2. Michael Turner
Darren Sproles absolutely had a better overall career than Michael Turner but Turner is higher on this list because of the massive leaps he took when he left the Chargers. It was not long-lived, but Turner went from LaDainian Tomlinson’s back up to a bonafide elite running back.
Turner always showed glimpses of potential with the Chargers and his yards per carry was phenomenal as he averaged 5.5 yards per carry in 228 carries with the Bolts. The question was whether or not that could transition into a full-time back role.
It did. Seamlessly. In Turner’s first season away from the Chargers he led the league in rushing attempts for the Atlanta Falcons and finished with 1,699 rushing yards —the 14th most in a season since the turn of the century.
He only played 11 games the following year but still dominated with 871 total rushing yards before breaking 1,000 once again in 2010 and 2011 with 1,371 and 1,340 rushing yards, respectively.
Turner finished his NFL career with an 800-rushing yard season and while he benefitted from a huge workload in Atlanta, he was one of the best backs in the NFL from 2008 to 2011. Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson were the only running backs in that timeframe to average more yards per game than Turner.
The Chargers selected Turner in the fifth round of the 2004 NFL Draft.