5. David Johnson (Arizona Cardinals): Johnson wasn’t quite the force last season that he had been in past years, but his versatility at a position that continually asks for greater versatility is remarkable.
There is a chance that Johnson’s role in the Cardinals offense will be reduced in coming seasons under Kliff Kingsbury, but the Cardinals offense will still likely lean on him in the near future as Kyler Murray learns the ropes.
4. Christian McCaffrey (Carolina Panthers): McCaffrey is a talent reminiscent of Reggie Bush. He has abilities perfectly suited for the modern NFL game. While I don’t feel he is the top running back in football right now, he certainly has a chance to be in that spot at some point over his career.
3. Alvin Kamara (New Orleans Saints): Kamara may be the most elusive back in football, and he has greatly increased my fascination of the Saints’ offense when studying it. Kamara will likely be a top running back long after Drew Brees is gone.
2. Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas Cowboys): Elliott has been one of the league’s best backs since the moment he entered the NFL, and there is no evidence for this trend to change. It’s hard to believe that he is only 23.
1. Saquon Barkley (New York Giants): It’s hard not to wax-poetic Dave Gettleman style about Barkley’s ability, but if his rookie season is any indication, the Giants will have a Hall-of-Fame caliber running back for the next decade.