Our sister site, Dawg Pound Daily, decided to ask the question “is Nick Chubb the best running back since 1999?” The answer is yes. And duh. And duh-doy. Nick Chubb is clearly the best running back since 1999 and it’s not even close. No line, top-tier line, it doesn’t matter. He’ll get his five yards per carrying every time.
So the real question is, who’s number two? Who’s the other running back that stood out above the rest. Ben Gay. No, sorry, no. Not even as a joke pick. Gay may share the name of a joint-pain medicine, but the only relief he brought with him was the lack of anxiety the defenses had when they saw him.
So who really was the best running backs since 1999; not named Chubb?
(Note: The list will be numbered five through one, even though “one” will actually be the first runner up to Nick Chubb’s true designation of number one.)
No. 5 Reuben Droughns
Reuben Droughns makes the list solely because he topped 1,000 yards rushing. He was the first running back of the new-Browns Era to post 1,000 yards rushing in a single season. He wasn’t overly good or made a difference, as he barely broke 4.0 yards-per-carry in his first year on the team, but at least he was the first. After that 1,000 yard season, his average dropped to 3.4 yards-per-carry the next year. He barely did do enough to beat out other names like Jamel White, Kareem Hunt, and Trent Richardson.
He didn’t have a lot of help, but he did have a 1,000-yard receiver in Antonio Bryant, and a steady, if unimpressive, passing from Trent Dilfer. He also had a declining Dennis Northcutt and a rookie Braylon Edwards; neither of whom made a massive impact.
That said, Droughns had two, back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons; one in Denver and the next in Cleveland. From that first 1,000-yard season to his second year in Cleveland, Droughns declined in quality each year.
Droughns finished his time in Cleveland with 1,990 yards, a 3.8 YPC, and six touchdowns while having career figures of 3,602, 3.9 YPC, and 19 touchdowns.