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Ranking the NFC South running backs

6/2/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
We'll continue our NFC South positional rankings today with running backs.

Here is my top 10:

1. Michael Turner, Atlanta. Falcons just have to be careful not to overuse him this year. Give him 325 carries and he'll give you 1,500 yards.

2. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina. He's still something of a secret to a lot of people. But that's not going to last much longer.

3. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina. His power is perfect complement to Williams' speed.

4. Derrick Ward, Tampa Bay. I'm projecting a bit here because we don't truly know Ward's role. But I think he's going to be the primary ball carrier in an offense that runs often.

5. Pierre Thomas, New Orleans. A lot of people like to make it sound as if the Saints didn't have a featured back last year. They did. It was Thomas and he's solid.

6. Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay. He's still going to get plenty of carries in a ball-control offense and could even get some time at fullback.

7. Reggie Bush, New Orleans. No, he's not a true running back. But he still can hurt you out of the backfield, at times, as much as any running back in the league.

8. Jerious Norwood, Atlanta. Has shown flashes in a limited role, but you get the feeling the Falcons are going to watch Turner's carries closely this year and that could mean more for Norwood.

9. Ovie Mughelli, Atlanta. He's a fullback, but he belongs on this list. He kept a lot of hits off Turner and quarterback Matt Ryan last year.

10. Brad Hoover, Carolina. Hoover's not quite as dominant a blocker as Mughelli, but he's been very solid and dependable for a long time.