The New Orleans Saints got a gem by the name of Alvin Kamara in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Now, he’s one of the league’s most elusive backs.
Nick Chubb, Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry, and then, Alvin Kamara — that’s the first four running backs Pro Football Focus named as the league’s most elusive. While many Saints fans can argue that Kamara should be atop the list, his down season in 2019 likely set him back a bit.
But, what is also surprising is that Panthers’ star and division foe Christian McCaffrey isn’t within the top four. McCaffrey ranked 13th. Being ranked on a specific skill, Kamara’s open field quickness is unreal so his ranking makes sense.
How he can move both laterally and vertically make him a hard back to tackle and nearly impossible to take down in the open field. That said, here’s what PFF said of the Saints’ back entering his fourth season in the league.
“By his own admission, Kamara played “on one leg” and at “75%” last season. He still averaged 0.22 missed tackles forced per touch — sixth among running backs on this list. If that is what he looks like at less than 100%, it’s hard to justify keeping him too far down the ranks. Kamara might have the best balance of any running back in the NFL, something that shows up again and again on the tape as he bounces off would-be tacklers. Since entering the league in 2017, his 157 total broken tackles as both a runner and receiver rank third among all players. A healthy Kamara in 2020 should once again mean a dangerous weapon at the running back position for New Orleans,” Pro Football Focus’ Ben Linsey wrote.
Kamara totaled over 1,500 all-purpose yards throughout this first two seasons in the league.
Last season, as PFF noted, he just wasn’t the same, although he was still able to make the Pro Bowl. Kamara notched over 1,300 all-purpose yards despite clearly not being 100% in the bulk of the team’s outings.
Kamara has thrived off playing alongside future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, one of the most accurate passers in the league.
The other problem with Kamara’s numbers last season was that he just couldn’t find the endzone. He totaled just six touchdowns in 2019, a third of the amount he had a season before that. In that category, he wasn’t even close to the same.
However, things should trend up for Kamara in 2020. He’s going to enter the season healthy, and that should be a good sign for both the running back in a contract season and the Saints, the favorite to win the NFC South.
That said, while we would’ve liked to see him higher, No. 4 on the ranking of elusive running backs is certainly not a bad spot.