Running backs in the NFL are a position that has become more underrated in the last ten years, especially with the contracts that are given out to them. Often times running backs are overlooked for just how much value they add to a team.
Let's look at the five most underrated running backs heading into the 2020 NFL season.
5. Gus Edwards
Everyone, including his own the Baltimore Ravens are overlooking Gus Edwards. Each of the last two seasons, Edwards has rushed for at least 700 yards. Even after all the success, the Ravens seem to be trying to push him off the team. Mark Ingram and Justice Hill were already on the team, and during the 2020 NFL draft, they brought in J.K. Dobbins. It might be hard for him to find playing time this season, but hopefully, he can either carve out a role or go to a team that will give him a fair chance to prove his worth. There is no reason Edwards can't be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
4. Alexander Mattison
When everyone talks about the Minnesota Vikings backfield, the first person to come to mind is Dalvin Cook, but Alexander Mattison should be getting the credit he deserves. During Mattison's rookie season, he rushed for 462 yards and a touchdown on 100 carries. There has been a lot of talk about Cook's contract extension, but one thing that might be overlooked is the role Mattison could play with it. Could the Vikings decide to not give Cook an extension because they feel like Mattison could step up and be the starter? He has already proven that he can be a solid back when Cook went down with an injury.
3. Kenyan Drake
When the Miami Dolphins traded Kenyan Drake to the Arizona Cardinals for a conditional sixth-round pick, no one thought much of it, but it could end up being one of the biggest moves from the 2019 season. Drake had his issues with the Dolphins, but a lot of that now appears to be with the talent that surrounded him. In eight games with the Cardinals, Drake rushed 123 times for 643 yards and eight touchdowns. The Cardinals should be an elite offense in 2020, and a big reason why will be the play of Drake. He very well could end up being one of the best running backs in the NFL, something not many saw when he was traded midseason.
2. Matt Breida
The Dolphins only traded a fifth-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers to acquire Matt Breida during the 2020 NFL draft. He should come in right away and be a starter for the Dolphins, a role he should thrive in. Breida didn't get the attention he deserved with the 49ers because he always seemed to be apart of a committee. Breida's best season was in 2018 when he rushed for 814 times and three touchdowns. He also caught 27 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns.
If Tua Tagovailoa does become the starting quarterback for the Dolphins, Breida will probably be overlooked again, even though it's time he gets the attention he deserves.
1. Austin Ekeler
Even when Austin Ekeler was having success to start the 2019 NFL season, all the talk was still about when Melvin Gordon would be returning to the team.
Gordon has moved onto the Denver Broncos, so hopefully, Ekeler will finally get the attention he deserves. During the 2019 season, Ekeler rushed 132 times for 557 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught 92 passes for 998 yards and eight touchdowns. Ekeler doesn't have anyone to look over his shoulder at that might take his job, which should also give him a little peace.
If the Los Angeles Chargers are going to have success this season, Ekeler is going to have a big year.