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Ranking the NFL's top 10 running backs for 2020: Who's best of the big three?

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To preview the 2020 NFL season, we asked more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players to help us stack the top 10 players at 11 different positions (sorry, special-teamers). The results might surprise you. They surprised me.

Here's how it worked: Voters gave their best 10 to 15 players at a position, then we compiled the results and ranked candidates based on number of top-10 votes, composite average, interviews and research. We had several ties, so we broke them by isolating the two-man matchup with additional voting and follow-up calls. Each section is packed with quotes and nuggets from the voters on every guy -- even the honorable mentions.

The objective is to identify the best players right now for 2020. This is not a five-year projection or an achievement award. Who's the best today? Pretty simple.

We'll roll out a position per day over the next 11 days. Here's the schedule:

Week 1: tight ends (July 7); quarterbacks (July 8); running backs (July 9); wide receivers (July 10); offensive tackles (July 11)

Week 2: interior offensive linemen (July 12); edge defenders (July 13); interior defensive linemen (July 14); off-ball linebackers (July 15); cornerbacks (July 16); safeties (July 17)


Youth matters more at running back than perhaps any other position. Eight of the game's premier tailbacks are 24 or younger, cutting and slashing their way to a big contract before the legs go.

The game's best running backs can be separated into tiers, each of which includes incredibly close arguments for who's better. The top three players -- Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey and Ezekiel Elliott -- traded 1-2-3 spots throughout the process.

The next tier featured an Alvin Kamara-Derrick Henry tale of the tape that was juicy for its differing styles. Toward the back, an aging rusher tries to find his place against more explosive players.

Here, league execs, coaches and players try to separate fact from fiction, resulting in a few major surprises along the way.