Is Melvin Gordon the best running back in the AFC West?

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

After an incredible bounce-back season, Melvin Gordon has begun to cement his status as one of the top-tier running backs in the NFL. The AFC West is likely the most competitive division in the NFL, but do any of the teams have a running back better than Gordon? Let’s look at the options.

Oakland Raiders:

Marshawn Lynch:

The newly-acquired Lynch is making his return to the NFL after a year-long hiatus from the league, and his expectations are high. While many expect Lynch to have a strong year, I am not as optimistic. In his last season with the Seattle Seahawks, Lynch gained a mere 417 yards through seven games.

At 31 years old, Lynch is one of the older running backs in the league. Add on the fact that Lynch missed an entire season and has a history of injuries, and his durability comes into question.

It will be interesting to see Lynch’s production in 2017, but until he proves himself on the field, it seems he is destined for a down season.

Denver Broncos:

C.J. Anderson/Devontae Booker:

Through the first seven weeks of last season, C.J. Anderson provided poor production for the Broncos with only 437 yards in seven games. After getting injured, Anderson was replaced by Devontae Booker, who experienced similarly low levels of production.

While this duo managed to suffice for last season, it seems rather obvious that the Broncos were not happy with their production based on their offseason moves. Perhaps their offensive line was the issue, but this duo will have another chance to prove themselves this season. Until then, these two remain as subpar to average running backs at best.

Jamaal Charles:

Recently added to the Broncos squad, Jamaal Charles’ career as of recent has been riddled by injuries. Coming off an ACL injury from 2015, Charles only played one game last season, and essentially was out the entire year.

While Charles used to be a perennial all-pro, it seems that those days are in his past because of his constant injury problems. Until Charles can prove to stay healthy, his viability as a starting running back remains in question.

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Kansas City Chiefs:

Spencer Ware:

Ware took the place of long-time starting running back Charles, and while he only played 14 games, Ware accumulated almost 1,000 yards. While Ware split some of his time with Charcandrick West and Charles, albeit briefly, he still took the lion’s share of downs.

It seems that Ware is destined to be the Chiefs’ starting running back again next season for the time being. With that assumption, Ware is clearly Gordon’s closest competition within the division, but I believe that Gordon gets the slight edge because of his scoring production advantage (10 touchdowns for Gordon versus 3 for Ware).

Gordon has shown that when he has the opportunity, he can be one of the better running backs in the NFL, and he was definitely the best running back in the AFC West. Will he be the best running back in the division this season? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.