Where does running back group rank among NFL’s best?

Dean Jones
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /

Where does the running back group of the Carolina Panthers rank amongst the NFL’s best?

There is plenty of potential regarding the running back position of the Carolina Panthers. They boast a primary No. 1 option in Christian McCaffrey and the others will be fighting for the primary backup spot when the All-Pro needs some time off the field.

New offensive coordinator Joe Brady is renowned for getting the ball down the field quickly. But if he wants the Carolina Panthers to achieve success instantly. The franchise will continue to lean heavily on their running game while their revamped roster familiarises themselves with each other.

The group might have plenty going for it in 2020 and beyond. But where does it stack up against other running back units across the NFL?

In a recent article published on Score, writers Michael McClymont and Alex Chippin ranked the Panthers at No. 12 on the list. Outlining their decision behind Carolina’s place in the standings, the pair had this to say.

"“The Panthers have arguably the best running back in all of football, and (Reggie) Bonnafon is a better backup than most. Nonetheless, should McCaffrey slip on a banana peel, everything comes crashing to a halt in Carolina.”"

The San Francisco 49ers topped the list after their running attack propelled them to a Super Bowl appearance in 2019. Score ranked the Cleveland Browns at No. 2, with the Baltimore Ravens rounding off the top-three.

Can the running back group shine for the Carolina Panthers in 2020?

There is an argument to make that their No. 12 placing it too low. The Carolina Panthers have the best dual-threat back in the league in McCaffrey. And Reggie Bonnafon showed enormous promise whenever he saw the field last season.

The former Louisville prospect earned an eye-catching 7.3 yards-per-carry average from 16 touches in 2019. Bonnafon also hauled in six of nine targets to further boost when he can bring to the offense going forward.

If McCaffrey and Bonnafon can work well together, then it is going to have a positive impact on the Panthers and their passing game. Much will depend on how their new-look offensive line holds up. But if they can perform as expected then there is no reason to suggest this tandem can not emerge as one of the league’s best.

Things are still up in the air regarding the No. 3 position. Given the Panthers’ salary cap constraints, it appears unlikely Mike Davis remains on the roster with his $3 million base salary. Jordan Scarlett was used little during his rookie campaign, so he is still an unknown quantity in that regard.

The Panthers also have high hopes for undrafted rookie Rodney Smith, who comes into the organization with a big reputation. He will need to impress to earn a roster spot. But he has an intriguing skill set and is a very fluid runner.

This is a crucial season for the Panthers’ offense. It has the potential to be really special with Brady running things. And the more quality production they can get from their backfield, the better their chances of racking up substantial points in 2020 will be.

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