Barber, Dunn among top runners

Emmitt Smith wasn't the most explosive or elusive back to ever play the game, but he was arguably the most efficient. Smith had rare instincts, wasted very little energy and, most important, had excellent vision. He knew when to turn the ball upfield, when to cut back and when to hesitate so blockers could get into position.

Here is a list of the five backs who also excel at reading their blocks, as well as the defense:

LaDainian Tomlinson -- San Diego Chargers
Tomlinson does an excellent job of reading his blocks, shows excellent lateral mobility when looking for a seam and hits the hole as it opens. However, it's his understanding of how the second, as well as the third, level of defenses pursue, and the instincts he shows in the open field that truly set him apart. Tomlinson changes speeds better than any other back in the league and knows how to make defenders miss by changing gears or making a cut.