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The Final Horne: Tennessee Titans Chris Johnson is one of the NFL’s best running backs, but where does he rank in the my top 10

The Final Horne - With James D. HorneClarksville, TN – Tennessee Titans Chris Johnson unquestionable is one of the most talented running backs in the National Football League and the 5,645 yards he rushed for in his first four years attest to that.

Two years ago, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson set the NFL a blaze with the 2,006 yards he rushed for and this week came out and told the world the wants to show he has plenty left.

Johnson unquestionable is one of the most talented running backs in the NFL and the 5,645 yards he rushed for in his first four years attest to that. Johnson has gained over 1,000 yards in each of those season with 1,228 s a rookie, the amazing 2006 in year two, 1,364 in Jeff Fisher’s last year and his self-admitted underwhelming 1,047 last year.

When you take a step back, most of us would love to have a career like Johnson has. And if he gets back to the level he feels he needs to be at, with the help of a hopefully improved offensive line, Johnson no doubt will certainly dazzle us again.

But it does beg the question that if Johnson is at his best is he one of the top 10 running backs in the NFL. And the answer is close, but not quite. The following is the list of the 10 best running backs heading into next season (if fully healthy). Stats are from last year and the number

T10. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (1,204, 15 games): Give him some Skittles and watch in go. It’s taken him some time but Lynch was always talented. Maybe it just took him getting back to the left coast to find himself.

T10. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (997 yards, 12 games): The former Tulane Green Wave gives the Bears something the haven’t had since Gayle Sayers and Walter Payton roamed the backfield at Soldier Field. Forte can do it all. It’s unfortunate he got hurt the year before he deserved to get his big contract. But the Bears aren’t the same without him.

9. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans (1047 yards, 16 games): When Johnson is good he is one of the best in the NFL. But without a lane he is easily bottled up. He also needs to become a bigger threat in the passing game, cause he speed is a game-changer. He’s got to become bigger than is contract.

8. Stephen Jackson, St. Louis Rams (1,145 yards, 15 games): Talk about a great back who missed out on the fun times. Jackson has been the Rams only shining light for years. He’s rushed for over 1,000 yards the last seven years. He’s been in the league eight years before the start of this season.

7. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons (1,340, 16 games): Turner is a bull and one the Atlanta Falcons are so happy to have. Believe it or not he is actually a little under utilized in short-yardage situations and at the goal line.

6. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (1,211 yards, 16 games): Of all the backs to come out of the The U, Gore is surprisingly the best of the lot. He combines strength between the tackles with his ability to get outside. And finally Alex Smith can run the offense..

5. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles (1,309, 15 games): McCoy is second coming of Brian Westbrook just a tiny bit bigger and faster. Want to keep Michael Vick in the game more, give the ball to McCoy and let him carry it.

4. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars (1,606 yards, 16 games): The thing that plagues MJD the most is he plays in Jacksonville. Imagine if the former UCLA product played on any of the dominate teams in the league in his seven years in the NFL and they might be on a run matching those of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers or New England Patriots.

3. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens (1,364 yards, 16 games): Rice is so good that the Ravens vaunted defense has at times had to go remind the offense to use him, because when Rice is rolling he is so hard to contain. One little lane and the Rutgers alum can go. Plus, he is so deadly coming out of the backfield in the passing game.

2. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (970 yards, 12 games): Peterson is exactly what you want in a running back: Big, fast, agile, smart and powerful. He only played in 12 games last year, but started 15 of 16 games the past three seasons.

1. Arian Foster, Houston Texans (1,224 yards, 13 games): The fact he went undrafted out of Tennessee is still amazing. But all Foster has done is mesmerized the NFL with his speed, agility and ability. He is the league’s best.

Honarable Mentions: Amhad Bradshaw, New York Giants; Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills; Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos; Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders; LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

James D. Horne
James D. Hornehttp://www.clarksvillesportsnetwork.com/
James D. Horne began his writing career at the Carrollton Missouri Democrat in 1995, and was the assistant sports editor/writer for the Hammond Louisiana Daily Star for two years.  In 1998, Horne became the Missouri Basketball beat writer for the Columbia Daily Tribune. He joined The Leaf-Chronicle in Oct. 2003 as the lead prep writer and became the Austin Peay beat writer in March of 2005. During his career he won a state association sports writing award at the Daily Star and two while at the Leaf-Chronicle. Originally from Tampa, Florida, Horne earned his B.A in communications from Central Methodist University in Fayette Missouri.

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