In the weeks leading up to the 2014 season, we’ve asked Pro Football Rumors readers which rookie quarterback and which rookie wide receiver would put up the best numbers in their first year in the NFL. In both cases, there was no clear-cut winner — at the moment, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater are deadlocked with 27.64% of the vote, while for the wideouts, the Saints’ Brandin Cooks is ahead of Jordan Matthews of the Eagles by a single vote.
If we weren’t be able to establish any sort of consensus for quarterbacks or receivers, it may be even more difficult to do so for running backs. The rookie landscape is muddled by the fact that no backs were selected in the first round, and no rookies are expected to immediately step in as workhorses, or even starters. Bishop Sankey of the Titans appeared to have the best chance to earn the majority of his team’s carries, but he has yet to distinguish himself in the preseason, and will have to compete with Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster for touches.
Other second- to fourth-round picks, including Jeremy Hill (Bengals), Carlos Hyde (49ers), Terrance West (Browns), Devonta Freeman (Falcons), and Andre Williams (Giants), have a chance at big years. But the opportunities may not be there with veterans Giovani Bernard, Frank Gore, Ben Tate, Steven Jackson, and Rashad Jennings currently penciled in as those clubs’ respective starters.
It seems likely that at least one of the aforementioned rookies – or someone I haven’t discussed yet – will ultimately earn a more significant workload and have a big year, but it’s hard to pin down which one it might be. What do you think? Which running back will have the best rookie season in 2014?