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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15. Priest Holmes, 2000-2007
Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs

Priest Holmes is proof that the way we look at running backs now is so much different than earlier this century. Priest Holmes had a whole career with the Baltimore Ravens before he became one of the most dominant players in the league with the Kansas City Chiefs. He wouldn’t have had a chance to prove himself, as many would just call him what he was with Baltimore: average. 

Holmes joined the Chiefs in 2001, and he immediately became one of the best in the league, if not the best at his position. He rushed for 1,555 yards and eight touchdowns. He was the All-Pro running back and finished in the top five for Offensive Player of the Year. The next season, he took home both after scoring a ridiculous 21 touchdowns on the ground alone (he added three more receiving touchdowns). Not only was he the OPOY, but he was a top-five MVP candidate. Oh, right, he did it in 14 games.

In 2003, Holmes just showed there was no scheming against him. He scored 27 (!!!) touchdowns rushing. Only one player ever scored more touchdowns on the ground in one season. Holmes had a nose for the end zone, and he scored on any type of run.

Then, that was pretty much it. After 2003, Holmes only had one season where he had 1,000 scrimmage yards. He missed half the 2004 season with a knee injury, and then later missed an entire season with a spine injury, and he just wasn’t the same as the sheer volume of carries caught up with him. His numbers, in totality, aren’t that impressive. He’s 48th all-time in rushing yards, but he is 16th in touchdowns all-time. It showed how good he was at putting six on the scoreboard.