Many NFL players’ dreams of playing in the NFL this season ended last weekend. Many of them were brought back to the practice squad, but some are left without an NFL home. These free agents are now sitting at home waiting for the opportunity to play.
One position that has taken a lot of hits with their veterans is the running back position. Younger running backs tend to gain more of an advantage than some that have been in the league three or more years. Less mileage means better opportunities.
There is plenty of good talent at the running back position that the XFL would have to consider for their league for next season. Here is the list of running backs that fits the XFL perfectly.
XFL Running Back Targets
A player like Rodney Anderson would benefit from playing in the XFL. Anderson has gone through multiple injuries during his college and pro career. He suffered a season-ending knee injury at Oklahoma in 2018 that cost him all but two games that season.
The Cincinnati Bengals still drafted him in the sixth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Preseason with Cincinnati did not end well for Anderson as he suffered a torn ACL injury in the last preseason game of 2019 which landed him on the IR the whole season. The Bengals waived with a failed physical designation back on August 17.
There could be an NFL team that takes a chance on him, but this season seems unlikely. His injury history will scare NFL teams away. With multiple leg injuries the past two years, Anderson may not get another shot at the NFL.
This is where the XFL comes into the picture. In a league of second chances, Anderson has the talent to start in the league. When Anderson is in the open field, he’s got good feet and explosive speed. He has the capability to run up the middle of the line with ease. Durability will always be the concern for him, but the XFL can’t ignore that the talent is there.
Not a well known name, but Pete Guerriero made a name for himself in college at Monmouth. Guerriero had a huge 2019 season with 1,995 rushing yards with 18 rushing touchdowns. Those numbers were good to help him lead the FCS in rushing and landed him FCS Running Back of the Year in 2019.
Guerriero decided to declare for the NFL Draft early and went undrafted. He would end up joining the New York Jets in training camp. Guerriero had been signed and cut a few times during training camp, but is not listed on the active roster or the practice squad.
What makes Guerriero an attractive candidate for the XFL is he’s a small school player who could become a star. When watching him play, his explosiveness running on the outside is a thing of beauty. Not many players can catch up with his speed when he’s in the open field.
The XFL lacked the explosive running plays and finding those dynamic running backs with blazing speed. Guerriero would be able to provide that to the league. A full season in the XFL would help Guerriero land a spot on an NFL roster.
Here’s another running back who has suffered multiple injuries in his young career. Kenneth Dixon had a successful college career at Louisiana Tech where he left school as the NCAA’s all time leader in total touchdowns before Seattle Dragons wide receiver Keenan Reynolds broke his record of 87 touchdowns. He would end up being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2016 NFL Draft in the fourth-round.
Dixon’s NFL career got off to a good start with 382 yards and two touchdowns in a backup role. His 2017 season included a four game suspension and suffering a season-ending torn meniscus in his left knee. 2018 was not much better with Dixon suffering another knee injury that only had him play six games. A third knee injury kept him off the field in 2019 and was cut by Baltimore. He signed with the Jets back in December, but was released in August.
Dixon is a downhill runner who might surprise many with his speed. He’s hard to tackle on first contact making life tough for defense’s front sevens. Durability could hold him back from another shot at the NFL in the future, but proving his worth in the XFL could land him an NFL team.
The most experienced and established running back on the list finds himself at the cross roads of his career. Jeremy Hill got off to a fast start in his rookie season with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014 rushing for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns. Hill would lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns the next season at 11. From 2014-2016, Hill was on his way to a successful NFL career.
2017 was the start of Hill’s end with the Bengals. Joe Mixon took up a lot of his carries and suffered a season-ending ankle injury finishing with 116 rushing yards in seven games. After not returning to Cincinnati, he would sign with the New England Patriots where he rushed for 25 yards in one game. He did win a Super Bowl during his time with the team.
Hill spent two days with the Las Vegas Raiders in training camp before getting cut from the team. Speed is not his forte, but his size and power makes him tough to bring to the ground. Hill has the ability of carrying multiple times a game and getting those hard earned yards. The XFL could get Hill the tape needed to prove that he can still be a great running back at age 27. It might be a reach, but the XFL should pursue a good runner like Hill.
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