A successful Saints season should lead to a drastic shake-up in running back rankings

Alvin Kamara’s standing as a running back in the NFL has taken a significant hit, but if the New Orleans Saints are going to have success, Kamara must be elite.
New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams
New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

Not long ago, Alvin Kamara was considered one of the best running backs in the league. For a while, there were yearly debates about who was the better back between Kamara and Christian McCaffrey. Now, McCaffrey is pretty much universally regarded as the best back in the league, and Kamara has become somewhat of an afterthought in the running back conversation.

That's evident in a recent ranking by PFF of the top 32 running backs in the league. Coming off a strong season with the San Francisco 49ers, McCaffrey was, of course, ranked No. 1. Kamara, on the other hand, was ranked at No. 21 on the list— extremely low for a player with his talent.

It’s hard to argue against the standing, though, because unlike the 49ers with McCaffrey, the New Orleans Saints haven’t really put Kamara in the best situation to succeed. Last season, the run game wasn’t good for the Saints, and that’s a big reason why the team was mediocre. However, if New Orleans is going to have success in 2024, it will take Kamara reminding the league how special he is.

"[Kamara is] still an important cog in the Saints' offense, especially as a receiving back, but he’ll be 29 by the time the 2024 season begins. That early-career juice could no longer be."

Thomas Valentine

Saints must make Alvin Kamara look like a top running back again

New offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak hasn’t kept his cards close to his chest; he’s made it very clear that he wants to build the offense around the rushing attack. Kubiak, who spent last season with San Francisco and McCaffrey, knows exactly how an offense can flow when it’s built around a special running back.

Since coming to New Orleans, Kubiak has already started to learn how special Alvin Kamara is. He already knew about his on-field abilities, but Kubiak was thrilled to learn about Kamara’s mind. Learning how bright Kamara is, Kubiak admitted that he’s excited to load the running back’s plate up. This all means that the league should expect the Saints to feature Kamara a lot. If it goes well, the Saints will win a lot of games, and Alvin Kamara will gain his rightful spot near the top of running back rankings.