One of the biggest disappointments at the running back position in 2014 was Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington. He was expected to have his breakout season last year, but that didn’t end up happening.
Arizona simply didn’t get the type of production that they needed from him, but that will change in 2015. There is no question that Ellington has the talent to be an above average starter at the NFL level, but he needs to work hard this offseason to prepare to be a feature back. It was obvious that he wasn’t ready for a full-time starting job, and he didn’t know what it would take.
During the 2014 season, Ellington rushed for 660 yards and three touchdowns on 201 carries.
Those numbers are going to take a major jump in 2015, and he will come back looking much stronger and much more ready to take on the starting job. Arizona has been rumored to be looking at bringing in another starting caliber running back, but if they don’t then Ellington will be a major breakout player next season.
(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams
Keeping it in the NFC West with the second name on the list, the St. Louis Rams are expecting a big season out of Tre Mason in 2015. He was a rookie in 2014 and showed quite a bit of potential during his first season.
St. Louis has been looking for a franchise running back since Steven Jackson left, and Mason appears to be that guy. At 5-foot-8, 207 pounds, he is a completely different kind of running back than Jackson, but he is more than capable of putting up big numbers. The Rams are very high on him, and he will come back even better with a full offseason of improvement.
During his rookie season, Mason ended up rushing for 765 yards and four touchdowns on 179 attempts.
Expect to see a big season from the Rams on the ground next season thanks to Mason. He has all of the potential to take the next step in his sophomore season, and St. Louis will give him every chance to do so.
(Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)
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Running backs are the main way to take pressure off of quarterbacks, and they force defenses to respect more than just the man throwing the ball.
There are a few "elite" running backs in the NFL, with the increased "running back by committee" strategy. It isn't a knock on the position as a whole, but there simply aren't enough players that have proven themselves to play consistently at a superstar level.
Despite that fact, there are a few running backs with the potential to break out in the 2015 season.
Last season, there were quite a handful of rushers that showed the potential to turn into something in the future. Whether that "future" is now or farther ahead, they could be poised to have a breakout season in 2015.