Miles Sanders was a godsend for the Eagles in his rookie year. Can he build on that? Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Running backs tend to have easier learning curves from the college ranks to the NFL compared to other skill-position players. We have seen some rookie backs dominate out of the gate in recent seasons.

Don’t expect that to change during the 2020 NFL season. From a young back in Western New York to another coming off a solid season in Northern California, here are five young NFL running backs primed for huge 2020 seasons.

Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills


Singletary gained 775 yards on the ground at a clip of 5.1 yards per rush as a rookie. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of his own talent, the ability of Josh Allen to make plays with both his feet and his arm will be the biggest instrument to Singletary’s success as a sophomore. Defenses need to concern themselves with Allen’s strong arm and strength as a runner. Those are two huge components for this young back.

As it relates to Singletary, he’s now pretty much going to shoulder the load after sharing duties with Frank Gore last season. The former third-round pick gained 775 yards on the ground at a clip of 5.1 yards per rush as a rookie. He added 29 receptions on 41 targets. Look for an absolutely huge second season from the Florida Atlantic product.

Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers


Can Raheem Mostert build on his breakout 2019 season? Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

How sold are the 49ers on Mostert? They traded former leading rusher Matt Breida to the Miami Dolphins for pennies on the dollar during the 2020 NFL Draft. For good reason. An undrafted free agent from Purdue, Mostert is coming off a record-breaking 2019 season for the defending NFC champions.

On his sixth different team during a five-year career, the Purdue product tallied nearly 1,000 total yards and 10 touchdowns at a clip of 6.3 yards per touch last season. He’s now pretty much going to be the featured ball-carrier in a Kyle Shanahan system that has proved to display the talents of its running backs. Watch out.

Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts


Jonathan Taylor dominated for three years at Wisconsin. Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis got an absolute steal in that of this record-setting former Wisconsin back with the 41st pick in April’s draft. The 5-foot-10, 226-pound Taylor recorded 6,581 total yards and 55 touchdowns at a clip of 6.8 yards per touch in three seasons with the Badgers. After struggling catching passes as a freshman and sophomore, he added that to his game last season to the tune of 26 receptions.

The Colts have another solid back, Marlon Mack, behind new quarterback Philip Rivers. In no way does that mean Taylor won’t be taking over primary ball-carrier duties. A team with Super Bowl aspirations does not exhaust a second-round pick on a running back without him being expected to make an impact. Look for that from Taylor as a rookie in 2020.

Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles


Miles Sanders was huge for the Eagles last season, and this upcoming campaign might be even bigger for the Penn State product. Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The lesser-known of the two former Penn State backs to enter the league over the past couple of seasons, Sanders was an absolute godsend for the Eagles last season. Selected in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Sanders put up 818 yards on the ground at a clip of 4.6 yards per rush. What makes him so special is a dual-threat ability. Sanders added 60 receptions for 509 yards, finishing his rookie season with 1,327 total yards.

Philadelphia is currently in the market for a backup behind Sanders. As of right now, it has not happened. Either way, we’re fully expecting Sanders to take off even more as a sophomore. It would not be a shock if he went for 2,000-plus total yards for the Eagles in 2020.

Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders


Josh Jacobs has already had a huge rookie year. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Right up there with Kyler Murray as the top NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate last season, Jacobs did a lot without much help on offense. Derek Carr continued to struggle throwing the ball down the field, leading to stacked boxes against the Raiders’ rushing attack. Despite this, the former first-round pick went for 1,316 total yards at a clip of five yards per rush.

We’re expecting a vastly improved Raiders offensive attack in 2020 after head coach Jon Gruden and Co. added multiple skill-position players during April’s draft. If so, it would not be a shock if this Alabama product went for more than 1,800 yards as a sophomore.

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.



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MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Can you name every Buffalo Bills player to rush for 1,000 yards or more in a single season?
SCORE:
0/30
TIME:
5:00
2,003 - 1973
O.J. Simpson
1,817 - 1975
O.J. Simpson
1,503 - 1976
O.J. Simpson
1,487 - 1992
Thurman Thomas
1,438 - 2002
Travis Henry
1,407 - 1991
Thurman Thomas
1,356 - 2003
Travis Henry
1,315 - 1993
Thurman Thomas
1,297 - 1990
Thurman Thomas
1,267 - 2016
LeSean McCoy
1,251 - 1972
O.J. Simpson
1,247 - 2005
Willis McGahee
1,244 - 2012
C.J. Spiller
1,244 - 1989
Thurman Thomas
1,185 - 1980
Joe Cribbs
1,138 - 2017
LeSean McCoy
1,131 - 1983
Joe Cribbs
1,128 - 2004
Willis McGahee
1,125 - 1974
O.J. Simpson
1,124 - 1998
Antowain Smith
1,115 - 2007
Marshawn Lynch
1,100 - 1984
Greg Bell
1,097 - 1981
Joe Cribbs
1,096 - 1962
Cookie Gilchrist
1,093 - 1994
Thurman Thomas
1,062 - 2009
Fred Jackson
1,060 - 1978
Terry Miller
1,036 - 2008
Marshawn Lynch
1,033 - 1996
Thurman Thomas
1,005 - 1995
Thurman Thomas

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