The 2015 NFL season will begin on Thursday, September 10, 2015, when the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Here is a list of the active NFL running backs with the highest career yards per carry averages heading into the 2015 season.
A few of these running backs have career yards per carry averages that are in the top 10 all-time in NFL history. Players must have a minimum of 1,000 rushing yards going into the 2015 season in the NFL to be on this list. That leaves out players like Jerick McKinnon (4.8 yards per carry but only 538 yards) of the Minnesota Vikings and C.J. Anderson (4.8 yards per carry but only 887 yards) of the Denver Broncos.
I’m also leaving quarterbacks off this list. Michael Vick has the highest yards per carry average in NFL history at 7.0 but he’s a quarterback. Randall Cunningham’s career yards per carry average is 6.4 which is the second highest in NFL history but he too was a quarterback. This list is only for active running backs going into the 2015 NFL season.
1. Jamaal Charles – 5.5 yards per carry
Jamaal Charles leads all active NFL running backs in career yards per carry average at 5.5. That is a tremendous average that ranks second best all-time in NFL history among running backs trailing only Marion Motley’s career average of 5.7 yards per carry (Michael Vick and Randall Cunningham also have higher averages but they are quarterbacks). For his career, Jamaal Charles has carried the ball 1,249 times for 6,856 yards. Charles is 29 years old as he heads into the 2015 season with the Kansas City Chiefs.
2. Justin Forsett – 5.08
Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett has the second highest career average for yards per carry among active running backs at 5.08. Forsett has carried the ball 582 times for 2,958 yards so far in his NFL career. Forsett played football in college at Cal. He is not a young player as he will be 30 years old in October and is entering his 8th season in the league in 2015.
3. Jeremy Hill – 5.06
Jeremy Hill of the Cincinnati Bengals comes in third place with a yards per carry average of 5.1. Hill was a rookie last year out of LSU who carried the ball 222 times for 1,124 yards for the Bengals. Jeremy Hill played two seasons for LSU where he averaged 6.2 yards per carry, including averaging 6.9 yards per carry during the 2013 season.
4. Adrian Peterson – 4.96
After missing almost the entire 2014 season, Adrian Peterson is back in 2015 with the Minnesota Vikings and his career yards per carry average is 4.96. Peterson has carried the ball 2,054 times for 10,190 yards so far in his career. Adrian Peterson is 30 years old as he enters the 2015 season. Most running backs do not do great in the NFL after age 30 so it will be interesting to see how well he does this season.
5. DeMarco Murray – 4.85
Former Dallas Cowboys and current Philadelphia Eagles running back DeMarco Murray has a career yards per carry average of 4.85 entering the 2015 NFL season. Murray has carried the ball 934 times for 4,526 yards so far in his career, all with the Dallas Cowboys. How will DeMarco Murray do in the wide open Chip Kelly offense this season in Philadelphia?
6. DeAngelo Williams – 4.78
DeAngelo Williams enters the 2015 season with a career yards per carry average of 4.78. Williams had played his entire nine year NFL career with the Carolina Panthers but is with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 2015 season. DeAngelo Williams is now 32 years old and the longer he keeps playing the more likely it is that his career yards per carry average will decline. He’s averaged just 4.0 yards per carry over his last two seasons.