Ryan Matthews is the best running back in the AFC West. Photo by Matt A. Brown/Icon SMI
Thanks for checking out my ranking of the best running backs in the AFC West Division. While running backs are not as vital in today’s passing game they are still an important part of a NFL defense. I will give my take on who the best running backs in the West are, please leave a comment if you are so inclined.
1 Ryan Matthews San Diego Chargers
If you consider age, injury history and production then Ryan Matthews is the best running back in the AFC West right now. Matthews is solid despite having only an average offensive line in front of him. More importantly he is not coming off a serious knee injury.
Ryan Matthews has over 1,700 yards in two seasons inSan Diegoand has rushed for 13 touchdowns and a 4.7 average. Matthews is a solid receiver but does fumble too much with 10 in his two years with the Chargers.
2 Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs
When Jamal Charles joined the Chiefs it was thought he would be a third down back by some because of his small size. Charles proved to be an elite NFL running back that is a threat to score on any play.
Jamal Charles is coming off a knee injury or would be easily ranked as the best running back in the AFC West. Look for him to start slow in 2012 while he recovers but I expect him to regain his form by the end of the season.
3 Darren McFadden Oakland Raiders
Like Charles, McFadden is coming off a knee injury and that has always been his problem. If McFadden is healthy he is a top five NFL running back but he misses too many games.
The fact that McFadden has played on some really bad Raiders teams but played well tells much about him. If McFadden comes back from his knee injury he could lead the AFC West in rushing this season.
4 Willis McGahee Denver Broncos
McGahee found his fountain of youth under John Fox in Denver last season and immediately wanted more money. McGahee ran for over 1,100 yards last year but for only four scores.
Willis McGahee is a medical marvel in that he knees appeared shot in college but he has turned in a solid NFL career and rarely misses a game. Peyton Manning is in town now so don’t expect MaGahee to get a large amount of carries this season.
5 Peyton Hillis Kansas City Chiefs
Hillis fought a lack of desire to play while with the Browns and went from the great white hype to the great white bust. Hillis signed a modest deal with the Chiefs to show if he can still play.
Hillis could thrive in the Chiefs ground and pound offense if he wants to play. With Charles coming off the knee look for Hillis to get lots of carries early in 2012.