A group of 10 elite running backs have earned their place on NFL Network’s “The Top 100 Players of 2011” series. Kansas City Chiefs blazer Jamaal Charles (No. 33) and St. Louis Rams mainstay Steven Jackson (No. 38) were revealed in Sunday night’s telecast.
NFL Network analyst Marshall Faulk, one of the greatest running back to ever suit up for the Rams, thinks Jackson deserved to be higher. The rankings are based completely on votes from NFL players.
“When you look at what he brings to the table, he’s a complete back,” Faulk said on Sunday night’s “Top 100: Players of 2011 Reactions” show. “He can take it the distance, he gets the tough yardage, and yes, he carries the load for a team. Not to mention the big guy can catch the ball out of the backfield. They got this one wrong by looking at the young guys and what they do right now instead of what Steven Jackson has done over his whole career.”
Darren McFadden (98), Frank Gore (94), Ray Rice (56), and Michael Turner (42) were previously revealed. With four running backs to go, NFL Network analysts Warren Sapp and Willie McGinest debated who they thought should be the top-ranked back.
Sapp chose Titans all-pro Chris Johnson, who had another fine season in 2010 despite quarterback and wide receiver unrest in Tennessee. McGinest believes Vikings star Adrian Peterson is the game’s greatest back.
“Here’s a guy who you can start a franchise behind,” McGinest said. “This is a running back, he’s strong, it takes more than one guy to tackle him, he’s fast, he can catch the ball out of the backfield. He’s complete.”
Sapp then took to the defense of New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson, saying no top 100 list is complete without the future Hall of Famer in the discussion.
“I’m putting him in my backfield, I’m getting him in a one-on-one situation and somebody is going to be hurting on Sunday.”
Ten players are revealed each week from the Top 100 list, which airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network. Next week will count down numbers 30 through 21.