Ranking the best RB rooms in the NFL after the free agency rush

Where do the Pittsburgh Steelers rank among the ten best RB rooms in 2024?

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Free agency ushers in major roster shake-ups every year. This year, we saw some of the league's most notable running backs like Derrick Henry and Saquon Barkley jumping ship and signing with a new team. Even the Pittsburgh Steelers beefed up their running back room by adding All-Pro return man and former first-round pick, Cordarrelle Patterson.

It's going to be quite the change seeing so many running backs in different uniforms this season. This is a position that touches the ball more frequently than anyone besides the quarterback, and there are always eyes on the league's best running backs.

Following the rush of the 2024 free agency period, I have ranked the 10 best running back rooms in the NFL based on factors such as the team's RB1, depth at the position, and efficiency last season. Here are the top 10 running back corps in the NFL.

1. Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions are a safe bet to be the best overall backfield in the league next season. Though neither David Montgomery nor Jahmyr Gibbs is considered the best in the league at their position, the combination of the two was lethal in 2023 and it should only get better next season.

This is a true 'thunder and lightning' one-two punch. Montgomery can do the dirty work grinding in the middle of the field while Gibbs can take it to the house from anywhere.

2. Miami Dolphins

You can't teach speed, and the Dolphins' running backs have more than anyone. Even in his old age (with respect to the position), Raheem Mostert continues to be one of the most efficient running backs in the league thanks to his speed, quickness, and vision. Last year, he cruised to 1,012 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns in 15 games while averaging 4.8 yards per attempt.

What makes Miami's backfield so scary is the presence of Devon Achane. The former Texas A&M star has 4.32 speed and is tailor-made for Mike McDaniel's offense. These two can gash opposing defenses for one explosive play after the next.

3. San Francisco 49ers

It's hard to put the 49ers lower than third on this list when they have the best all-around running back in the game in Christian McCaffrey. In addition to what he offers on the ground, the All-Pro running back is the best in the league at his position when it comes to receiving ability.

Elijah Mitchell isn't the most lethal RB2 in the NFL, but he's a quality football player who can spell McCaffrey of snaps and start for a stretch if injuries occur.

4. Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore's running game always seems to perform well, regardless of who's back there. In 2023 Keaton Mitchell exploded for big plays. Though he's only 5'8'' and 180 pounds, his 4.37 speed is noticeable on film, and the arrow is pointed up entering year two.

In steps Derrick Henry -- one of the best running backs in the NFL of the past decade. Even though Henry has a lot of mileage on the tires, he still found a way to be efficient last year. Going to one of the best run-blocking teams in the NFL is only going to help. He could prove that the Ravens made a great decision during the 2024 free-agency period.

5. Atlanta Falcons

Bijan Robinson didn't have the other-worldly rookie season that everyone expected, but he did flash all of his ability when given the chance. Now that Arthur Smith is gone, Robinson could see a lion's share of the carries. Meanwhile, Tyler Allgier took a step back in terms of both efficiency and production in 2023, but he could still prove to be one of the better backup running backs in the league in 2024.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a balanced approach at the running back position with Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren. Warren, the former undrafted free agent, is the more efficient back of the two, but Harris saw his best season in 2023. Both running backs can carry the load and are quickly becoming one of the best tandems in the league.

Harris and Warren were so healthy in 2023 that no other running back on the Steelers roster saw a carry from the backfield last season. Now add an experienced RB like Cordarrelle Patterson to the mix, and this becomes one of the deepest RB rooms in the NFL.

7. Philadelphia Eagles

Saquon Barkley is staying in the NFC East. After proving to be one of the best players on the Giants when healthy, the athletic running back joins a team that is much closer to competing for a championship in Philadelphia.

Barkley is going to be the lead back, but it's nice to have a player like Kenneth Gainwell as your RB2. This one-two punch offers explosion and big-play ability that is on par with some of the best teams in the NFL. If Barkley can stay healthy, he could have a huge season on his new team in 2024.

8. Cleveland Browns

A brutal knee injury to Nick Chubb early in the 2023 season drops the Browns a bit on this list. Chubb is clearly one of the best running backs in the game, and this injury may slow him down at this stage of his career.

However, we have seen Chubb bounce back from major injuries before, and even if he loses a step, he is one of the most well-balanced RBs in the NFL. Jerome Ford proved to be a quality player in Chubb's absence last season, and he could be a more efficient player when he returns to a smaller role in 2024.

9. Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears suddenly have a three-headed monster in their backfield. Joining Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson is former Eagles running back, D'Andre Swift. The addition of Swift gives the Bears a terrific blend of everything. Swift and Herbert can gash teams with speed and quickness while Johnson can wear defenders down with his power and bruising style.

10. New York Jets

In his second NFL season, Breece Hall showed just how lethal he can be with the football in his hands. You won't find many running backs who can move the way he does at his size. What's holding the Jets back from being higher on the list is their lack of a quality RB2 option. Israel Abanikanda could develop into that player, but there's no proven back on the team who could fill in effectively for Hall if New York's starting running back happens to go down with another season-ending injury.