NFL Power Rankings: Best Rookie Running Backs in Week 8

We’re at the midway point of the 2022 NFL season, and several rookie running backs are making their presence felt. 

Here are the best of the bunch after Week 8, considering recent performance and future opportunities.

Rank Player Team
1. Kenneth Walker III SEA
2. Dameon Pierce HOU
3. Tyler Allgeier ATL
4. Caleb Huntley ATL
5. James Cook BUF
6. Jaylen Warren PIT
7. Ronnie Rivers LAR
8. Brian Robinson  WSH
9. Rachaad White TB
10. Isiah Pacheco KC

1) Kenneth Walker III – Seattle Seahawks

Walker III managed 51 yards rushing on 18 carries, putting the game away with a 16-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter as Seattle downed the New York Giants 27-13 on Sunday. The Seahawks will seek their fourth straight win this week when they travel to Arizona to take on the Cardinals. Walker III rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown in their Week 6 matchup, won by Seattle 19-9 at Lumen Field. For the year, the 22-year-old has rushed for 462 yards, averaging a healthy 5.4 yards per carry with five touchdowns.

2) Dameon Pierce – Houston Texans

Pierce found the going tough on Sunday, registering 35 yards on 13 carries as the Texans fell at home to the Tennessee Titans 17-10. The 22-year-old caught three passes for 16 yards, including a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, making the game appear much closer than it was. Pierce continues to see significant volume as the Texans’ lead back, rushing for 539 yards on 121 attempts (4.5 YPC) while adding 98 yards receiving on 20 receptions in seven games. Week 9 has Houston hosting the unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday Night Football.

3) Tyler Allgeier – Atlanta Falcons 

Allgeier managed a hard-fought 39 yards on 14 carries and caught three passes for 46 yards and a touchdown as Atlanta edged the Carolina Panthers 37-34 in a wild overtime thriller at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The contribution in the passing game was surprising – the Brigham Young product had not been targeted in Weeks 5-7 and just once in Weeks 3 and 4. On the field for 60% of the snaps on Sunday, Allgeier’s ability to contribute as an every-down back bodes well while Cordarrelle Patterson remains sidelined. The Falcons host the Los Angeles Chargers in a favorable Week 9 matchup– the Bolts rank 31st against the run, yielding 128 yards per game. 

4) Caleb Huntley – Atlanta Falcons

Huntley made a solid contribution in the win over the Panthers, leading the Falcons on the ground with 91 yards on 16 carries despite being on the field for only 36% of offensive snaps. With performances like this, the undrafted rookie out of Ball State could see a more prominent role in the run-heavy Falcons attack.

5) James Cook – Buffalo Bills

Cook impressed on Sunday Night Football, gaining 76 total yards in the Bills’ 27-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers at Highmark Stadium. In limited action (25% snap share on Sunday night), the Georgia alum has gained 132 yards rushing, averaging an impressive 5.5 yards per carry in his inaugural campaign. Though Devin Singletary is the feature back in the Bills’ attack, Week 8’s performance could pave the way for a more significant role for the 23-year-old as the season progresses. The Bills take on the Jets at MetLife Stadium this Sunday.

6) Jaylen Warren – Pittsburgh Steelers

Warren was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal performance by the Steelers, who were outclassed by the Philadelphia Eagles 35-13 at Lincoln Financial Field. The undrafted rookie from Oklahoma State led the team in rushing with 50 yards on six carries while catching all three of his targets for 25 yards. Playing behind workhorse Najee Harris, Warren’s playing time is limited, but he has been a solid contributor when on the field. The Steelers (2-6), in the cellar of the AFC North, have a bye in Week 9.

7) Ronnie Rivers – Los Angeles Rams

Promoted from the practice roster, Rivers had eight carries for 21 yards while hauling in all four of his targets for 15 yards in the Rams’ 31-14 home defeat at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. The undrafted rookie from Fresno State was on the field for 36% of total offensive snaps, sharing duties with veterans Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown. With Cam Akers out of the lineup for personal reasons, it appears no one is willing or able to seize the RB1 position, creating an opportunity for Rivers to see additional playing time. Week 9 sees the Rams (3-4) travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers (3-5).

8) Brian Robinson – Washington Commanders

Robinson carried eight times for just 20 yards in the Commanders’ thrilling 17-16 win at Indianapolis on Sunday. The third-round pick out of Alabama garnered a 36% snap share in this one, firmly entrenched in Washington’s running back by committee approach along with Antonio Gibson and passing down back J.D. McKissic. The Commanders have now won three straight by a grand total of seven points – they host the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings (6-1) on Sunday.

9) Rachaad White – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

White rushed for 19 yards on four carries and caught three passes for 24 more in the Bucs disappointing 27-22 loss at home to the Baltimore Ravens. With just a 26% snap share, the 23-year-old remains decidedly behind feature back Leonard Fournette in Tampa’s attack. The Bucs have just one win in their last five games and have scored more than 21 points just twice this season. Next up – Tampa Bay hosts the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in what shapes up to be a must-win for both teams.

10) Isiah Pacheco – Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs were on a bye in Week 8 and return to action to host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday Night Football. Pacheco started Kansas City’s Week 7 win at San Francisco, rushing for 43 yards on eight carries. With the Chiefs’ committee approach, the Rutgers product has been used almost exclusively on the ground, having caught just two passes for nine yards this season. Though he has flashed at times, the 23-year-old has yet to exceed a 30% snap share thus far.