Ranking AFC West running backs

May, 13, 2013
5/13/13
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We continue our AFC West 2013 positional rankings with a group of running backs that offers a lot of questions:

1. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City: Charles had a tremendous season in 2012 after coming back from a torn ACL. He is a top-level back.

2. Darren McFadden, Oakland: McFadden had an off season. The Raiders hope he bounces back as they return to a power-running game that he excels in. As always, health is the key for the big-league talent.

3. Ryan Mathews, San Diego: Mathews is similar to McFadden. He has big ability and has shown it, but he just can’t stay healthy.

4. Willis McGahee, Denver: I had a difficult time ranking Denver’s running backs, because there might be some big flux. But McGahee has had a lot of success, so I will list him first among Denver’s options for now.

5. Marcel Reece, Oakland: Reece doesn’t carry the ball much, but he is a versatile talent who helps Oakland’s offense.

6. Knowshon Moreno, Denver: Moreno finally played well last season and he showed he can help. But injuries are an issue.

7. Danny Woodhead, San Diego: The Chargers are excited about this former Patriot. He is versatile and the Chargers expect to use him a lot.

8. Montee Ball, Denver: I won’t be surprised if this second-round pick is Denver’s Week 1 starter and makes the top three of this list next year.

9. Ronnie Hillman, Denver: This second-year player is a good change-of-pace player who can also be a riser on this list next year.

10. Ronnie Brown, San Diego: He was solid last season. I’m not sure what his role will be, but he’s on this list for now.

11. Rashad Jennings, Oakland: I wouldn’t be surprised if he is bypassed by sixth-round pick Latavius Murray early in the season.

12. Knile Davis, Kansas City: The third-round pick has big potential. He can really help Charles. But he must fix his fumbling issues.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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