Early 2020 position outlook: Running back

After examining the Rams' offense, defense and special teams following the 2020 NFL Draft, theRams.com will take a deeper look at each position group as we get closer to the upcoming season. The running backs are up next.

Who's back

Malcolm Brown: Had 69 rushing attempts for 255 yards and five touchdowns as Todd Gurley's main backup.

Darrell Henderson: Played in 13 games as a rookie in 2019, finishing with 39 carries for 147 yards and four receptions for 37 yards.

John Kelly: Spent the majority of the 2019 season on the Rams' practice squad. He tallied three carries for nine yards in the four games he appeared in.

Who's gone

Gurley: The Rams' 2015 first-round pick out of Georgia started 72 games for the franchise, rushing for 5,404 yards and 58 touchdowns. His 70 total touchdowns rank fourth in team history, while his total rushing yards are fifth-most in team history.

He tallied 223 carries for 857 yards and 12 touchdowns, plus 31 receptions for 207 yards and a pair of receiving touchdowns in his final season with the club. After Los Angeles released him, he signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons as an unrestricted free agent.

Who's new

Cam Akers: A second-team All-ACC selection, Akers rushed for 1,144 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on 231 carries in 2019. In the passing game, he added 30 receptions for 225 yards and four scores while starting 11 games.

James Gilbert: Undrafted free agent signee who led Kansas State with 737 yards and finished second on the team with six rushing touchdowns as a graduate transfer in 2019.

Xavier Jones: Undrafted free agent signee who set single-season SMU records for total touchdowns (25), rushing touchdowns (23), and points (150) during his senior season and was one of 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation's top running back.

Key questions

Will we see a committee approach, or will one running back emerge as the primary contributor? General manager Les Snead previously said in early April that he envisions the Rams' offense utilizing "more than one workhorse running the ball" and "different genres of skillsets," but one running back could start getting more carries than the others if their performance warrants it. It will be fascinating to see how those roles play out.

What can Henderson show in year two? The former Memphis standout had a handful of opportunities to display his talents in 2019, but like the other returning running backs, Gurley's departure and the consequent number of snaps becoming available should give him more chances this year.

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