10. Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions
The Lions brought him in looking for a back that could produce big gains and hit the 1,000-yard mark.
Unfortunately for the Lions and their fans, he was just another average back that couldn’t bring enough relief to the passing game.
He tends to carry his body high, and his cutting ability isn’t the best in the league. The Lions hoped for a savior and found a dud.
9. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers
Williams was a bright name coming out of Memphis as the 27th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. His first two years were sluggish as he learned the system; then he took off and showed the makings of a great running back by putting up back to back 1,000-yard seasons in 2008 and 2009.
He suffered an injury the following season and his game never fully recovered as his production keeps decreasing yearly. It could be argued that Williams deserves part of the blame for Cam Newton’s rough sophomore season.
8. Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos
McGahee is up there in years (31) and his ability to remain healthy and a potent weapon from the backfield continues to diminish. To his credit, McGahee did put up 731 yards rushing this season, but he’s quickly fading, and soon to be 32-year-old backs are easily replaced in this league.
The Broncos don’t have anything better in Moreno, so the Broncos would be wise to add a young RB via the Draft or free agency. McGahee is finished, and Moreno took off like a bottle rocket without a stick.
7. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
Darren McFadden has been a huge disappointment for the Raiders, who selected him fourth overall in the 2008 Draft. He’s had only one 1,000-yard season in his first five years, and has averaged only 667 yards a season. He’s a bust pick the Raiders have held onto for far too long. What else is there really left to say?
6. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
DeMarco Murray was another pick that was thought to usher in some backfield support for Tony Romo and the passing game. However, since being drafted as the 71st overall pick, Murray has had trouble staying healthy, and when healthy, he simply can’t perform to the standards of a starting NFL running back.
A weak ground game can hurt a solid passing game, but the Cowboys possessed only one this season, and he threw a season ending pick. Time to find the next big Cowboys running back that’s been missing ever since Emmitt Smith departed.
5. Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers
Dwyer took over this season for the often-injured Rashard Mendenhall, and was thought on draft day he would over-step Mendenhall and be the next great running back escaping from the backfield.
Dwyer failed to capitalize on his chance to earn the starting spot next season, and showed the Steelers have a bigger weakness hurting the offense then they first projected.
The catch here, is the Steelers were smart in placing a 6th round pick who doesn’t command nor hold a huge salary as the starter, so it gives them time to let Mendenhall heal and potentially scoop up a viable back in the draft or free agency, and it didn’t cost them much in terms of money, but the postseason had to hurt like hell.
4. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
The Saints needed some relief for the passing game and selected a bust, thus far, with their 28th overall selection Mark Ingram.
Ingram has failed to not only produce the 1,000 yards many anticipated the former Heisman winner would collect during his career, but he also has had trouble finding the end zone, averaging only five touchdowns per season. Ingram has the talent to have a breakout season, but thus far has been nothing short of a bust pick for the Saints.
3. Alex Green, Green Bay Packers
I can’t honestly recollect back to a time when the Packers didn’t have a near 1,000-yard back in the backfield. The Packers had hoped to find a steal by selecting Green with the 96th overall pick in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Green was given the green light to start this season and failed miserably. He led the Packers with only 464 yards, but even worse, he didn’t score one single touchdown this season, and was equally worthless as a receiver from the backfield.
2. Peyton Hillis, Kansas City Chiefs
Peyton Hillis had a huge 1,000+ yard season in Cleveland, only to follow it up by feigning injuries to force a new contract with the team, like a new “in season holdout.” The Browns sent him on his way after that very lackluster season. The Chiefs used a flier and brought him in to give a smashing support for the passing game.
Unfortunately the Browns made the right call, as what heart Hillis had during his career year, has left him for worse on the field.
In what was anticipated to be a huge year for Hillis, he chipped in a mere 309 yards rushing, forcing the Chiefs to move him back to his natural fullback position quickly and call on the more reliable back, Jamaal Charles, who painted opponents for over 1,500 yards this season. The Chiefs made a terrible bet in signing Hillis, he was a one and done type of back.
1. LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona Cardinals
In a nutshell, the entire Cardinals' backfield should be ranked here, after such a dismal display this season. To their benefit, Stephens-Howling has very much lived up to the 7th round dud most 7th round selections end up being in this league.
First Beanie Wells went south, now Stephens-Howling; if the Cardinals are meaning to compete they need to bring in a running back that can flat out fly and take some hits too. LSH gets my No. 1 worst running back spot for 2012, but the entire ground game of the Cardinals is an added bonus feature!