Rice and Mendenhall among top 10 RBs

March, 15, 2011
3/15/11
1:15
PM ET
It didn't take long for Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens and Rashard Mendenhall of the Pittsburgh Steelers to become great players. Although both running backs are under the age of 25, they're already among the top 10 at their position.

ESPN.com continued its series on positional Power Rankings Tuesday, and this week we rated the league's best running backs. Rice finished eighth and Mendenhall was ninth in the voting.

[+] EnlargeRashard Mendenhall
AP Photo/Charlie KrupaRashard Mendenhall rushed for 1,273 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.
Are both players deserving to be on this list? You bet.

Rice made the ballot of all eight voters. He was voted as high as sixth and as low as ninth. I voted Rice No. 8. He rushed for 1,220 yards and caught 63 receptions for 556 yards last season.

But Mendenhall was a polarizing case. He received votes from only five of the eight bloggers, but that was enough to finish ninth. I voted Mendenhall 10th on my ballot, and the final vote came down to Mendenhall and LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles. But I really liked the strides Mendenhall made last season by reducing his fumbles (except in the Super Bowl) and getting tough yards inside the red zone with 13 rushing touchdowns.

Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis also received one ninth-place vote from our panel, but he didn't make the top 10. Here is the complete breakdown:

ESPN.com's RB Power Rankings

1. Chris Johnson, Titans

2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings

3. (tie) Arian Foster, Texans

3. (tie) Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

5. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs

6. Michael Turner, Falcons

7. Steven Jackson, Rams

8. Ray Rice, Ravens

9. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers

10. (tie) Frank Gore, 49ers

10. (tie) LeSean McCoy, Eagles

10. (tie) Darren McFadden, Raiders

Walker's RB Power Rankings

1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings

2. Chris Johnson, Titans

3. Arian Foster, Texans

4. Steven Jackson, Rams

5. Michael Turner, Falcons

6. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs

7. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

8. Ray Rice, Ravens

9. Frank Gore, 49ers

10. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers

Who are your top 10 running backs?

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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