Jul 26, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; during training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
In the AFC edition of these nFL power rankings, we look at which five running backs are the best entering 2022.
5. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
Ekeler doesn’t get near enough attention for all he’s done since taking over the role of lead back for the Chargers. While he has never rushed for 1,000 yards in a season, Eckler notched 911 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground in 2021, and totaled another 70 catches for 642 yards and eight scores. He’s one of the most versatile players in any backfield and should have been a Pro Bowler last year. Perhaps 2022 is the charm.
4. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
Mixon is now on one of the best offenses in the league, and this year he’ll be playing behind a much-improved offensive line. The Bengals went out and added interior help with Ted Karras and guard Alex Kappa, along with right tackle La’el Collins. Last year, Mixon topped 1,200 rushing yards and could do so again as teams have to back up and respect the passing attack featuring quarterback Joe Burrow and receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd.
3. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
If Chubb didn’t share the backfield with Kareem Hunt, he might have a shot of threatening for 2,000 rushing yards. The former University of Georgia star is a dominant, pushing runner behind one of the league’s best offensive fronts. In 2021, Chubb ran for 1,259 yards on an absurd 5.5 yards per carry, while adding 20 receptions, 174 yards and another score in the passing game. Cleveland figures to be run-heavy once more, giving Chubb ample opportunity.
2. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
Taylor led the league in rushing attempts (332), yardage (1,811) and touchdowns (15) last year, helping the Colts. to win nine games despite a dearth of weapons on the outside and Carson Wentz under center. He will have more help this year with Wentz playing for the Washington Commanders and the Colts trading for Matt Ryan. While his numbers figure to dip some, he should still be a good bet for 1,500 yards and a potential rushing title once more.
1. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
Henry got hurt last season, and that’s a concern moving forward. However, after the Titans traded receiver A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles, this might be the busiest year of Henry’s career, and that’s saying something. Henry was on pace for 450 carries last year but only played in eight games due to a foot injury. If he stays on the field for a full slate, Henry could put up impossible stats.