NFL training camps are fast approaching, which means it is again time for the league's true insiders to have their say. As part of ESPN's 2023 NFL season preview, we surveyed league executives, coaches, scouts and players to help us rank the top 10 players at 11 different positions, from quarterback to cornerback and all positions in between. This is the fourth edition of these rankings, and as usual, several players have moved up or fallen off last year's lists.
By way of refresher, here's how our process works: Voters give us their best 10 players at a position, then we compile the results and rank candidates based on number of top-10 votes, composite average, along with dozens of interviews, research and film-study help from ESPN NFL analyst Matt Bowen. In total, more than 80 voters submitted a ballot on at least one position, and in many cases all positions. We had several ties, so we broke them with the help of additional voting and follow-up calls with those surveyed.
Each section includes quotes and nuggets from the voters on every ranked player -- even the honorable mentions. The objective is to identify the best players right now for 2023. This is not a five-year projection or a career achievement award. Who are the best players today? Check out who makes the list at every position on ESPN+.
We will roll out a position per day over 11 days. The schedule: Off-ball linebackers (7/8), defensive tackles (7/9), edge rushers (7/10), cornerbacks (7/11), safeties (7/12), tight ends (7/13), running backs (7/14), offensive tackles (7/15), guards and centers (7/16), quarterbacks (7/17) and wide receivers (7/18).
Running backs got busy in 2022, doing their best to infuse throwback football into what has become predominantly a passing league.
Ten NFL teams attempted at least 500 rushes last season, compared to four the year before. Sixteen players eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards, compared to eight the year before.
While the running back market remains stagnant, production at the position is surging.
This led to four new entrants (or re-entrants) into this year's top 10, including three set to play on the franchise tag. Three impressive rookies also pushed for a spot.
Let's look at some of the game's top ball carriers as ranked by execs, coaches, scouts and players around the NFL.