Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy enjoyed his most efficient season as a pro in 2016, which led to an astronomical rise in his NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2017 ranking.
The weekly reveal showcased players No. 30-No. 21 last night, and McCoy came in at No. 27. He was ranked No. 69 a season ago.
Here’s a link to NFL Network’s video of McCoy’s spot in the Top 100.
One can assume Le’Veon Bell of the Steelers, Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys, David Johnson of the Cardinals and possibly Jordan Howard of the Bears will land somewhere above McCoy on this list, which players vote on.
Many times, elementary statistics (and reputation) take precedence over everything, and Elliott and Howard finished No. 1 and No. 2 in overall rushing yards last season. Johnson and Bell finished No. 1 and No. 3 in yards from scrimmage among running backs.
Here are the other running backs who’ve already made the list:
Adrian Peterson: No. 98
LeGarrette Blount: No. 80
Jay Ajayi: No. 69
Devonta Freeman: No. 41
DeMarco Murray: No. 33
Semi-random aside here... at the 2016 combine, I got into a debate with a co-worker about the top 3-5 running backs in the NFL.
My thought was McCoy was no worse than No. 4, but initially, I said he was the third-best running back in the league behind Elliott and Bell. I later admitted I had forgot about Johnson, who was fresh off a tremendous season, but maintained there was a legit argument for McCoy > Johnson.
He thought I was crazy. Then I told him that I realized Johnson was the more effective receiver, but in terms of running the ball, McCoy was clearly better.
Therefore, Johnson’s superior ability as a pass-catcher and McCoy’s superior running capabilities made it a wash between the two top-level talents.
Here are some pertinent stats. McCoy carried the ball 234 times. Johnson had 293 attempts.
Yards Per Carry
Runs of 10+ yards
Runs of 15+ yards
Runs of 20+ yards
Runs of 30+ yards
Anyway, these player ranking lists are fun conversation/debate starters for the bar on a Saturday night but really are just filler for the one period of the NFL calendar in which not much happens.
Regardless of how many running backs land ahead of him on the Top 100 list, McCoy proved, unequivocally, to be one of the best runners in the league a season ago.