Top 5 running backs in the NFC North in 2024, ranked

Who are the top five running backs in the NFC North in 2024?
NFC North
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If you want to win late in the season, especially in a division like the NFC North, you've got to be able to run the ball well. That's why all four teams in this particular division have invested substantially at running back in the last couple of years, and it's why this division might be the best in the NFL when it comes to the overall quality of backs atop each team's depth chart.

Not only does every NFC North team have a good starter at running back, but each team has players behind their RB1 who could step in and play significant snaps as needed. The Green Bay Packers invested big at the running back position in 2024, signing free agent and former All-Pro Josh Jacobs to a big contract as well as using the 88th overall pick on USC star MarShawn Lloyd.

Who are the top five running backs in the NFC North heading into the 2024 season?

Ranking the best NFC North running backs in 2024: Packers' Josh Jacobs at No. 2

5. D'Andre Swift, Chicago Bears

One of the newcomers to the NFC North, former Philadelphia Eagles running back D'Andre Swift is actually returning to the division in 2024. Swift was once a second-round pick of the Detroit Lions, and is making his way toward journeyman status these days.

But that doesn't mean he's not good. In fact, it speaks to the quality of running backs across the entire NFC North that Swift is ranked fifth on this list. He made the Pro Bowl last year for the Eagles with his first 1,000-yard season, and had a personal best of 1,263 total yards from scrimmage.

The Bears are going to rely on him to carry a heavy load with rookie QB Caleb Williams now running the show under center.

4. David Montgomery, Detroit Lions

After Jamaal Williams racked up about 150 touchdown runs in the 2022 season for the Detroit Lions, folks in Detroit may not have received David Montgomery as warmly as they probably should have. The former Chicago Bears starter ran for over 1,000 yards in his first year with the Detroit Lions, racking up 13 total touchdowns on the ground over the course of the season.

While the Lions got a lot more out of Jahmyr Gibbs in the passing game, Montgomery was not a "backup" by any means. He's capable of wearing defenses down with his size and ability to create yardage after contact.

3. Aaron Jones, Minnesota Vikings

When Aaron Jones is fully healthy, he might have an argument to be the top player on this entire list. He's not nearly as dynamic speed-wise as someone like Jahmyr Gibbs, and he isn't usually going to take on the volume of carries you'll see from Josh Jacobs, but Jones was borderline unstoppable late last season for the Packers when he came back from injury.

After the Packers cut Jones this offseason, he signed with the Minnesota Vikings, and we'll have to see whether or not he can still be that 1,500 yards from scrimmage type of guy with the Vikings' quarterback situation. They're going to rely on him a lot there this season.

2. Josh Jacobs, Green Bay Packers

Although Josh Jacobs didn't have as good of a season in 2023 as he did in 2022 with the Raiders, he's still one of the best and most physical backs in the league. Jacobs signed a four-year deal with the Packers in free agency and was one of the most coveted players on the market for good reason.

Even in an era where the running back position value has been diminished substantially, Jacobs landed himself a deal worth $12 million annually. Even in a "down" year last year, Jacobs still racked up over 1,100 all-purpose yards and six total touchdowns. He had over 2,000 yards from scrimmage two seasons ago (earning first-team All-Pro honors) and could end up being a game-changer for this Green Bay offense.

1. Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions

After what we saw in his rookie season, the sky is really the limit for Jahmyr Gibbs. Gibbs made the Pro Bowl as a rookie for the Detroit Lions and proved himself as one of the best all-around backs in the NFL with 1,261 yards from scrimmage, 11 total touchdowns, and 52 receptions while averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

Gibbs is a complete back, and he's a true home-run hitter at the position. He has the type of speed to flip field position on a dime, and running behind that Detroit Lions offensive line?

It's a match made in heaven. He's only going to keep getting better.

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