2018 NFL Preseason Depth Chart Shuffle: Running Backs - Footballguys

Outlining the key strong and weak NFL depth charts at the running back position in advance of the 53-player roster cuts in 2018

Opportunity is king in projecting fantasy football production. Here is a look at the overly strong and weak NFL depth charts at each skill position and what potential cut players could quickly find 53-man roster spots elsewhere, continuing with the running back position:

Quarterback Edition

running BACKS

The typical NFL roster keeps four running backs (can include a fullback but is not required in 2018-era NFL)


Senorise Perry: He has flashed in multiple preseasons a strong combination of size and movement. However, Perry has annually been on the NFL fringe for regular season roles and usage. Perry is competing for the RB4 spot in Miami with retread Jeremy Langford this preseason.

Jeremy Hill, Mike Gillislee, Brandon Bolden: The Patriots have a deep depth chart at running back. With the top-3 of Rex Burkhead, James White, and Sony Michel, this trio may be competing for a single spot or at most two with Sony Michel on the mend. Hill is the most intriguing with his track record of production and Round 2 pedigree.

Gus Edwards, Mark Thompson: The Ravens have a solid top-5 at running back, but also still use a fullback. One of Edwards and Thompson, if not both, could be off the 53-player roster. Both have flashed this preseason with size and movement and the upside to stick as RB3/4 on another roster.

Tra Carson, Brian Hill: Both are big backs in Cincinnati but the top-3 of Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard, and 2018 fourth-round pick Mark Walton are locks for the roster.

De'Angelo Henderson, David Williams, Phillip Lindsay: Denver has five viable backs, but at least one, if not two will be shed for final cuts. Williams has the most prototypical size of the trio. Henderson is the incumbent of the group and Lindsay has had the best 2018 camp.

DeAndre Washington, Jalen Richard, Chris Warren: These three are fighting for one or two spots. Washington has the most draft pedigree. All three have played some special teams this preseason. Warren has the look of a potential NFL lead back with quality size, movement, and power.

Ryan Nall: The rookie on the Bears depth chart fits the profile of a prototypical back with bigger role potential. Residing down the pecking order, Nall would need to pull secondary duty as a fullback over Mike Burton or beat out veteran Benny Cunningham as the RB3.

Ameer Abdullah: The former Round 2 pick is near the cut line for Detroit with Kerryon Johnson, Theo Riddick, and LeGarrette Blount projected ahead of him. Abdullah is the classic reclamation projection player to resurface elsewhere.

Jonathan Williams, Trey Edmunds, Shane Vereen: The Mark Ingram II suspension makes an additional spot possible to start the season for the Saints running backs. Expect one or two not to make the final roster.

Mike Davis, C.J. Prosise, J.D. McKissic: With Tre Madden at fullback, these three backs are likely fighting for one spot, two at the most. Prosise has the pedigree and upside, but durability has marred his career to-date and Seattle may be close to moving on. Davis has already bounced around in his career. McKissic is a pocketknife weapon more than a traditional running back.

Alfred Morris, Joe Williams: Williams was a buzz back in the last offseason before an injury sent him to the injured reserve list. Morris, a previous Kyle Shanahan performer, recently signed on after injuries to Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida. Those injuries, depending on their status leading up to Week 1, could determine how many backs the 49ers keep on their initial roster.


Bills: Chris Ivory is a passable primary backup, but on the older side. Considering LeSean McCoy's off-field status for 2018, they are very light at RB3 with Travaris Cadet and significant questions at RB4.

Jets: Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell are secure, but the rest of the depth chart including currently injured Elijah McGuire, retread Thomas Rawls, and incoming sub-sized rookie Trenton Cannon.

Steelers: Le'Veon Bell and James Conner are locked into the RB1/2 spots, but the rest of the depth chart is up for grabs. 2018 rookie Jaylen Samuels is a hybrid player with tools of a running back, fullback, and tight end at times. Samuels' flexibility could point to the release of Fitzgerald Toussaint and/or Stevan Ridley as veteran options.

Colts: Marlon Mack is one of the least-secure starters in the NFL (and recovering from a hamstring injury). Nyheim Hines is off to a slow start as a sub-sized back. Robert Turbin is suspended for the opening month. Christine Michael has been on the NFL fringe for a couple years now. Jordan Wilkins is a later-round pick without much benefit of the doubt for a roster spot. While the volume is here, outside of Mack and Hines, predicting the roster spot allocation is difficult.

Titans: The RB3 role has been David Fluellen's in 2017 through today. However, he is a baseline NFL back at best. Akrum Wadley could win the RB3 role but is also a limited player with his size and movement combination lacking.

Broncos: Royce Freeman looks like an impact starter and Devontae Booker is a serviceable backup. However, the RB3 and beyond spots could be upgraded.

Chargers: Austin Ekeler is a sub-sized back for an RB2 slot and would not project as a high-volume substitute if Melvin Gordon III were to miss extended time. Justin Jackson also lacks size as a Day 3 incoming rookie.

Cowboys: To be determined on Bo Scarbrough as the RB3, but the depth chart is thin beyond Rod Smith as the primary backup. Darius Jackson has looked impressive at times with his size-athleticism combination as he fights for the RB3 role as well.

Redskins: Derrius Guice is out for the season, and Samaje Perine sprained his ankle in the second preseason game. With Chris Thompson not expected to be 100% until mid-season, this depth chart is rail thin entering the season. Rob Kelley needs to be in bubble wrap for preservation and adding a back or two is within reason.

Vikings: Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray are locked into the RB1/2 spots. However, Mack Brown, Roc Thomas, and Mike Boone are fighting for the RB3/4 jobs. Roc Thomas has shown some early preseason promise, but this depth chart could be improved on the back-end by other teams' cuts.

Falcons: Ito Smith sits in the RB3 slot, but lacks size and pedigree. The rest of the depth chart consists of Terrence Magee and Malik Williams, easily projected cuts.

Cardinals: Chase Edmonds is the clear RB2 as an incoming rookie. D.J. Foster and T.J. Logan are lackluster RB3+ options and can be upgraded by other NFL teams' upcoming released backs.