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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22. Brian Westbrook, 2002-2010
Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers

Brian Westbrook was one of those players that everyone loved to say was underrated. He was driving a Philadelphia Eagles offense that was constantly at the top of the league. The Eagles were Super Bowl contenders on the heels of its offense, and as soon as Westbrook joined the league, he became Donovan McNabb’s best weapon (except for that one great Terrell Owens season). 

Westbrook’s career has to be seen in its totality, both in the single-season stats and the career itself. He never had crazy impressive rushing stats, although he did have 1,000 yards rushing in 2006 and 2007. He was always breaking 1,000 yards from scrimmage. In fact, he would often get 1,500 yards from scrimmage. 

He took a step towards legend status in 2006, his first 1,000-yard season. He did that while also leading the Eagles in receptions with 77. He was truly everything for the team, and he tried to take them to the NFC Championship by himself. He had 141 yards in a dominant performance against the Giants in the Wild Card Round, and then he scored two touchdowns against the Saints the next week. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for the Eagles to win.

Westbrook was one of those “you had to be there” running backs. His stats don’t jump off the page. He was only 5-foot-8 and ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Nothing ever felt outstanding except when he was on the field. Then, a switch flipped and he was everything you want out of a football player.