Packers: NFC North running back rankings ahead of 2021 season

Green Bay Packers - Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers - Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Green Bay Packers, and the rest of the NFC North, have some great offensive players.

That includes many of the league’s top wide receivers, but the division also features some talented running backs.

The Minnesota Vikings are a run-first team. The Detroit Lions have focused on the offensive line while also investing at running back in recent years. The Packers, under Matt LaFleur, aim for a good balance between the run and pass.

Who are the best RBs in the NFC North?

1. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

A case can be made for Cook being the best running back in the entire league, not just his division. A Pro Bowler in each of the past two seasons, Cook has put up 2,692 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns since 2019.

The Packers have no idea how to stop him. In last season’s loss to the Vikings at Lambeau Field, Cook put up 226 total yards and four touchdowns. He found the end zone six times in two games against Green Bay in 2020.

2. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

The Packers had to pay big money to Jones this offseason, but he’s worth it.

As both a runner and receiver, he adds so much to LaFleur’s offense. Since 2019, Jones has 3,017 all-purpose yards and 30 total touchdowns. In his first four seasons, Jones averages over five yards per carry and only fell short of that number in one year (4.6 YPC in ’19).

3. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

Montgomery started slow last season but finished strong, showing just how good a running back he is. He finished his second year in the NFL with 1,070 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Seven of those touchdowns and all three of his 100-yard performances came in the final six games of the season.

If Montgomery can build on that, he could have a great 2021 season.

4. D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions

Swift has the talent, he just needs the opportunity. He was part of a committee in the Lions’ backfield last season but impressed when he had the chance, rushing for 521 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.

He showed he deserves a bigger role in 2021.

5. Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions

One player who will take some of the carries in Detroit is Williams, who left Green Bay in free agency. Williams can do everything. Whether Dan Campbell asks him to carry the ball, line up at receiver, or block, Williams will add a lot to the Lions’ offense.

A Swift-Williams combination can be one of the best in the league, especially behind an ascending Lions offensive line.