Power, speed, agility, brains: NFL running backs are some of the most gifted athletes in the world, with skills that most people can only dream of. But what gives them a leg up over their competition as they compete for a starting spot on a roster in the league?
A first-round draft pick in 2016, Ezekiel Elliott led the league in rushing his rookie season. He put up 1,631 yards on the ground, averaging 108 yards per game.
James Conner took over the starting job for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018 when Le'Veon Bell decided to sit out the season over a contract dispute. Initially, Bell was going to return halfway through the season, but he elected to remain out as the deadline to sign his franchise tag passed.
Todd Gurley helped the Rams reach Super Bowl LIII, racking up 1,251 yards on the ground during the regular season. However, his production tapered off in the playoffs, and he only rushed for 35 yards in the Super Bowl.
Jamaal Williams played college football at BYU, where he holds multiple school records including career rushing yards and rushing yards in a game. Williams was drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft.
With 2018 being his third year in the league, Peyton Barber played in all 16 games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He struggled most of the season, however, only averaging 3.7 yards per carry.
A rookie in 2017, Alvin Kamara made the Pro Bowl that year, also earning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He went back to the Pro Bowl in 2018, though he would have rather played in the Super Bowl considering he was one game away.
Sony Michel came onto the scene a few games into the 2018 season, eventually earning the starting job for the Patriots. His first big game was in Week 4, when he rushed for 112 yards against the Miami Dolphins.
Nick Chubb played college football at Georgia, where he suffered a gruesome knee injury in 2015. Luckily, he returned back to form the next season, proving he was one of the best backs in the nation.
Marshawn Lynch went to back-to-back Super Bowls with the Seahawks in 2014 and 2015. They lost the 2015 Super Bowl after quarterback Russell Wilson threw an interception near the end of the game. The play was heavily criticized since they could have run the ball with Lynch, one of the best running backs in the league at the time.
Rushing for over 2,000 yards, Derrick Henry won the Heisman Trophy his junior season at Alabama. However, Henry was viewed as a one-dimensional power back who might struggle in the NFL.
Saquon Barkley set an NFL record by bringing in 91 receptions his rookie season, the most for any rookie running back. That combined with 1,307 rushing yards earned him the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
At the age of 30, LeSean McCoy has been to the playoffs four times in his NFL career. However, the veteran running back has yet to advance past the first round.
Playing even as a true freshman, Dalvin Cook rushed for over 1,000 yards every season he was in college at Florida State. He finished his college career with 4,464 rushing yards and 46 rushing touchdowns.
Lamar Miller holds the record for the longest rushing play in franchise history for both the Dolphins and the Texans. Both runs went 97 yards for a touchdown.
Adrian Peterson is one of only seven running backs to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season, which he accomplished in 2012. He was also only eight yards away from tying the record held by Eric Dickerson.
Jordan Howard was overlooked coming out of high school and didn't receive any major scholarship offers. He started his college career at UAB before the football program was dismantled, transferring to Indiana for his junior season.
Melvin Gordon set the single-game rushing record in college when he rushed for 408 yards against Nebraska in 2014. The record stood for one week, when it was broken by Oklahoma's Samaje Perine, who rushed for 427 yards against Kansas.
Viewed as one of the best running back prospects in years, Leonard Fournette was taken with the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. He has started every game he's played in but has struggled to stay healthy so far in his career.
Devonta Freeman won the BCS national championship in 2013, the final year before the playoffs began. Freeman carried the ball 11 times for 73 yards in the game.
David Johnson slipped to the third round in the 2015 NFL draft. He proved he should have been drafted higher after earning the Cardinals' starting job his rookie season.
With explosive weapons on offense, the Kansas City Chiefs led the league in offensive yards in 2018. Throughout the season, the offense gained 425 yards per game.
Christian McCaffrey has proven that he can do it all on a football field, literally. In a game against the Saints in 2018, McCaffrey ran, threw, and caught passes for over 50 yards each, making him one of only three players to ever do this.
Joe Mixon had off-the-field issues that caused his draft stock to fall leading into the 2017 NFL draft. Projected as a first-round talent, he slipped into the second round where he was picked up by the Bengals.
Kenyan Drake is known for scoring the final touchdown during the Miracle in Miami in Week 14 of the 2018 season. On a desperate final play near the end of the game against the Patriots, Drake took a lateral pass and scored a touchdown for the Dolphins to win the game.
Matt Breida averaged an insane 6.9 yards per carry during his college career at Georgia Southern. However, the running back was overlooked by NFL scouts and went undrafted in 2017.
Jay Ajayi tore his ACL in Week 5 of the 2018 season against the Vikings. The starting running back was having a bit of a down year prior to the injury, though he's supposed to make a full recovery.
After redshirting his freshman year, Phillip Lindsay played the next four seasons at Colorado. During his four years, he set the Buffaloes' record for all-purpose yards.
Isaiah Crowell spent his first four NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns. In his final season with the team in 2017, they finished with a 0-16 record.
Kerryon Johnson was named the SEC Player of the Year in 2017, his final season at Auburn. He rushed for 1,391 yards that season with 18 touchdowns on the ground.
Chris Carson only played in four games his rookie season before he broke his ankle and was placed on injury reserved. He returned in 2018, starting in 14 of the 16 regular season games.
In his rookie season with the Seahawks in 2016, Alex Collins struggled to find a place for himself on the roster. When he was released and signed by the Ravens, injuries to other players helped him move up the depth chart, eventually earning a starting role for the team.
Marlon Mack was named to the First Team All-AAC every year he played for South Florida in college. When he left for the NFL in 2017, he was the school's all-time leading rusher.