When it comes to talking about the greatest NFL running backs, the number of 1,000+ rushing seasons comes to mind. Take Barry Sanders for example. The Hall of Famer is considered one of the best running backs of all-time and surpassed 1,000 yards for all 10 seasons he played. A more recent future Hall of Famer in Adrian Peterson, one of the best running backs in the modern era, has eight seasons of 1,000+ yards as he heads into his 13th season.

Currently, guys like Le’Veon Bell and Todd Gurley, for example, can almost guarantee an over 1,000-yard season. In 2018, we saw a low number of running backs hitting that milestone with nine different players. There has been a decline in the number for the past couple of seasons, which makes sense given many teams use multiple running backs in the offense.

Nine players recorded over 1,000 rushing yards, with Ezekial Elliot of the Dallas Cowboys leading the way with 1,434 while the undrafted Phillip Lindsay made the cut with 1,037 yards. The first time members were Saquon Barkley (1,307), Joe Mixon (1,168), Chris Carson (1,151), Christian McCaffery (1,098), Derrick Henry (1,059), and the previously mentioned Lindsay. Elliot, Gurley (1,251), and Peterson (1,042) are the only members from 2018 that have accomplished that feat in prior seasons.

It is a low number and while the guys previously mentioned will no doubt be on top of the rushing chart once again in 2019, there are a few guys that I think can join the 1,000 single-season club for the first time this season.

Much like the wide receivers and their 1,000 yard prediction, I made a list of 10 running backs that I think can hit the 1,000 yard rushing mark for the first time this season.

10. Sony Michel

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  • Team: New England Patriots
  • Years in NFL: One
  • Highest Season Total: 931 (2018)
  • Career Rushing Yards: 931

Michel was taken 31st overall in the 2018 draft and made a huge impact right away in New England’s offense. His 209 carries led the team, with James White and his 94 being second, showing that Michel is the main feature back for years to come. He also helped New England win Super Bowl 53, rushing for 336 yards and six touchdowns during their postseason run.

There is no doubt that Michel will lead the team in carries once again. I would have put him higher on the list but the team has a number of running backs they use often (White, Rex Burkhead, Brandon Bolden) and adding the rookie in Damien Harris will take away a few carries. I still think he can eclipse the 1,000-yard mark, but it may be the case where he just makes the cut.

9. Miles Sanders

Credit: USA Today Sports
  • Team: Philadelphia Eagles
  • Years in NFL: Rookie
  • Highest Season Total: None
  • Career Rushing Yards: None

Saquon Barkley’s former backup had a great final season at Penn State, rushing for 1,274 yards and nine touchdowns and was selected by the Eagles in the second round of this past draft. He was impressive in the preseason and showed that he has a bright future in the NFL.

Much like the Patriots, the Eagles have been a running back-by-committee offense and the same will be said once again in 2019. They traded for Jordan Howard while also having Darren Sproles and Corey Clement that’ll be factoring in the offense. Sanders will still be the lead back but the amount of talent he has behind him has him lower on this list.

8. David Montgomery

Credit: David Banks/Getty Images
  • Team: Chicago Bears
  • Years in NFL: Rookie
  • Highest Season Total: None
  • Career Rushing Yards: None

There has been a lot of hype surrounding the third-round pick since joining the Chicago Bears and rightfully so. He was really impressive in training camp and in the preseason and no doubt will be a solid running back in the NFL.

Montgomery is set to be the starter to start the season and will look to get the majority of carries in the offense. Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis also look to get some snaps on the offense as well but Montgomery leads the pack. He could be a favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.

7. Kerryon Johnson

Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
  • Team: Detriot Lions
  • Years in NFL: One
  • Highest Season Total: 641 (2018)
  • Career Rushing Yards: 641

Johnson was drafted in the second round by the Lions in 2018 after a great three-year career at Auburn. He earned the starting job early in the season, which included a 158 yard game in a Week 7 games against the Miami Dolphins. An injury in Week 11 eventually ended his rookie season but the Lions should be impressed with what he was able to do in his short time.

He looks to be healthy now and the starter once again in the 2019 season. C.J. Anderson was signed this past offseason to provide a solid backup for the team but look for Johnson to get the majority of carries in Detriot’s offense.

6. Dalvin Cook

Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
  • Team: Minnesota Vikings 
  • Years in NFL: Two
  • Highest Season Total: 615 (2018)
  • Career Rushing Yards: 969

Cook was a star when he played for Florida State, posting three straight 1,000-yard season (including a 1,765 yard 2016 season) to go along with 46 career touchdowns. He was drafted in the second round of the 2017 draft and was looked to be the replacement for Adrian Peterson.

He showed his skills right away as he rushed for 127 in his first career game, breaking Peterson’s record for most rushing yards by a Vikings rookie in their debut. Unfortunately, an ACL injury in Week 4 had him out for the rest of the season. 2018 was an improved year for Cook but some nagging injury caused him to six games. He looks to be fully healthy as he heads into 2019 and if he shows his impressive play like he previously had, there is no doubt he’ll hit the 1,000-yard mark this season. Let’s just hope he can stay healthy.

5. Nick Chubb

Credit: David Richard/AP Photo
  • Team: Cleveland Browns
  • Years in NFL: One
  • Highest Season Total: 996 (2018)
  • Career Rushing Yards: 996

Chubb and previously mentioned Michel were teammates at Georgia, forming one of the best 1-2 punches in college football at the time. Unlike Michel, Chubb was taken in the second round of the 2018 draft. He was stuck behind veterans Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson but once Hyde was traded away, he earned more carries and became the starting running back.

Hyde showed flashes of brilliance, which included breaking off a 92 yard run in a game against the Atlanta Falcons, which is the longest run in Cleveland Browns history. Chubb just missed the cut in 2018 by four yards but has a chance to break it in 2019. The only competition he has for carries is Kareem Hunt but is about to serve an eight-game suspension, so for now, Chubb looks to be the bell-cow for the Cleveland Browns.

4. Josh Jacobs

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports
  • Team: Oakland Raiders
  • Years in NFL: Rookie
  • Highest Season Total: None
  • Career Rushing Yards: None

Jacobs was viewed as the highest-graded running back heading into the 2019 NFL Draft. Oakland used one of their three first-round picks on the Alabama running back and looks to be an immediate star in that offense.

The Raiders do not have many stars in that offense, especially with the Antonio Brown fiasco, so look for Jacobs to rack up a ton of yards. Jacobs also looks to be an early favorite of Offensive Rookie of the Year.

3. James Conner

Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images
  • Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Years in NFL: Two
  • Highest Season Total: 973 (2018)
  • Career Rushing Yards: 1,117

When Le’Veon Bell sat out for the 2018 season, Conner made the most of his opportunity. After a 2017 rookie season where he did not see a lot of playing time, Conner became the full-time starter in 2018 and rushed for 973 yards to go along with 12 touchdowns. An injury during the tail end of the season hurt his chances to break the 1,000-yard mark but still earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2018.

Now, with Bell gone, Conner is the guy and there is no doubt that he can easily break 1,000 yards this season if he stays healthy.

2. Marlon Mack

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  • Team: Indianapolis Colts
  • Years in NFL: Two
  • Highest Season Total: 908 (2018)
  • Career Rushing Yards: 1,266

Mack is another case here where if he played in all 16 games, he could have easily hit the 1,000-yard mark. The former 2017 fourth-round pick from South Florida had 908 rushing yards in only 12 games to go along with nine touchdowns.

His three straight 1,000 yard seasons at South Florida show that he can very well do the same in the pros. The Colts are an interesting team heading into 2019 with the recent retirement of Andrew Luck. Mack looks to be one of the main guys in the offense that will make up for that loss.

1. Alvin Kamara

Credit: Getty Images
  • Team: New Orleans Saints
  • Years in NFL: Two
  • Highest Season Total: 883 (2018)
  • Career Rushing Yards: 1,611

Kamara is one of the most electrifying players in the NFL and is in the conversation as one of the best backs in the league. It is crazy to think that he has yet to accomplish the single-season 1,000-yard mark in his young career. Granted, Kamara has also been a huge focal point in the passing game as well as the kick return game. We also have to note here that Mark Ingram did take some carries away from him as they were one of the best 1-2 punches in the NFL when they played together.

With Ingram leaving for the Baltimore Ravens, Kamara will have a larger role than he already has in the offense. He will still be used in the passing game and occasional kick return duties but I think he will finally surpass that 1,000-yard mark in a single season in 2019.

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