I was listening to Jody Mac on WIP last night and he believed that Ezekiel Elliot is the #1 RB in the league, followed closely by Le’veon Bell, and then David Johnson #3. This is incorrect by my measure and here is why.
ProFootballFocus has a rating system that, well, rates RB’s based off of missed tackles, blocking, receiving, and essentially all attributes that go into being an RB. Here is there top 6 list.
The pass block skill set is the only reason DJ is being held back. I’d argue that although pass blocking is important, it should not bring down the DJ to levels below the likes of Jay Ajayi (55% of his yards came in 3 games out of 12) and Melvin Gordon (who has somehow slipped into a position of getting TD’s).
An offensive line is a must to be a good RB. I’d argue that the offensive lines of Zeke and Leveon are far superior to DJ. Here’s the proof.
Can we talk Demarco Murray for one second. He was the NFL’s leading rusher in 2014 when he ran for 1,845 yards. The next closest was LeSean McCoy who ran for 1,319. The subsequent season, DeMarco was traded to the Eagles and under Chip Kelly’s scheme finished 19th in rushing yards with 702. HMMMM. In 2016, DeMarco already has 1,135 yards and has the 2nd most total yards. What changed? Do you think this helps at all?
Now that I’ve proven that a good O-line is essential to being a superior RB, let’s delve into what David Johnson is doing this year that none of the other back are.
His receiving yards lead the league among RB’s and is leading in all-purpose yards. Doing that with an inferior O-Line should be enough to say that this guy is the best back in the NFL. If you wanted to argue with me that LeVeon Bell is better, I wouldn’t even start because I’d also agree. He’s a freak who has the patience of a saint. It bothers though that a guy out of Northern Iowa doesn’t seem to be getting the respect he deserves.