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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16. Curtis Martin, 2000-2005
New York Jets

Of course, most of Curtis Martin's production came in the 90s, but one would be surprised to see how productive he was in the 2000s. Martin was known as the most consistent running back of his generation. He could rush for 1,000 yards in his sleep. Honestly, he might have been asleep. Martin was so simple in his approach to running, and it just consistently led to dominance on the gridiron.

By the year 2000, he was already on the New York Jets. He was a star on a team doing its best to avoid the “underwhelming” moniker. Once he paired with head coach Herm Edwards in 2001, they built a good relationship, and the Jets were perennial playoff contenders. In his first playoff game of the century, Martin had 106 yards on just 16 attempts. It just goes back to making the best out of any situation.

It’s ironic how consistently great Martin was since his draft MO was he had issues with durability. He must have taken that personally because he didn’t miss a game in the 2000s until his final season in 2005. He finished his career with north of 14,000 yards, sixth-best all time. He had more yards just in the 2000s than DeMarco Murray, Le’Veon Bell, and Brian Westbrook.