Over at Pro Football Focus, those in charge went about ranking the best running backs over a period of the last five seasons.
Deservedly, Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles came in second, behind only the non-human Adrian Peterson. Rounding out the top five in order are Pierre Thomas (you probably just had the same reaction as me when I read that: what?...), Arian Foster and Marshawn Lynch.
Their rationale for Charles being the second best back since 2008?
In 2009 and 2010, the man who led our PFF Run Rating was Jamaal Charles. After getting drafted by the Chiefs in 2008, Charles began to break out at the end of his sophomore season with 656 yards in his last four games. His 2010 season was one to remember after he averaged 6.5 rushing yards per attempt over the course of the entire season which led to a playoff appearance.
An injury held him to just 34 snaps in 2011, and in 2012 he had a mix of excellent 200-plus yard performances mixed with five games of 40 rushing yards or less. Over the five years, his 5.8 yards per carry is by far the highest for all backs. His season and a half of dominance is enough to make him the second-best runner over the last five years, and a strong finish to 2012 gives reason to believe he has a chance to return to that form.
It's nice to see Charles get some credit occasionally. Usually, Chiefs fans have to listen to this nonsense that players such as Maurice Jones-Drew and Matt Forte are better players. Nothing against those guys, but are you trading Charles for either of them straight up? Me neither.
Only 26, Charles has the chance to be a all-time great if he stays healthy. Here's a fun fact I heard the other day while reading over a piece and watching a podcast involving Charles on Grantland.com: In his career, Charles has never carried the ball at least 20 times in a game and rushed for less than 100 yards.