NFL Network’s Peter Schrager devoted a segment of Good Morning Football on Friday, December 10, 2021 to what he calls the most underappreciated running backs in NFL history.
Schrager goes as far to say that all three on his list deserve to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame but somehow have been overlooked.
His list is compelling, and guest co-host and former NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew provides additional commentary to support the Hall of Fame campaign for each of the three players.
Who is the most underappreciated RB in NFL history?
@PSchrags provides his Top 3:
What say you? pic.twitter.com/NenX2V6S4Q
— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) December 10, 2021
Here are his top three in descending order.
3. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs/Denver Broncos/Jacksonville Jaguars
Charles is best known for his fierce running as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.
He had an 11-year career from 2008-2018.
During that time, he rushed for 44 touchdowns and gained 7,563 yards.
One of his enduring legacies is his career average 5.4 yards per carry which is higher than Hall of Famer and Cleveland Browns legend Jim Brown.
Charles had an amazing five-touchdown performance against the Oakland Raiders on December 15, 2013 that no one can forget.
— Fake Teams (@faketeams) April 29, 2020
2. Fred Taylor, Jacksonville Jaguars/New England Patriots
Despite injury issues that plagued him, Taylor had a very successful and accomplished 13 year NFL career from 1998-2010.
In 7 of his 13 seasons, he rushed for over 1,000 yards.
He has the most rushing yards (11,695) among non-Hall of Fame running backs with over five years in the NFL.
Taylor had 66 career-rushing touchdowns.
In his rookie season, he had an amazing 17 touchdowns (14 rushing and 3 receiving).
Happy 43rd bday Fred Taylor! He struggled some with injuries, but was electric on the field. Ran for 1223 yards & 14 TDs & caught 3 more TDs as a rookie in 1998. Was 1 of 7 times he cleared 1000 rushing yards. Ran for 1572 in 2003. Finished with 11,695 yards at 4.6 YPC. pic.twitter.com/uc3fIgTlef
— Scott F (@TheFrizz87) January 27, 2019
1. Roger Craig, San Francisco 49ers/Los Angeles Raiders/Minnesota Vikings
When Schrager introduced his top pick, it seemed beyond belief that he was not already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Most of his teammates are there, but somehow he has not gotten the call.
He is Roger Craig, and his trademark high-stepped running style was a mainstay in the NFL during his 11-year career from 1983-1993.
Perhaps he is an afterthought because he competed in the era of Walter Payton and Barry Sanders, but he should not be.
In his 11 seasons, he rushed for 56 touchdowns and 8,189 yards.
🎂 Happy Birthday Roger Craig 🎂
🗓️ 1985 Season
👟 1,050 rushing yds
✈️ 1,016 receiving yds
🙌 NFL best 92 receptions
🏈 15 total TDs
🥇 1st player in NFL history to reach 1,000 yds rushing & receiving in a single year
👑 This man needs a Gold Jacket#49ers #HallOfFamer pic.twitter.com/pKIZuxg7kL
— 80s Football Cards (@80sFootballCard) July 10, 2020
Craig was the first in the running back position to be a legitimate dual-threat.
In 1985, he gained more than 1,000 yards on the ground and 1,000 yards in the air.
That was unheard of in the era of running backs who just took the handoff and plowed down the field.
Only two running backs have followed in his footsteps with this statistical feat.
They are Marshall Faulk (1999) and Christian McCaffrey (2019).
Schrager and MJD made a solid case for each of these three.
They also mentioned others that are worthy most notably Priest Holmes of Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs fame.
Holmes played for 10 years and retired with over 8,000 yards rushing and 81 touchdowns; he scored 48 of those touchdowns in a dominant two-season stretch from 2002 to 2003 as a Chief.
Longest Streak with 1+ Rush TD in a Game
Single Season, Since 1950
2004 HOF LaDainian Tomlinson – 12
1983 HOF John Riggins – 12
2002 KC Priest Holmes – 11
1995 HOF Emmitt Smith – 11
2021 IND Jonathan Taylor – 10
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) December 5, 2021
The Pro Football Hall of Fame needs to stand up and take notice of these four very deserving candidates.