Marshawn Lynch is one of the top running backs in the NFL today. The only others even in the conversation are Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, and Jamaal Charles. Steven Jackson, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Willis McGahee are under consideration as well, but more for past glory than anything current.
With the league revolving more and more around passing based offenses, bell cow runners are a dying breed. So Seahawk fans, rejoice, because we have one of the last few. But just how great is Lynch? After eight years in the league, how does he stack up against Hall of Famers? Let’s take a look.
Against top tier, obvious HoF’ers like Emmett Smith, Tony Dorsett, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, etc; Lynch falls quite a ways short. No one can stand up to Smith’s career record of 18,355 yards. I doubt that will ever be beaten. Even to LT’s 13k and change, Lynch is a ways off. But do not lose hope.
Earl Campbell was a running back for the Houston Oilers. He ended his career with 9,407 yards and 74 TD’s. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991 after seven years in the League. Marshawn Lynch currently sits at 7,389 yards and 58 TD’s. That’s only a 2k yard and 20ish TD difference.
In his four seasons with the Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch has rushed for 4,624 yards. Lynch is only 28. If he keeps up his pace of at least 1,200 yards per season, he would hit 9,700 yards before he turned 30, which is the age most running backs tend to see a drop off in production. If he can manage to stay healthy and stay in the league until he is 34, dropping off say, 200-300 yards per year, that is approximately 3,000 yards from 30-34. If he can do that, and bring his total yardage up to 12k-ish, he would be right in step with Franco Harris, Marcus Allen, and Marshall Faulk.
Now for his touchdowns. Lynch currently has 58 for his career. For eight years in the league, that is pretty damn good. For the past three years, Lynch has scored 11 TD’s once (2012) and 12 TD’s twice (2011 and 2013). If he scores at least ten TD’s a season for the next two years (again, until that dreaded 30) he will have 78 career touchdowns. That is four more than Campbell and one more than Tony Dorsett. And if he scores at least five a year from 30-34, that brings him up to 98 career touchdowns, which is in the neighborhood of Franco Harris, Marshall Faulk and (hello) Shaun Alexander.
Barring serious injury, or going to a team that doesn’t feature a run first offense once his time in Seattle is up, I think it is totally plausible that one day, Marshawn Lynch will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Let me know what you guys think on Twitter (@TDacken) and thanks for reading!