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Top Best Five Running Backs In The NFL Today 2011

Updated on June 28, 2015
Top Running Backs 2011
Top Running Backs 2011

NFL's Best Active Running Backs in 2011

For as long as the NFL football games have been played you will find that the best running attacks have relied on a grind it out approach. Ground and Pound as Rex Ryan coach of the New York Jets would say. Pick up three yards here, 4 yards there and pound those final few inches for a first down. To be fearless, durable and determined are all traits this position requires. Though not quite as sassy as the wide receivers of the NFL, don't be surprised at some of the flashy swagger you might see on the field from some of these running backs.

NFL Running Backs

For many teams in the NFL the ideal game is where there is 'a ball controlled offense' that allows for a variety of plays on the ground and in the air. But that mix of plays only works if the running game is sound. So for a running game it is obvious you need a great running back. And the best teams in the NFL have great running backs.

Running Backs in the Game of Football

Running backs linye up a couple of steps behind the quarterback or off to his side. Primarily they run the ball. They may block for the QB on some plays but a great running back you may see them heading down field for a pass and usually it is through heavy traffic Throughout the NFL history, the average offensive running back averages 4.0 YPA. The average NFL team averages 4.0 YPA. Only the occasional big play in a football game separates the average players from the prolific football players such as Barry Sanders or, today, such as Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson.

LaDainian Tomlinson #21 New York Jets

LaDainian Tomlinson

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LaDainian Tomlinson runs for 133 yards and two scores as the New York Jets roll the Buffalo Bills, 38-14. Sunday, October 3rd photoNew York Jets' LaDainian Tomlinson, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010LaDainian Tomlinson, left, and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis Monday, Sept. 13, 2010
LaDainian Tomlinson runs for 133 yards and two scores as the New York Jets roll the Buffalo Bills, 38-14. Sunday, October 3rd 2010
LaDainian Tomlinson runs for 133 yards and two scores as the New York Jets roll the Buffalo Bills, 38-14. Sunday, October 3rd 2010 photo photo
New York Jets' LaDainian Tomlinson, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010
New York Jets' LaDainian Tomlinson, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010
LaDainian Tomlinson, left, and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis Monday, Sept. 13, 2010
LaDainian Tomlinson, left, and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis Monday, Sept. 13, 2010

Here I Come New York

NFL NY Jets - LaDainian Tomlinson #21
NFL NY Jets - LaDainian Tomlinson #21

LaDanian Tomlinson

Tomlinson signed with the New York Jets on March 14, 2010. He holds the N.F.L. record with 31 touchdowns in a season. Some say that last year after the worst season of his career, he is washed up (he will turn 31 this June). The first nine years of his NFL career he played for the San Diego Chargers, where as a tailback he displayed the ability to break a big run and can be a force in a third down situation with sure hands and impressive route running.

As a running back for the Jets, we will see LT play as a backup to Shonn Greene, suited up in a green and white uniform, he will have the chance to run behind what may be the N.F.L.’s best offensive line. He will be reunited with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who was a Chargers assistant for four years when Tomlinson was there. The NY Jets, who embrace a “ground and pound” philosophy may be just the extra push Gang Green needs to go all the way this season.

The Jets give Tomlinson something, too . . . a chance to win a Super Bowl, the only missing piece on his résumé.

Nov 7, 2010 Update

Tomlinson joins Payton in exclusive yardage club

The New York Jets running back joined Walter Payton as the only players in NFL history to gain 13,000 yards rushing and 4,000 yards receiving. Tomlinson, the seventh-leading rusher in league history, reached the milestone with an 8-yard run during the second quarter of Sunday Oct 31, 2010 9-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

The New York Jets emphasize running the ball first, its a ground and pound game and that's what LaDanian does; he's a good runner. There's a reason why he has a possibility to be one of the best running backs to ever play the game.

LaDainian Tomlinson

Career Highlights and Awards

  • College awards and honors
  • 5× Pro Bowl selection
  • 4× First-team All-Pro selection
  • 2× Second-team All-Pro
  • AP NFL MVP (2006)
  • PFWA NFL MVP (2006)
  • Co-Walter Payton M.O.Y (2006)
  • Best NFL Player ESPY Award (2007)
  • Best Male Athlete ESPY Award (2007)
  • NFL 2000s All-Decade Team
  • List of NFL records

LaDainian Tomlinson


  • Date of birth: June 23, 1979
  • Place of birth: Rosebud, Texas
  • Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
  • Weight: 221 lb (100 kg)
  • College: Texas Christian NFL Draft: 2001 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5
  • Debuted: 2001 for the San Diego Chargers

Career History

Roster status: Active

Ladanian Tomilson

Career NFL

Statistics as of 2011

  • Rushing yards 13,404
    Rushing average 4.3
    Rushing TDs 144
    Receptions 588
    Receiving yards 4,396
    Receiving TDs 15

Stats at

LT Retires

He retired in the Spring of 2012, after 11 NFL seasons, 170 games, 3,174 carries and 13,684 rushing yards.

His alma mater, TCU, honored him Thursday October 4, 2012, inducting him into the Letterman's Association Hall of Fame.

"On my journey, there are different stages. There's high school. There's college. There's the professional level. I feel like I made my mark on every part of the journey. I think this is icing on the cake of the things that we built while we were here at TCU. ...This is an honor."

He will be a candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

Steven Jackson #39 St. Louis Rams


St. Louis Rams Running Back Steven Jackson (photo-
St. Louis Rams Running Back Steven Jackson (photo-

Steven Jackson

"Imagine the blinding speed of Tony Dorsett, the bone-crushing power of Earl Campbell, the ankle-breaking vision and jukes of Barry Sanders, and the backfield pass-catching of Marshall Faulk -- all in one muscle-packed 6'2", 235-pound frame -- and you begin to get a picture of the St. Louis Rams' running back No. 39."¹

I Am²
by Steven Jackson (age 10)
I am a NFL running back
I wonder if I will be great
I hear the crowd cheer
I see me scoring a touchdown
I want a Super Bowl ring
I pretend I'm a great running back
I feel like I'm a star
I touch the first place trophy
I worry we won't win
I cry if I fell
I am a NFL running back
I understand some will [be] greater
I say what I mean
I dream to be the greatest
I try to be the best
I hope I'll be remembered as one of the greatest
I am a NFL running back.

Quite an amazing poem coming from a 10 year old. It shows the attitude and how powerful dreaming and believing is.

"SUPERSTAR, COMMUNITY LEADER, AND EMERGING ICON, Steven Jackson is redefining the modern day running back, one punishing carry at a time." ³

*¹˜³ Official Steven Jackson website

Steven Jackson

SJ#39 Career Highlights and Awards

  • Las Vegas Bowl MVP (2003)
  • 2× Pro Bowl selection (2006, 2009)
  • 2× Second-team All-Pro selection (2006, 2009)

Steven Jackson

Career NFL Statistics

Rushing yards 8,004

Rushing average 4.3

Rushing TDs 48

Stats at

Steven Jackson

Date of birth: July 22, 1983

Place of birth: Las Vegas, Nevada

Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 236 lb (107 kg)

College: Oregon State

NFL Draft: 2004 / Round: 1 / Pick: 24

Debuted: 2004 for the St. Louis Rams

Career History

Roster status: Active

Chris Johnson #28 Running Back Tennesee Titans

Chris Johnson

Tennesee Titans Running Back
Tennesee Titans Running Back

Tennessee Titans CJ

Chris Johnson probably considered the fastest man in pro football today because he just was was uncatchable in setting a league mark for yards from scrimmage (2,509) and becoming the sixth player with a 2,000-yard rushing season.

As running backs goes, he is the first NFL player to finish with at least 2,000 yards rushing and 500 receiving (503).

That earned the second-year pro 38 1/2 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the NFL. Hard to believe but Chris Johnson easily beat New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, who received nine votes.

"That gives me something to look forward to next year," Johnson had said before focusing on Dickerson's mark. "You go for 2,000 yards. I don't know what you can really say that makes you want to work harder or anything like that, so it's kind of a good thing and a bad thing me not getting the record."

Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson - Video Highlights

Career Highlights and Awards

  • C-USA All-Freshman (2004)
  • 2× First team All-Conf. USA (2006, 2007)
  • All-Iron Award (2008)
  • 2× Pro Bowl selection (2008, 2009)
  • 1× First-team All-Pro selection (2009)
  • 2,000 rushing yard season (2009)
  • NFL record for scrimmage yards in a season (2009)
  • NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2009)

Chris Johnson


Date of birth: September 23, 1985

Place of birth: Orlando, Florida

Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)

College: East Carolina

NFL Draft: 2008 / Round: 1 / Pick: 24

Debuted: 2008 for the

Career History

Tennessee Titans Tennessee Titans (2008–present)

Roster status: Active

Career NFL Statistics

As of Week 17, 2009

  • Rushing TDs 23
  • Receptions 93
  • Receiving yards 763
  • Receiving TDs 3

Stats at

Adrian Peterson #28 Running Back Minnesota Vikings

Adrian Peterson

Minnesota Vikings Running Back Adrian "All Day" Peterson taking it to the house! photo
Minnesota Vikings Running Back Adrian "All Day" Peterson taking it to the house! photo

Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson

They call him All Day. And it is because he is the running back that you want to go to all day long, especially when you are in a 3rd and 4 situation, when you you desperately need a 1st Down because you want to take the game into your winning column. Give it to Adrian Peterson and that is what he will bring you. Or watch him in the 1st quarter break free and take it to the house from 60 yards out.

Just think, even with everything that he’s been able to accomplish in 2 seasons, he’s never had a legitimate starting quarterback to help open up the field. If there was even a threat of a pass, just imagine the statistics he’d be capable of producing. And lets not forget that Adrian Peterson is a very worthy hunk of the gridiron, a sexy butt added to all this great football player has to offer. Add all this up and it is the formula for one great running back.


Adrian Peterson is 4th player in NFL history with 8,500+ rush yards & 75+ rush TD in his 1st 6 seasons (L Tomlinson, E Smith, E Dickerson).

Adrian Peterson

All Day

Adrian Peterson Autographed Minnesota Vikings 810 Photo
Adrian Peterson Autographed Minnesota Vikings 810 Photo

Career NFL Statistics

Adrian Peterson

As of Week 17, 2009

  • Attempts 915 Rushing yards 4,484
  • Rushing Average yards 4.9
  • Rushing TDs 40
  • Receptions 83
  • Receiving yards 829

Stats at

Adrian Peterson

Minnesota Vikings #28 RB

Date of birth: March 21, 1985

Place of birth: Palenstine, Texas

Height: 6-1 Weight: 217 Age: 25

College: Oklahoma

NFL Draft: 2007 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7

Debuted: 2007 for the Minnesota Vikings

Experience: 4th season

Adrian Peterson Career Highlights and Awards

  • Hall Trophy (2003)
  • ESPN RISE High School Football Player of the Decade (2000s)[1]
  • College awards and honors
  • AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (2007)
  • 3× Pro Bowl selection (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • 2× First Team All-Pro selection (2008, 2009)
  • 1× Second Team All-Pro selections (2007)
  • Pro Bowl MVP (2008)
  • NFL awards
  • NFL records
  • Bert Bell Award (2008)

Marion Barber #24 Running Back Chicago Bears

Marion the Barbarian

2011 Marion is now a Bear
2011 Marion is now a Bear

Marion Sylvester Barber III

Marion Barber doesn’t mask his emotions on the football field. He always has a serious demeanor and at all times looks mad. In fact he plays mad. And when defenders attempt to tackle this power runner, they are the ones who end up mad at the end of the collision.
Marion “the Barbarion” Barber used to help the Dallas Cowboys’ offense grind down the clock and maintain ball possession. With defenses worried about stopping the run, this leaves the window wide open for Tony Romo and the Cowboys’ prolific passing attack.

Perhaps the only knock in this running backs game comes from his lack of speed, but Barber still has enough turbo in the tank to make his dreads fly out in the open field.

He is the older brother of Houston Texans safety Dominique Barber and the son of former New York Jets running back Marion Barber, Jr..

2011 Update

The Dallas Cowboys struggled and had an extremely disappointing 2010 season as the entire Cowboys team struggled from game one. Marion stats were not so great as In 13 games he rushed for 480 yards on 113 carries for a 3.3 yard per carry average, the lowest of his career. His 4 rushing touchdowns were also the lowest of his career.

Chicago Bears

Barber was released by Dallas on July 28, 2011.and on July 30, 2011, the Chicago_Bears signed Barber to a two-year, $5 million contract where he is currently trying to beat out Chester Taylor for the Bears 2nd string Running Back.

Marion Barber

Marion Barber Video Highlights

Marion Barber Career

Highlights and Awards

Career highlights and awards

  • Music City Bowl MVP (2004)
  • Pro Bowl selection (2007)

Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2009

  • Rushing yards 3,984 Rushing average 4.3
  • Rushing TDs 43

Stats at

Marion Barber

Date of birth: June 10, 1983

Place of birth: Plymouth, Minnesota

Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) Weight: 222 lb (101 kg)

College: Minnesota

NFL Draft: 2005 / Round: 4 / Pick: 109

Debuted: 2005 for the Dallas Cowboys

NFL Experience: 5th year

NFL Statistics:


715 carries, 3,052 yards (4.3 yards/carry), 36 TDs, 137 receptions, 1,010 yards, 6 TDs.

  • 2008: 238 carries, 885 yards (3.7 yards/carry), 7 TDs, 52 receptions, 417 yards, 2 TDs.
  • 2007: 204 carries, 975 yards (4.8 yards/carry), 10 TDs, 44 receptions, 282 yards, 2 TDs.

Career-high 14 TDs in 2006.

Marion the Barbarian

From the Words of

Football Player Marion Barber

Motto: Hit or get hit

Tattoos: Six

Funniest Teammate: Tashard Choice, RB

Best offensive player I’ve ever played with: My O-Line

Closest friends in NFL: Laurence Maroney, Sidney Rice and my teammates

Favorite Food: Collard greens

Favorite Movie: “Harlem Nights” with Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor. It’s a classic.

What in your iPod? Twista, 2Pac, Gospel. I listen to everything but I can’t do country.

What do you do before a game? Tune out and listen to music.

What’s better; scoring a touchdown or delivering a crushing block?
Delivering a block. That’s what I like to do.

Cited from :

MJD of the Jaguars
MJD of the Jaguars

MJD - Jacksonville Jaguars

Maurice Christopher Jones-Drew[1]  (born March 23, 1985 in Oakland, California) is a current American football running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars
Maurice Christopher Jones-Drew[1] (born March 23, 1985 in Oakland, California) is a current American football running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars

Maurice Jones Drew

Pint-sized Maurice Jones-Drew is one-half of the Jaguars' potent running back tandem.
Pint-sized Maurice Jones-Drew is one-half of the Jaguars' potent running back tandem.
 Photo -Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Photo -Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Maurice Jones Drew

Jacksonville Jaguars


By popular demand and my mistake from the start this list of the best running backs must include Maurice Jones Drew. MJD is a football player that is determined and utterly committed to winning. Maurice Jones Drew does it all, he runs, he blocks, he catches, and he returns kicks while at the same time dispelling the myth that smaller players (he's 5' 7”) can't make it in the pros.

As a second-round pick out of UCLA in 2006, the diminutive Jones-Drew was supposed to be little more than a third-down back. You can argue with the stats for he has 45 career touchdowns and an average of nearly five yards. He has 3,270 career rushing yards and 178 catches for 1,606 yards and four touchdowns.

Not only is Jones-Drew one of the NFL’s premier players at his position, he’s one of the league’s top trash-talkers. MJD is definitely fun to watch and in the past three seasons, Jones-Drew has become a one-man show and double-trouble for opponents as a runner and pass receiver.

Career Highlights

  • NCAA Season Record
    Punt return average
  • Jacksonville Jaguars Record: All-Purpose
    Yards in a Single Game (Week 14, '06 season)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars Record: Single Season All-Purpose Yards (2,250 yards, 2006 season)
  • 2nd Place, AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
  • 1x Pro Bowl selection (2009)
  • 1x Second-team All-Pro (2009)


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