As mentioned in my top quarterback battles to watch column, there are many intriguing running back battles happening in OTA’s and will most likely into training camps all over the NFL as well. Below are the top five sure to catch many fan’s attention.
Ben Tate vs. Terrance West: It seems fitting that Cleveland is suddenly the center of the NFL universe, thanks to a certain 5’11 rookie quarterback with a Texas-sized personality, hype and entourage in Johnny Manziel. Like Manziel, former Houston Texans running back Ben Tate also hails from Texas, but unlike the current Manziel vs. Hoyer battle for quarterback, Tate is looking to prove himself as a feature back, if he can stay healthy. A former understudy to Arian Foster, Tate rushed for 773 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games for the Houston Texans.
If Tate can fend off hard-charging third-round running back Terrance West, then the Browns have an enviable problem at running back for once.
Darren McFadden vs. Maurice Jones-Drew: Once considered one of the most dynamic and explosive runners in the NFL when healthy, Darren McFadden’s promising career has been beset by injuries as the seven-year vet out of Arkansas has rushed for over 1,000 yards just once in his career (1,157 in 2010). Fighting for his job in Oakland, McFadden must fight off long-time Jacksonville Jaguars franchise back, Maurice Jones-Drew for the top running back spot in Oakland, Jones-Drew, one of the most durable and reliable runners in the NFL, gives Oakland more options and has a proven track record of staying on the field, unlike McFadden.
Chris Johnson vs. Chris Ivory: After spending the first three years of his career in a crowded backfield in New Orleans, Chris Ivory rushing for a career-bests in yards (833) and carries(182) in 15 games for the Jets in 2013. Now set to compete against former 2,000-yard rusher, Chris Johnson, expect a fierce battle in training camp between both players, with the winner to start Week 1.
Reggie Bush vs. Joique Bell: Despite rushing for over 1,000 yards for the second time in his career and compiling 1,512 total yards and seven touchdowns(rushing and receiving), the former top free-agent signing by the Detroit Lions, Reggie Bush is set to face some stiff competition from Joique Bell for a bulk of the carries in 2014-15. Like Bush, Bell is able to run and catch the ball effectively as he rushed for 650 yards and had 547 yards receiving, but is more of a ground-and-pound type back, as shown by his eight rushing touchdowns in 2013-14.
Depending on Bush’s ability to stay healthy, look for Bell to give the former SoCal standout a run for his money in training camp.
Frank Gore vs. Carlos Hyde: A bit of a shocker here, but considering Frank Gore’s age(31), the ten-year veteran out of Miami appears to be on his last legs for the Niners, as they drafted former Ohio State bruiser Carlos Hyde to help carry some of the load in the Niners offense to keep Gore fresh.
Both are similar runners, as both are physical, with the ability to run inside and out, along with the ability to catch. if the Niners hope to finally solve the nemesis Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, a Gore-Hyde tandem, just may do the trick.
Robert D. Cobb Is the CEO/Founder/Senior Editor-In-Chief of the InscriberMag : Digital Magazine and a member of the PFWA(Pro Football Writers Association), please follow him on Twitter at @RC_TheInscriberMag