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  • In the NFC West, there are a number of talented running backs. Exactly how do they stack up against one another? From David Johnson to Todd Gurley to Matt Breida and Chris Carson, how should they be ranked?

    No. 9: Darrell Henderson, Rams

    a person posing for the camera: USA TODAY? USA TODAY USA TODAY

    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    It's probably unfair to put Henderson at the bottom of this list but he hasn't yet played an NFL down. He very well might fly up this list after this season and should make a scary second back to pair with Todd Gurley, but he has to show it on the field in the pros.

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    No. 8: Chase Edmonds, Cardinals

    a close up of a baseball player holding a bat: File photo? Getty File photo

    (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

    The second-year pro out of Fordham was spoken of a lot last year. General manager Steve Keim saw potential. Steve Wilks raved about him. He didn't get many opportunities, though. The Cardinals' new offense should be a nice fit for Edmonds. The question is how many touches he will get. He can make plays both as a runner and as a receiver.

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    No. 7: Rashaad Penny, Seahawks

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    Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Penny will now be the No. 2 back to Chris Carson in Seattle. However, he should get a lot of touches. He didn't have the dynamic rookie season many hoped he would but he also has the talent to be a stud No. 1 back.

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    No. 6: Jerick McKinnon, 49ers

    a group of baseball players playing a football game: USA TODAY? USA TODAY USA TODAY

    Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    He is coming off a torn ACL. While he is an exciting back, he has never been a No. 1 back. He would have been last year but got hurt and Matt Breida was great. He offers playmaking both as a runner and receiver. He won't have to carry a big load because the 49ers have three similar backs.

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    No. 5: Tevin Coleman, 49ers

    Tevin Coleman wearing a red shirt: Associated Press? Associated Press Associated Press

    (AP Photo)

    Coleman joins the 49ers after several years with the Atlanta Falcons, mostly as the complementary back to Devonta Freeman. He was productive but did not have to shoulder a full load. He has never rushed for more than 800 yards, which he did last season as the No. 1 back when Freeman was injured.

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    No. 4: Matt Breida

    a baseball player holding a bat in front of a crowd: File photo? File Photo File photo

    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Breida was so good last year but he couldn't stay completely healthy. He rushed for 814 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per attempt. He only missed two games but was limited to 153 carries. He should have gotten the ball more when he was healthy but the 49ers share the load. He is the better of the trio of backs San Francisco has.

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    No. 3: Chris Carson, Seahawks

    a close up of a person riding on the back of a motorcycle: File photo? File Photo File photo

    Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Carson was a nice surprise for Seattle last season, rushing for more than 1,100 yards. There is no reason to believe he can't replicate that success unless teammate Rashaad Penny takes carries away from him.

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    No. 2: David Johnson, Cardinals

    a group of football players on the field: USA TODAY? USA TODAY USA TODAY

    Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

    Johnson, when at his best and in a scheme that uses him right, is arguably the best back in the league. But he hasn't been great since 2016. Last season was a disaster because of the system and 2017 he lost to injury. We all expect big things in 2019 with the new offense. But he still isn't No. 1 in the division.

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    No. 1: Todd Gurley, Rams

    a group of football players on a field: File photo? File Photo File photo

    Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

    This is basically a no-brainer, although concerns about his knee put this position in jeopardy. David Johnson could easily pass him if he is great again and Gurley can't be what he has been. The Rams will have to manage his workload, which is disappointing because he is a player who should touch the ball more.

    Listen to the latest from Cards Wire's Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Stitcher Radio.

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