While Antonio Gibson was one of the NFL's breakout rookies last season, Washington Football Team's running game only ranked 26th in the league.
Gibson led the team with 795 yards as the featured back, but the depth chart lacked production. J.D. McKissic and Peyton Barber played in all 16 games, but both rushed for less than 500 yards.
This offseason, the team added talent to complement Gibson. But not all of the backs will make the team's final 53-man roster. Which runners have the best chance?
Of all the backs not named Gibson, McKissic has the best chance.
The team utilized him as a receiver out of the backfield for most of the season and he'll likely again be the team's third-down back this season.
McKissic was third on the team in receiving yards behind Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas, though with an improved receiving corps, McKissic's targets could take a slight dip.
Nonetheless, McKissic provides versatility and he fits the archetype of the modern running back. He can run on short-yardage situations, block in pass protection and run routes out of the backfield.
Chance of making roster: 97%
Barber disappointed in his first year in D.C. after spending his first four years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He notched a season-high 17 carries in Week 1, but saw his usage decline as the team started picking up losses. However, once he started getting touches again, WFT started winning games.
In their season-saving four-game win streak, Barber had at least eight carries in every game. Surprisingly, in their playoff loss to Tampa Bay, Barber didn't even see the field .
His familiarity with the offense may give him an edge over some of the other guys, but recency bias shows that Barber's spot on the roster is up in the air.
Chance of making roster: 50%
As the only rookie in the competition, Patterson is definitely the most intriguing back, aside from Gibson.
In his three years at the University at Buffalo, Patterson ran for 1,000 yards in every season, including last year's COVID-shortened season when he amassed 1,000 yards in just six games.
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In his signature moment at Buffalo, Patterson tied an FBS record with eight rushing touchdowns against Kent State to go with 409 yards, just 18 shy of another FBS record.
He also scored 52 touchdowns in just 33 games at Buffalo. Despite his eye-popping numbers being produced in a league outside the Power 5, the NFL has proven that talent finds a way to make a team.
The fact that none of the 32 teams drafted Patterson was baffling. Washington might well have landed "the steal of the draft" with an undrafted free agent.
However, undrafted free agents are never locks to make the team and Patterson will have to battle against stiff competition.
That being said, we feel like he's got as good of a chance as anyone to be that third back in Washington's rotation this year.
Chance of making roster: 50%
The 30-year-old former Pro Bowler has the most mileage of anyone in the running back room, which could be a blessing and a curse.
Miller joined the team on the practice squad last season after being released by the Chicago Bears, playing in just one game.
That one game is the only appearance Miller has in the NFL since 2018 with the Houston Texans after tearing his ACL in 2019. That means it's been almost three years since he has played a snap in the NFL.
However, Miller has been around WFT since December and signed with the team's active roster in March, hoping for another shot to prove he belongs in the league.
Miller has a massive chip on his shoulder and his veteran leadership definitely favors him. The question is, will Washington prefer experience over talent?
Chance of making roster: 30%
Williams is an NFL journeyman who has played for four NFL teams and started only one game in six seasons.
This is his second time in Washington's locker room, after being signed to a futures contract at the end of the season. He joined WFT in October on the practice squad before being signed by a previous employer, the Detroit Lions.
In his only carry with the Lions last season, Williams fumbled, and he was cut by the team later in the season only for Washington to bring him back.
Williams finds himself fighting for his NFL life once again and while he should get some run in the preseason, it's going to be an uphill battle for him to make the 53-man roster.
Chance of making roster: 10%