RB Jamel White (2000)
Joining the Browns in 2000, the often unheralded running back put up two very good seasons in 2001, and 2002, topping 800 total yards from scrimmage in each. His versatility as a runner and a pass-catcher made the Browns’ offense more functional with him than without. In 2001 the Browns rushing attack was abhorrent and wasn’t much better in 2002.
At least in 2002, the Browns had an upgrade at running back in William Green. While no Pro-Bowler, the starter in 2001 was James Jackson, who only went in the third round because his old college coach, Butch Davis, was heavily influencing the draft.
White was able to provide an offensive sucker punch of sorts in both ’01 and ’02, catching many teams by surprise. The addition of Green turned out to be a great thing for White, who ended up having the best season of his career in 2002, hitting 470 yards rushing, and passing 450 yards receiving.
The reason he’s ninth is that he only really had those two years. Bad team play and injuries slowed him down. He also did it in an era where running backs like him weren’t valued. The mindset was “we have receivers if we want to throw”. So guys like him and eventually the Eagles’ Michael Westbrook would become gadget players, and not guys to utilize fully like the Panthers’ Christian McCaffery.