NFC South: Ranking the top 5 running backs

5 of 6

January 10, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart (28) runs the ball against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half in the 2014 NFC Divisional playoff football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers

After playing just 15 games between 2012 and 2013, Jonathan Stewart bounced back in a nice way last year. 

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Even after missing three games, Stewart posted a solid 809 yards at a healthy average of 4.6 yards per carry, the same as Eddie Lacy.

For comparison, Marshawn Lynch, Le’Veon Bell and DeMarco Murray averaged 4.7 yards per carry.

Despite that, he only found the end zone three times.

Had he played in all 16 games, it’s possible Stewart would have surpassed 1,000 yards. That’s the problem though, he has only featured in all 16 games three times in his seven-year NFL career and hasn’t done so since 2011.

Jan 3, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert (35) celebrates with running back Jonathan Stewart (28) after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Arizona Cardinals in the 2014 NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Stewart has only carried the football more than 200 times once in his career, and it’s no coincidence he posted 1,133 yards that year.

He has 30 rushing touchdowns to his name, although 20 of those came in his first two seasons. He’ll be looking to boost this number in 2015.

Stewart will play a key role in Carolina’s rushing unit which finished seventh in the NFL last year. If he can stay on the field, he has the ability to surpass 1,000 yards and be a key player on offense.

Next: No. 1