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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25. Steven Jackson, 2004-2015
St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots

Steven Jackson had the unenviable position to replace a Hall of Famer. Marshall Faulk was still toiling around St. Louis in 2004 and 2005, but Jackson was the man there. In Jackson’s rookie year, it was a pretty even split, with Faulk putting up 774 yards rushing and Jackson recording 673. Then, in 2005, Jackson took the role over completely, putting up his first 1,000-yard season. 

Jackson would go on to put up eight 1,000-yard seasons in a row. He was amazing for his entire Rams career. He even missed some time in a few of those seasons, but he was still able to break 1,000 yards each and every time.

It was a wild ride, finishing his career with three Pro Bowl trips. In 2006, he led the league in yards from scrimmage and finished fourth in Offensive Player of the Year voting. Outside that, he never really got the recognition he deserved. He was every bit as good as the other great running backs of that era. 

He lost out on All-Pro twice, accepting the consolation prize of second team. One he lost it to a great LaDainian Tomlinson and the best Larry Johnson season. The other time he lost out to CJ2K and an 18 touchdown performance by Adrian Peterson. He will always go down as great but not amazing.