so that last statement can sink in some...>

Seriously, not only will it be a travesty if this kids talent is never allowed to come to fruition because of his off-the-field troubles, it will be absolutely disgusting that the Bengals allowed it to happen AGAIN. What is this the twelfth time or something? I sincerely hope their lax disciplinary rules in regards to this stuff doesn't contribute from potentially robbing us of the opportunity to potentially see this talent of a kid blossom into a star.

Bottom line: He's a risk and he's a big one at that, but along with big-risk, comes big-reward. The choice is yours, young grasshopper!

2009 fantasy RB potential (Out of four, "Wow I am EXCITED!" faces):

W00t W00t 1/2

3. Shonn Greene (NYJ)

If you haven't yet heard about Shonn Greene and how the Jets organization was literally giggling with glee when he fell into their lap on day two of the Draft, then you miiiiiiiight want to go about finding a new crew in whom you can discuss football with, because Greene is as hot a topic as there is currently (at least in regards to the rookie class).

Green promptly exploded onto the college football scene last year when he absolutely TORE it UP with 307 carries for 1,850 yards and 20 TD's. He had 8 receptions for 49 yards too but as you can see, that's really not the young man's strong point.

New Jets head coach Rex Ryan was very happy with the teams acquisition of Greene and the teams running back coach Anthony Lynn actually had Greene as his #1 RB prospect throughout the entire draft. That's almost certainly a lie, but I'm sure he had him ranked pretty high up there and was most certainly very surprised AND happy when he wasn't taken in Day One of the Draft.

Rex Ryan is all about running the rock and playing a hard-nosed, smash mouth, conservative style of football that will most likely be bogged down a bit with the inevitability of either an inexperienced or rookie QB about to take the signal calling reigns.

To sum it up, the Jets are going to run the football a lot and they're going to run the football successfully. They have one of the best offensive lines in the game and although Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are on the RB depth chart as well, Jones will be 31 this season which is practically AARP worthy in "running back years" (think cats and dogs). Washington is the teams resident spark plug whom is not utilized too often in order to maximize his effectiveness.

There is risk in banking too highly on Greene however, since Jones could have another stellar year and Washington could dazzle with a few big plays out the get-go while Greene is still struggling to get up to NFL speed.

However looking down the road, Jones is going to be gone soon and the Greene/Washington RBBC duo has a lot of scary potential. The Jets could very well play a card out of the Patriots and Giants playbooks and run a three player RBBC. Intriguing!

If Greene can translate well enough, he should be given enough carries to be at LEAST a spot-starter or even full-time starter should Jones go down. He'd also make a very nice handcuff for Jones as well, but I'm sure you already knew that didn't you?

Bottom line: There's a reason that there's a ton of buzz around this kid. But don't be swept up in it too much, because while he has a lot of upside, he also has some road blocks that could stand in his way to truly fulfilling his potential (for THIS year at least). Next year is a whole other story and 2500 word article!

2009 fantasy RB potential (Out of four, "Wow I am EXCITED!" faces): W00t W00t 1/2

2. Knowshon Moreno (DEN)

Say whaaaaaaat!?

I know, I know, but please bear with me. All will soon be revealed to you, just have some patience. Please and thank you.

To start off, here's a list of the current Denver running backs on the roster (in addition to Moreno of course):

Correll Buckhalter

LaMont Jordan

Darius Walker

Ryan Torain

Now even though Mike "I pioneered the RBBC and get incredibly rosy red cheeks in cold weather games" Shanahan is no longer the head coach, you still have to expect the team to use some kind of RBBC along with Moreno – especially when you consider that Buckhalter and Jordan were brought in this past off-season and Ryan Torain hasn't exactly proven to be a bust by any means at all.

On the Moreno front, he certainly has the talent to outclass all of the others and be the RB1 in the committee, but with so many running backs… I don't know. I'm just not as incredibly excited as some other people may be about him.

It's certainly not enough to warrant not taking a good, hard and serious look at him, but as you can see from this article, there's plenty of other rookie running backs available that will probably end up being just as good as him – if not better.

Bottom line: He's the best running back on a team with a sea of running backs that the team is probably going to try and utilize all of. The kid sure is talented, though, that's for sure.

2009 fantasy RB potential (Out of four, "Wow I am EXCITED!" faces):

W00t W00tW00t

1. Chris Wells (ARI)

You may disagree, but I think the whole Hightower bandwagon last year had a lot to do with Edgerrin James early season knack for being a mortal lock to have a 2.1 rushing average per game. Hightower would be given three chances in a row on the goal-line and BAM! He's a end-zone nosed juggernaut powerhouse!

Color me unimpressed.

Chris Wells on the other hand (I refuse to use his nickname), is everything that people were making Hightower out to be last year AND then some. He's tough. He's edgy. He wanted to sacrifice long-term injury last year to play in some of Ohio State's big time games. He's been injured here and there, but that can probably be explained away by his never-say-die nature and knack for taking it right into the teeth of the defensive time after time.

Not only is he a hard-nosed runner, but he has just enough breakaway speed to potentially be a game-breaking RB as well. Ken Whisenhunt is of the Pittsburgh, smash mouth football mold and I for one think that he likes to succeed on the first smash mouth attempt and not the third or sometimes fourth… (I'm looking at you Mr. Hightower)

Wells is surely going to share some of the playing time with Hightower but I just don't see it being split too evenly if Wells skill set transitions to the NFL like everyone thinks it will. The situation in Arizona that he landed in was perhaps one of the best possible with its lethal air attack, strong offensive line, and veteran QB who will tell him what needs to be done.

Bottom line: Apparently some things turn out NOT too good to be true after all!

2009 fantasy RB potential (Out of four, "Wow I am EXCITED!" faces):

W00t W00tW00t W00t

Honorable mentions (Consider them a 1/4 to 1/2, "Wow I am EXCITED!" face):

Javon Ringer (TEN), Glen Coffee (SF)

Commence your feedback and analysis! (More discussion is available at:

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.