Who Leads the NFL in Rushing Yards This Year?

While the NFL has become known for its pass-happy nature, the importance of having a solid running game cannot be underestimated. Throughout the season, this space will monitor the league’s rushing leaders. 

Here is how things shake out after Week 1.

Who Leads the NFL in Rushing Yards This Year?

Rank

Name

Team

Rushing Yards

1

Saquon Barkley

NYG

164

2

Jonathan Taylor

IND

161

3

D’Andre Swift

DET

144

4

Nick Chubb

CLE

141

5

Leonard Fournette

TB

127

6

Cordarrelle Patterson

ATL

120

7

Miles Sanders

PHI

96

8

Jalen Hurts

PHI

90

9

Dalvin Cook

MIN

90

10

Derrick Henry

TEN

82

11

Joe Mixon

CIN

82

12

Taysom Hill

NO

81

13

Marcus Mariota

ATL

72

14

James Robinson

JAX

66

15

Isiah Pacheco

KC

62

16

Michael Carter

NYJ

60

17

Rashaad Penny

SEA

60

18

Melvin Gordon III

DEN

58

19

Antonio Gibson

WSH

58

20

Josh Jacobs

LV

57

21

Josh Allen

BUF

56

22

Trey Lance

SF

54

23

Deebo Samuel

SF

52

24

Ezekiel Elliott

DAL

52

25

Aaron Jones

GB

49

One of the great stories in Week 1 was the performance of New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley. After dealing with several injuries the past few seasons, Barkley looked like his old self, breaking off several explosive runs en route to a 164-yard afternoon (18 carries). The 25-year-old’s longest run went for 68 yards on the first play of the third quarter, one of four rushes of 10+ yards for the former Penn State standout. Health permitting, Barkley’s name should continue to rank near or at the top of the NFL’s rushing leaderboard.

Right behind Barkley is 2021’s rushing leader in the Colts’ Jonathan Taylor, who picked up exactly where he left off, racking up 161 yards on 31 carries in Indy’s 20-20 tie against the Houston Texans. With preseason reports of a lighter workload appearing to be exaggerated, Taylor is as good a bet as anyone to win his second consecutive rushing crown.