ESPN’s latest survey shows Alvin Kamara is no longer respected as a top running back

New Orleans Saints veteran Alvin Kamara is one of the most talented running backs in the NFL, but his reputation has taken a hit after a down season.
New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams
New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

Since entering the NFL in 2017, Alvin Kamara has been one of the league’s best running backs. Despite being selected in the third round by the New Orleans Saints, Kamara had over 1500 all-purpose yards as a rookie, and made the Pro Bowl. In fact, he made the Pro Bowl in each of his first five seasons.

In the last two years, however, Kamara hasn’t been selected to the Pro Bowl. In 2023, the veteran running back had the least productive season of his career, playing only 13 games, and rushing for 694 yards and five touchdowns, while catching 75 passes for 466 yards and one additional touchdown.

Now, for the first time in his NFL career, Kamara’s status as a top running back in the NFL is being questioned. That was evident in ESPN’s annual position ranking survey. Every offseason, reporter Jeremy Fowler surveys NFL execs, coaches, and scouts, having them rank their top 10 players at each position.

Recently, the 2024 results for running backs were released, and for the first time, Kamara wasn’t in the top 10. Instead, he was listed in the honorable mentions section, and Fowler noted this is a significant drop from when he was ranked No. 2 in the 2021 edition.

Alvin Kamara not ranked amongst the top 10 running backs in the NFL

Fowler pointed out Kamara has only averaged 3.87 yards a carry since 2021. This led to an unnamed NFL running backs coach saying he may have hit a wall. However, the anonymous coach still believes Kamara has the tools that made him elite.

"He might have hit a wall a little bit. He's still a great all-purpose back and can run all the different schemes, has burst and contact. But the production hasn't been there. Though I think [offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak's] system will be really good for him."

Anonymous NFL running backs coach

The final takeaway is what Saints fans have been clinging on to this offseason. Klint Kubiak comes to New Orleans after a year with the San Francisco 49ers and Christian McCaffrey, the No. 1 running back on this list. Bringing the zone running, Shanahan scheme to New Orleans, Kamara has the chance to have his best year yet, because he still has all of his abilities. If the offensive line can help him out, Alvin Kamara will definitely re-establish himself as a top running back in the NFL.