Matt Forte is a top-10 running back

March, 16, 2011
3/16/11
12:00
PM ET
As you know by now, ESPN.com's Blog Network is joining senior writer John Clayton in an offseason Power Rankings exercise to determine the game's 10 best players by position. We hit receivers last week and running backs this week. Hopefully they're a fun diversion for lockout-weary fans.

The bloggers? In some cases, we're in a lose-lose situation. If I rank an NFC North player high, I'm a homer. Leave one off the list, and I'm either biased or trying too hard not to look like a homer.

[+] EnlargeMatt Forte
Mike DiNovo/US PresswireMatt Forte didn't receive any votes when we selected the top running backs in the NFL.
The latter scenario developed this week when, like the rest of my colleagues, I failed to rank Chicago Bears tailback Matt Forte in my top 10.

"Kevin, some NFCN blogger you turned out to be," wrote tearloch. "How could Forte not at least be in YOUR top 10 RBs?"

"What a joke," wrote Frankiemazz.

LambeauOrWrigley, meanwhile, noted that I included Forte "among the top players in the division" upon placing him on the 2010 All-NFC North team. LOW was particularly dismayed to see the New York Jets' LaDainian Tomlinson on my ballot at No. 10.

"Call me slow," LOW wrote, "but I assumed in your eyes you felt they had what one might consider an almost 'comparable' year. Both [Adrian Peterson] and [Chris Johnson] ran behind poor lines (as did Forte) and inept passing game. Though pure running skills wise I consider them better, as an overall value to a team, I honestly couldn't see how in his best stat LT could beat out Forte. I just checked stats and like it or not Forte beat LT in EVERY VIABLE STAT!"

In this case, I just flat-out over-thought and whiffed. I spent too much time making sure I didn't omit anyone from another division, and I really worked hard to make sure Tomlinson got a vote. I thought what he did last season -- 1,282 all-purpose yards for a team that made it to the AFC Championship Game -- was quite a statement at his age and merited some recognition. (Apparently I was the only one.)

But as many of you pointed out, Forte finished with 1,616 all-purpose yards for a team that made it to the NFC Championship Game, the 10th-best mark in the NFL. I can't speak for the other voters, but those figures should have been enough to get a spot on my ballot. I needed to start my list with the players I know best.

Who would I have left off? I probably would have had to drop my Tomlinson crusade. (My No. 9 running back, the Baltimore Ravens' Ray Rice, was third among NFL running backs last season with 1,776 all-purpose yards. He's making the cut.) I won't be getting a new job, as Frankiemazz requested. But like the rest of us, I will live and learn.

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