30 best NFL running backs of the 21st century

There were so many great running backs since the year 2000, but to rank them is a huge task. Who lands at number one at a position that's getting harder and harder to value?

Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans
Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans / Frederick Breedon/GettyImages
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17. Ezekiel Elliott, 2016-Present
Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots

Ezekiel Elliott is one of the few players on this list who are still active, but he is much closer to the end than the beginning. He spent last season with the New England Patriots after spending most of his career with America’s Team. Now, he’s going to be looking for a new team again. Although, he wasn’t terrible in New England and probably earned himself another opportunity somewhere. As for his time in Dallas, it lived up to the hype. 

Elliott’s voting in his rookie season is bizarre. He ran for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns while driving the offense for the Cowboys. He finished the season third in MVP voting, but he didn’t even win the Offensive Rookie of the Year. That went to his teammate Dak Prescott. The two of them received every OROY vote that season.

The next season, Elliott was suspended for six games for violating the league conduct policy. Accusations of domestic violence would follow him that season. He was still the league leader in yards per game. In his third season, he led the league in rushing again, which gave him three straight years of league-leading averages. 

Elliott fell off a little bit after those first three seasons, but he was still really good. He had two more 1,000-yard seasons, and he would have had a third if he didn’t miss a game in 2020. It was the first game he missed in his career due to injury. Elliott is around 1,100 yards away from 10,000 career yards. It depends on how he treats the rest of his career to see if he can hit the milestone.