Running backs may not be the superstars that they once were but they still can carry a team. Just look at Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans; they go as he goes. Some teams, however, have an entire unit worth talking about. There are a few NFL teams with quite interesting running back rooms heading into the season.
The Two Most Interesting Backfields Heading into the 2023 NFL Season
This backfield is very ambiguous right now. Who is going to be the guy behind Justin Fields? The Chicago Bears have a three-headed tandem as of right now, and there is a solid argument for any one of them. Khalil Herbert is the 2021 sixth-round pick that showed a lot of promise in the past seasons for the Bears. He stepped in while David Montgomery was injured and showed a lot of explosiveness and was a great producer for the team.
The team also added the big bruising journeyman, D’Onta Foreman. Foreman was drafted in 2017 in the third round but then suffered an Achilles injury that put him on the shelf for a while. His comeback story has definitely been an inspiring one. He played for the Titans where he filled in for the dominant force known as Derrick Henry after having a season-ending injury. He filled those shoes quite well that season. Which, in turn, got him a job in Carolina where he also performed very well.
Finally, we have the promising 2023 third-round rookie, Roschon Johnson. Johnson played behind Bijan Robinson at Texas, who, more than likely, would have been the starter in any other collegiate backfield. When he was on the field, he carried the ball really well with the work he got. He’s great in pass protection and has very good passing chops for a bigger back. He could take a lot of work from this backfield. This backfield is going to be very interesting to watch and see how it unfolds and who emerges as the lead back.
New Orleans Saints
Next, we will travel to “The Big Easy”. Jamaal Williams is the definition of the term “Steady Eddie”. He has been a coach’s dream player everywhere he has been. He does exactly what you want him to do on the field, he is a productive player, and is a solid pass-catching back. Has a good reputation everywhere he has been as a great locker room guy. On his former two teams, he has played a solid role splitting touches with the explosive Aaron Jones, and in his last landing spot, he split with D’Andre Swift. The team also paid him $12 Million for three years, so he will get work in that offense.
The other running back in that offense is the household name, Alvin Kamara. Everyone knows his resume: Great running back, great between the tackles, awesome in the receiving game. His best years were with the future Hall of Famer, Drew Brees, and great coach and play caller, Sean Payton.
Since those two guys have been out of New Orleans, Kamara has not had the same type of production we are used to. He hasn’t been used much in the passing game, which is where he has made his money. The concern is how much he has left in the tank as a 27-year-old back. He also could miss half to all of this season with his pending charges and suspension.
If he is able to come back this year and play a full season, he is still going to have to fight off the rookie that the Saints just drafted and Williams, who will see some work even though Williams isn’t a spring chicken either.
Next up is the 2023 third-round pick, Kendre Miller. He could possibly be the main reason the Saints could move on from Kamara and be comfortable with it. With Kamara’s off-the-field issues, Miller should have a lot of work coming to him.
He is a six-foot, 206-pound back with a lot of power and explosiveness. In his three years with TCU, he tallied 2,410 rushing with 26 touchdowns to go with it, along with 29 catches for 229 yards and a receiving touchdown. His best season was last year when he amassed 1,399 yards on the ground.
His most impressive stat was his average yards per carry, in 2020 it was 7.2, in 2021, 7.5, and in 2022, 6.2. This is the rookie that could take Kamara’s job if he can capitalize on the opportunity that he will receive if Kamara has to miss any time this season.
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