Is Jamaal Charles the best running back in the NFL? ESPN’s numbers suggest he may be.
ESPN ran a graphic showing the production of Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson side by side from their last three healthy seasons. The key here is “healthy” as Charles missed 14 games in 2011 due to a torn ACL. So Charles numbers would include his 2010, 2012, and 2013 seasons.
Here is the graphic ESPN ran (note the awesome picture taking skills):
It should be noted Peterson has the edge in some of the counting statistics such as total rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, but the per game rate stats favor Charles. The argument for Charles would be that what he brings per game – both rushing and receiving – trumps the totality of Peterson’s rushing dominance.
It is an interesting debate in the new pass happy NFL. Would your rather have the versital player who can be a weapon in both the passing and run games or would you rather have the best pure running back in the game? If you are going to go by the total package argument the Charles has a slight edge based on the numbers.
As you can see, however, it isn’t as if Peterson is too far off with his run-heavy production. And Peterson has never really been in an offense that has used him as a receiver threat. My gut would lean towards Peterson being the better running back but my heart is no doubt in favor of Charles.
Either way, it is cool to see Charles getting some respect for how dominate he has been for the Chiefs for the last three (healthy) seasons.